Monday, April 06, 2009


In a tough economy school districts which rely on town property taxes for revenue face the daunting task of trying to save positions. If positions get cut, those families suffer and so do the the students we serve. So when the union and the board of education sit down to discuss the financial status, tough questions must be asked and answered.
My question is what is a reasonable sacrifice on the part of the union membership in order to save positions?
For instance, let's say your union bargained a 3% raise for next year. Is it reasonable to ask your membership to defer 1.5% of that raise to the following year?
If doing so would save the positions projected to get cut, isn't it in the best interest of the group to defer the raises?

On a separate note, why is it that so many long-term teachers say things like, "I've paid my dues; you young people have to pay yours?" Really? That's why you are a teacher? To pay your dues and sit comfortably earning $75,000 while excellent second year teachers earning $35,000 gets axed because she hasn't done her time?
I HATE this mind-set. And if I ever get this mind-set, you are welcome to call me out on it and find a way to fire my ass.
So here it is old-timer: As long as you use time served as your footing for all things economic or otherwise, I absolutely will look down on you and treat you with disdain. And if you are willing, or professional enough, to act in the best interest of students--read: results matter most--then I will cease to treat you with disdain.


At 5:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there are many good teachers at all levels at all schools. No-one should be saved or released based upon any criteria besides performance. Unless and until this is rectified, all new teachers are in this bind. Do I think it is fair? Absolutely not! Do I have a solution, perhaps better representation by the unions and stronger leadership to either get rid of the "dead wood" or provide enough support to help students and then their students reach higher levels of achievement.

As far as deferments, this effects many teachers in many different ways. I think teachers need to be careful about deferments as it can adversely effect teachers who may not be there when the increase would kick in. ie. they work the 2009-2010 year without an increase and then leave the district. Should they then be penalized?

At 9:26 PM , Anonymous Stephen C said...

It will be very hard to change the economics of schools. But, perhaps in this new era of economic downturn, logic will get pushed to the forefront and we have a real debate.

At 4:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. McMamar:

Get used to the mind set because it rules all unionized schools. I worked in a large urban school district for 32 years. Seniority dominates everything. Senior teachers get all sorts of perks. I was bumped out of one of my schools due to seniority. When I retired the CEO of my district promised retiring teachers $50,000 to be put into a special fund to help pay for our health benefits. My state does not provide health benefits for retired teachers. I left a few years early taking a pay reduction to get the $50,000. Well seniority got me one last time. The district ran out of money, pulled back the offer of $50,000 giving $25,000 only to the most senior retiring teachers. I would have liked to have seen that money divided evenly among all the retiring teachers. The ones who got the money felt they earned it due to time in the system. They did not mind that others did not get anything. Time in the system controls everything.


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