This is what FUBAR looks like

Oct 24 2011

Our school finally made it to AYP level 5, the bottom step on the down escalator to reconstitution hell, but the superintendent, parents, and even the newspaper all say we’re doing a good job. So now, to stay clear of consequences for working with lots of poor kids, we’ve got to develop a plan to improve, which means wasting time in useless meetings discussing standards and “best practices” instead of planning actual lessons.

Our contract negotiations failed last spring, and we’ve been working without a contract since the start of school this year. Teachers are attending school board meetings now, and testifying during their non-agenda items time. This was my contribution last Tuesday evening:

I’m a sixth-grade teacher at Denali Elementary, and this is my 27th year working in the District. I’m here to talk about respect.

When Supt. Lewis was hired, Mrs. Hajdukovitch (then Board President) told the newspaper that a salary increase for his position was designed to help the District compete for the best leaders.

Last month, the administration successfully lobbied for the passage of two bond propositions (for $20.3 million) for renovations and upgrades to some of the District’s school buildings.

Supt. Lewis tells us that we’re doing a good job. He points out that our ACT, SAT, and AP scores are higher than the state and national averages. Yet, the District’s bargaining team made no salary offer during our contract negotiations prior to our contract’s June 30 expiration. Consequently, since the start of school this year, teachers have been working without a contract. We believe our proposal for a 2.5% increase to the base pay rate is reasonable and in line with other recent public sector contract settlements.

My question – What message is being sent when the District lobbies for building upgrades and salary increases for leadership personnel, but fails to similarly advocate for its teachers? Please think about that.

I didn’t stick around to hear the Board comments at the end of the night. No telling what’s going to happen. Hope for an amicable settlement is fading. What I didn’t say (yet) is that when the superintendent tells people about those above average test scores, who gets to take the credit for that? Because here’s the thing – teachers have been taking all of the blame and none of the credit for the broad range of student outcomes for too long now. And we are tired of it.

The Occupy movement has even hit Alaska, as many people may have already seen. It’s the best thing going on now. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the most fun things to read about on the internet. Down with Tyranny posted this short video this evening.

Occupy (We the 99).

One response so far

  1. Doug, thank you for sharing your pain – ouch! I have a few recent bruises as well. Not looking forward to 4 hours of meetings after a half day of school tomorrow. Throw in a tiff with PTA leadership, and it’s not a day I look forward to. Thank goodness for the kids, and the (shrinking amount of) time I get to spend with them creating, risking, laughing, and growing. Was encouraged and moved by pics of Pete Seeger at Occupy Wall Street. Gonna play a song on my banjo tonight for him. Hang in there, buddy – Mark