Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Teachers' Unions' Last Stand?

Central Mom gave us the heads up on this fascinating (and long, she wasn't kidding) article in the NY Times Magazine coming out this Sunday. Entitled "The Teachers' Unions' Last Stand", it is basically about New York state's application for Race to the Top funds. But really, it takes a national view of what is happening (and coming) in education reform.

Highlights:
  • Finding out that there is yet another Broad-type academy for leaders, this one run by Jon Schnur, of the New Leaders for New Schools group. Interestingly, they place leaders but don't pay their salaries (Broad pays half), nor do they expect their leaders to get hired after residency. The Times points out about these self-styled reformers: They have been building in strength and numbers over the last two decades and now seem to be planted everywhere that counts. They are working in key positions in school districts and charter-school networks, legislating in state capitals, staffing city halls and statehouses for reform-minded mayors and governors, writing papers for policy groups and dispensing grants from billion-dollar philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates, along with Education Secretary Arne Duncan; Teach for America’s founder, Wendy Kopp; and the New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein could be considered the patron saints of the network.
  • Explanation of the sudden reform surge: Why the sudden shift from long-simmering wonk debate to political front burner? Because there is now a president who, when it comes to school reform, really does seem to be a new kind of Democrat — and because of a clever idea Schnur had last year to package what might otherwise have been just another federal grant program into a media-alluring, if cheesy-sounding, contest called Race to the Top. It has turned a relatively modest federal program (the $4.3 billion budget represents less than 1 percent of all federal, state and local education spending) into high-yield leverage that could end up overshadowing health care reform in its impact and that is already upending traditional Democratic Party politics.
  • (Fifteen states, including New York and California, now operate under union-backed state laws mandating that seniority, or “last in/first out,” determines layoffs. These quality-blind layoffs could force a new generation of teachers, like those recruited by Teach for America, out of classrooms in the coming months.)
  • So how did the stars align for RTTT? First there’s the rise of the reformers who seem to be in daily communication through e-mail and blogs. The standard profile is someone who went to a prestige college, joined Teach for America for a two-year stint and found the work and the challenges so compelling that he or she decided education should be more than a layover before a real career. Great and what about them? Although Schnur is a cheerful, modest type, there is a strain of self-righteousness that runs through the reform network. Some come off as snobs who assume any union teacher is lazy or incompetent and could be bested by young, nonunion Ivy Leaguers full of energy. And others see tying teachers’ pay to their students’ improvement on standardized tests as a cure-all. But most — especially those who have taught and appreciate how hard it is — understand that standardized tests are far from perfect, and that some subjects, like the arts, don’t lend themselves to standardized testing.
  • Second?

    The second force at work is a new crop of Democratic politicians across the country— including President Obama — who seem willing to challenge the teachers’ unions.

  • Third, there’s the boost given to school reform by high-powered foundations, like the Gates Foundation, which have financed important research and pilot reform projects, and by wealthy entrepreneurs, who have poured seed money into charter schools.
  • And fourth, there’s the charter-school movement, which has yielded an increasingly large and vocal constituency of parents whose children are among the more than 1.5 million students attending more than 5,000 charter schools. This one is interesting to me because, of course, we don't have them here in Washington State so the lobbying by charter school parents wouldn't be all that apparent.
  • However, "If unions are the Democratic Party’s base, then teachers’ unions are the base of the base. The two national teachers’ unions — the American Federation of Teachers and the larger National Education Association — together have more than 4.6 million members. That is roughly a quarter of all the union members in the country. Teachers are the best field troops in local elections. In the last 30 years, the teachers’ unions have contributed nearly $57.4 million to federal campaigns, an amount that is about 30 percent higher than any single corporation or other union. Money AND foot soldiers - it's mother's milk to any campaign.
  • Didn't know this: Bredesen (Governor of TN) points to an earlier development in his state that, he says, had “broken the ice.” In 2009 the Gates foundation provided a $90 million grant to the Memphis school system — the state’s largest — on the condition that teachers there allow 35 percent of their performance ratings to be based on student test scores. Bredesen’s icebreaker was emblematic of the forces of reform coming together around the Race.
  • Charter schools are not always better for children. Across the country many are performing badly. But when run well — as most in Harlem and New York’s other most-challenged communities appear to be — they can make a huge difference in a child’s life. So by the time the Race rules were issued, the charter cap had become something that many New York parents, particularly in neighborhoods with underperforming schools, cared a lot about. In Harlem, for example, about 20 percent of all age-eligible children are now enrolled in charters, and in April, 14,000 other children submitted applications in the lottery for next year’s 2,700 open seats. So we get the chicken or egg story. Are people choosing/wanting charters because they are fleeing bad public schools OR are they choosing something better? Are all their charter choices better AND what is holding back the public schools from reform on their own?
  • There a very interesting example of public versus charter schools on page 4 where one school is divided down the middle with one side charter and one public. Guess who comes out better in this example? The charter. What's weird is how the charter is able to figure out, to the dollar, its costs but not the public school.
  • Klein’s response is that while charter schools can never be a substitute for a public school system, they can demonstrate how public schools can be improved, while creating healthy competition for a system that used to be a monopoly. “Parent choice can only make all schools better,” he says, paraphrasing a favorite line on the placards of the parents who picketed Perkins in Albany last winter and in Downtown Manhattan last month when he held a hearing about charters. Really? If only we have market competition, we will have better schools? Again, I just don't buy the business model theory. We did try a version ourselves (which Ms. Finne says wasn't carried out properly) and it didn't catch on. I think what hasn't been tried is truly reforming poor performing schools. Meaning, start over completely from top to bottom with a new staff and then ASK parents what would make them stay and how they (the parents) could help. I believe buy-in from the community around a neighborhood and within the school is vital to a successful school.
  • Interesting (and I wonder how this will play out): To make this expression of commitment unambiguous, the Race application included the exact M.O.U. that was to be signed. The contest instructions also stated that if the wording of the M.O.U. for any local school system was changed to make it “conditional,” the box should not be checked. So New York checked ALL the boxes for their schools districts but in an appendix had phrases like “consistent with any applicable collective-bargaining requirements.” and “Nothing in this M.O.U. shall be construed to override any applicable state or local collective-bargaining requirements.” Apparently Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California and - one of the winners - Delaware all did the same thing. (In Delaware’s case, however, the core of its commitments — like how teachers will be evaluated — did not require a union sign-off, explained Donohue, the Delaware state teachers’ union president. The collective-bargaining caveat in the M.O.U., she said, “has to do with other, smaller aspects of the plan, like extending school days at turnaround schools, which I am sure we will agree on.”)
  • There is a little bit about Washington, D.C.'s chancellor (superintendent) Michelle Rhee. Rhee says “I’m not big on the collaborative, warm and fuzzy approach,” she says — and became a hero of the reformers." Part of that is okay and part isn't. She doesn't have to group hug everyone but yes, I would think compromise, consensus and yes, collaboration would be part of it. Somehow she got a very strong contract. Two clauses now make it possible for Rhee to fire any teacher with tenure, no matter which track he or she chooses (lockstep compensation or performance-based pay), if the teacher is evaluated as “ineffective” for one year or “minimally effective” for two years. The criteria used to define “ineffective” or “minimally effective” are, according to another clause, “a nonnegotiable item” determined solely by Rhee and her staff. She got the teachers to sign a contract with evaluation criteria for teachers being determined only by Rhee and her staff? She is tough.
  • There was also some discussion of the bills in various legislatures around the country dealing with teacher pay and assessment. While Governor Crist in Florida vetoed one, there is apparently another one moving through the Colorado legislature. Their bill would have student achievement growth to be 50% of a teacher's evaluation. It wouldn't dismantle tenure but would allow a tenured teacher have yearly evaluations and to get probation and eventually dismissal if found unsatisfactory. What is really interesting is this bill would: put a lot more pressure on principals by basing at least 66 percent of their evaluation on a combination of growth in student scores and increases in teacher effectiveness. (This info from an article at Ed Week.)
  • How RTTT applications are vetted: " Joanne Weiss, who runs the Race program for Secretary Duncan, began last summer to recruit experts, called “peer reviewers,” to score the applications in a way that would inoculate the decisions from charges of political favoritism. Five vetters were assigned to each application, and the score was the average of their individual scores. Duncan would reserve the right to override the point scores, but if he did, he would have to explain himself because the scores would be released publicly. Department of Education regulations required that the scorers not only have no financial interest in the outcome of their decisions, but not even an appearance of a conflict, both in terms of money and potential bias." "This pretty much eliminated people involved in operating school systems or those who are active in Schnur’s reform network, yielding vetters who were academics, education foundation staff members (but not at places like the Gates Foundation that finance reform projects) and long-retired educators."
The second round of RTTT applications are due June 1.

15 comments:

Sahila said...

For an insight into the 15 year big business agenda, for reshaping public education:

Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools?:

Heinemann, 2004

Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools?

Kathy Emery and Susan Ohanian have written a magnificent, carefully documented, and high-voltage manifesto to confront the degradation of our nation's schools by powerful corporations whose self-serving motives and assaultive tactics have developed into a relentless and dehumanizing juggernaut. Steam will be coming out of your ears by the time you finish this extraordinary book. It should be a wake-up call to all who care abut the future of our schools and all who truly value children. — Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools

Kathy Emery and Susan Ohanian shout "J'accuse!" to the Business Roundtable, the Education Trust, politicians, and the rest who are selling out America's children in the name of "high standards." A must read for all citizens, not just parents and educators.
—Gerald L. Bracey, Author of On the Death of Childhood and the Destruction of Public Schools

Emery and Ohanian decode the Orwellian doublespeak on education-such as "no child left behind"-cutting through the smokescreen of testing that obscures the actual agenda of privatization.
—David Barsamian, founder and director of Alternative Radio

An invaluable combo of information and fiery inspiration, this book equips us to resist the business powers that be coiling themselves around public schools to squeeze out all respectful, individual teaching.
—Carol Bly, Author of Changing the Bully Who Rules the World

Deluged by demands to regiment the curricula, noosed by high stakes tests, many educators ask, "How can I keep my ideals and still teach?" With meticulous research engagingly presented, Emery and Ohanian offer teachers ways to both resist and create.
—Rich Gibson, San Diego State University

Q: How many businessmen does it take to screw up American schools? A: Only 13, the number of members of the Business Roundtable assigned to the Business Coalition for Education Reform! Emery and Ohanian explain why this joke isn't funny, asking readers to raise their consciousness and their voices to take back public education.
—Patrick Shannon, Pennsylvania State University, author of Becoming Political, Too

Where exactly did high-stakes testing come from anyway? Neither parents, teachers, administrators, nor school boards demanded it, and now many communities feel powerless to reverse its appalling effect on our schools.

Hot on the heels of the testing masterminds and peeling back layer upon layer of documentation, Kathy Emery and Susan Ohanian found a familiar scent at the end of the paper trail. Corporate money. CEOs and American big business have blanketed United States public education officials with their influence and, as Emery and Ohanian prove, their fifteen year drive to undemocratize public education has yielded a many-tentacled private-public monster.

With stunning clarity and meticulous research, Emery and Ohanian take you on a tour of board rooms, rightist think tanks, nonprofit "concerned citizens groups," and governmental agencies to expose the real story of how current education reform arose, how its deceptive rhetoric belies its goals, and the true nature of its polarizing and disenfranchising mission.

Why is corporate America bashing our schools? Because it's in their interests-not yours. What can you do to promote your best educational interests? Read this expose and get ready to dismantle the education-reform machine.

Sahila said...

PART ONE:

From Diane Ravitch at her blog:


"Whence comes the strong and powerful push to turn more public school students over to privately run schools? Well, let me name a few sources. First, there is Arne Duncan's Race to the Top fund, which dangles $4 billion before the states if only they are willing to open the door to more privately managed schools.

Secretary of Education Duncan signaled his intention to promote the charter school "silver bullet" by hiring the CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund as CEO of the Race to the Top. Honestly, when you put a charter school promoter in charge of $4 billion in federal funds, what else would you expect other than advocacy for privatization?

Then come the billionaires. We already know that the Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, and the Walton Foundation are all big-time supporters of privatization...

... Then come even more billionaires, usually clustered around one or two overlapping groups.

One such group is the aforementioned NewSchools Venture Fund. A recent article in The New York Times described a gathering of this group at a "luxury hotel in Pasadena, California."

At that tony meeting, investors who started companies such as Google and Amazon mingled with executives from the Gates Foundation, McKinsey consultants, and scholars from Stanford and Harvard.

Secretary Duncan spoke to the assembled throng by video from Washington and pledged "to combine 'your ideas with our dollars' from the federal government." Yes, indeed, it is a real movement, led by the richest entrepreneurs in our society.

The other group of billionaires devoted to privatization is Democrats for Education Reform. This is a small and politically powerful organization that involves some of the nation's wealthiest hedge-fund managers.

A story in The New York Times explained that when New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo wanted entrée to the hedge-fund crowd for his political fundraising, he had first to meet with Joe Williams, the executive director of Democrats for Education Reform. No money for his candidacy unless he showed a favorable stance towards privatization.



WV always has a sense of humour - today its pointing to all of this being an insideri job!

Sahila said...

PART TWO

Democrats for Education Reform — referred to as DFER (dee-fer)— is active nationally, promoting the candidacy of pro-charter candidates for state legislatures and for national office.

When I visited Colorado, the local teachers' union leader told me that her group was vastly outspent by DFER in the debate about legislation meant to tie teacher evaluation to student test scores. That's another issue DFER is supporting, in tandem with Secretary Duncan and the Race to the Top.

Who is DFER? The Times says it includes the founders of hedge funds such as: Anchorage Capital Partners, with $8 billion under management; Greenlight Capital, with $6.8 billion; and Pershing Square Capital Management, with $5.5 billion. DFER is actively supporting candidates in many states who will help charter school legislation and actively opposing those who do not.

Now, I know Joe Williams, used to have coffee regularly with him when he was a reporter for the New York Daily News, and I like him a lot. And, I don't begrudge the right of the hedge-fund managers to get involved in political action. It's a free country.

But something about this scenario is troubling. I guess it is the fundamental unfairness of a fight in which one side has an all-star list of billionaires (and mere multi-millionaires), and the other side has parents and teachers whose resources are meager. Granted, the teachers' unions have some independent resources, but what they have to spend politically to defend public education is peanuts compared with what the billionaires spend to privatize public schools.

When you add the resources of the billionaires to the vast power of the U.S. Department of Education, it is a very lopsided battle indeed.

Arne Duncan has $4 billion-plus to push privatization (on the day this blog is published, he will visit a charter school in Brooklyn that achieves remarkable results; I assume he will not visit the one in Queens that is housed in trailers in a muddy field, placed there to help a developer sell apartments in a not-yet-built building)."

Sahila said...

And from a posting on the SeattleEd2010 blog site:

“…This situation reads like Grisham’s “The Firm”…. I didn’t really realize what was actually happening until I read Barbara Miner’s “Looking past the spin: Teach for America”, “Big Banks Making a Bundle on New Construction as Schools bear the cost”, and “Charter Schools Cheerleaders: Financiers”.

This entire thing is not just about making money from testing. Hah! That’s a side job benefit.

This is about New Market tax credits being used to create interest from free money from the government for creating a “project” in an area of poverty.

If you look up the actual law, 45D the government started giving out these credits in 2000, but then INCREASED the amount every year through 2007 and beyond. It looks like this:

There is a new markets tax credit limitation for each calendar year. Such limitation is –
(A) $1,000,000,000 for 2001,
(B) $1,500,000,000 for 2002 and 2003,
(C) $2,000,000,000 for 2004 and 2005, and
(D) $3,500,000,000 for 2006 and 2007

The number of charter schools in 2000 was 1297. Guess what? Now it is over 5000!

As the government increased their tax credit limitation, the number of charters increased.

These people are making BILLIONS in rent off of the properties, along with the interest on the loans—ALL FOR FREE.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2010/05/07/2010-05-07_albany_charter_cash_cow_big_banks_making_a_bundle_on_new_construction_as_schools.html

If you look at the school boards: hardly any public people, almost all bank execs.

Why? They want to control the cash. They don’t want some silly citizen screwing things up.

That’s why they push for mayoral control. The mayors can then put their good bank buddies on the charter boards without accountability. Voila! No one to screw up the gravy train.

They control their student populations with harsh contracts. Voila! No low scoring students to screw up their image.

They control the cost of teachers by getting rid of higher paid union teachers and replacing them with Teach for America graduates. The salaries are controlled because those folks are only in it for 2 years. Voila! No need to worry about excess cost there; those people will be out after their two year stint....

This ALL ties together in a web."

And for a look at what's behind the push for standardisation of curriculum and for increased technology in schools etc, go here:
http://dailycensored.com/2010/03/25/education-reform-is-the-best-stock-on-the-market/

cascade said...

Thanks for the new thread Melissa. So much to think about here. I hope anyone really interested in Seattle ed. takes the time to plow through and see what does/doesn't apply here.

Now here's something that isn't a main point in the article, but it struck me SO hard in contrast to the current superintendent:

re: RTTT applications: Department of Education regulations required that the scorers not only have no financial interest in the outcome of their decisions, but not even an appearance of a conflict, both in terms of money and potential bias."

You know, if the feds can enforce this on a pet project, then we can too. I really want all Seattle superintendents, starting now, to step down from boards/leadership positions from organizations which want to place people/technology/materials into the district during that superintendent's employment. I don't really want to hear that because a board position is unpaid, or a group is non-profit, that there is no conflict of interest. This was Goodloe-Johnson's argument to the board around placing multi-million $$ MAP technology in the district and in suddenly paying almost $200K in Broad resident salaries. Resign from the organization's leadership if you want to use a product or idea that costs us money.

Board, pls. rethink this and make it a policy.

Sahila said...

Relating to how RttT applications are vetted:

An analysis coming out of the Ecomomic Policy Institute:

LET’S DO THE NUMBERS
Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” Program Offers Only a Muddled Path to the Finish Line

By William Peterson and Richard Rothstein

http://epi.3cdn.net/4835aafd6e80385004_5nm6bn6id.pdf


Conclusions and Recommendations:

In short, the Race to the Top 500-point rating system presents a patina of scientific objectivity, but in truth masks a subjective and somewhat random process.

This competition was a trial run for Secretary Duncan of a policy approach he hopes to make permanent. The Obama administration has proposed that formula-driven Title I funding be frozen at its present level, without future adjustment for inflation, and that increases in federal education spending be devoted entirely to a new collection of competitive grants, some of which have similar
requirements to RTT, and some of which, as indicated above, attempt to create incentives for initiatives not included in RTT.

Because such a reduction in real
Title I funding would further exacerbate state fiscal crises, and because this trial run of a competitive system has proven to have little credibility, the administration should rethink its approach to federal education aid and its relationship to school improvement.

Yet for now, the Department of Education proposes to go through an identical process for judging a second round of applications by July.

States that lost in the March
competition have been invited to re-apply, and several are doing so, again investing time and expense to re-do their applications. Experts in these states are likely to spend many
hours studying the review process employed in March, so they can recommend small changes in their states’ applications to exploit the quirks of the Department’s rating system.

Such gaming is unlikely to reflect an actual improvement in the education policies of applicant states.

We recommend instead that the Department abandon this complexity, and move to a simpler “pass/fail” system for the next round of the competition. Even a pass/fail system will have errors, as states that are close to whatever standard the Department employs will either arbitrarily
receive awards or be denied. So the benefit of the doubt should be given to borderline states: any states that undertake reasonable efforts to improve their elementary and secondary education systems should receive awards. Only
those patently contemptuous of the reform process should be denied. Such a system would sacrifice little in national efforts to enhance the performance of American schools, and would spare states the pain of engaging in unreasonable competition where bias and chance play more of a role
than educational improvement.

Sahila said...

Charter Schools Keep Parents at Bay

an extract from a post at Susan Ohanian's blog:
http://www.susanohanian.org/show_atrocities.php?id=9347

CHARTER SCHOOL PARENTS PROTEST DUNCAN’S VISIT TO NYC CHARTER SCHOOL

Before raising the cap, charter and district parents demand more transparency, accountability, equity and parent input at charter schools

NEW YORK, NY (May 18, 2010) Today, current and former charter school parents protested the appearance of Secretary Duncan's visit to Kings Collegiate Charter School in Brooklyn, one of the chain of charter schools run by Uncommon Schools. They called attention to the fact that Duncan's attempt to pressure the Legislature to raise the cap on charters ignores the many flaws in the current system, including the lack of sufficient financial oversight, excessive discipline at charter schools and the suppression of parent and student rights.

According to Leslie-Ann Byfield, a charter school parent who advocates for parents with children experiencing abusive practices at charter schools, "Increasing the number of charter schools without acknowledging the growing list of complaints and concerns, AND without providing remedies, is irresponsible at least, and even more so when supported by the Secretary of Education. Today, I waited in the rain until I could ask Secretary Duncan when he would talk to charter parents to hear their concerns. He politely responded that he does talk to parents and was willing to meet with us. But when I asked how we could arrange this, I immediately became invisible, as he turned his back, walked away and shut his car door. Now I understand how it is that Secretary Duncan says there is zero opposition to his charter school proposals. Today, Secretary Duncan deemed me a zero."

According to Mona Davids, President of the NY Charter Parents Association, "Uncommon Schools does not allow Parent Associations of any kind. We have been helping a parent at the Kings Collegiate School for several months. We need far more transparency and a voice for parents at all charter schools, to stop their abusive practices. Secretary Duncan should explain what he is going to do to ensure that corporate chicanery, corruption and financial mismanagement does not happen at charter schools, and should have addressed the plight of the parents at Kings Collegiate when he visited that school. That would show he truly cares about our children!"

Samantha Jeffrey, a parent at Kings Collegiate Charter School, says, “I support the charter school system, however I believe they have not reached their potential so that my child can reach his potential as well. I would like to work with them on real solutions that focus on the child’s academic excellence, as opposed to the distractions of the current disciplinary code and policy. I have also been ignored when I asked for essential information that I deserve as a parent. Parents at our school as well as other charter schools need a voice.”

Chris said...

Well, it's a balanced article compared to that which is usually produced by NYT. That's not saying much. But at least the title is pretty honest about the goal of RTTT.

The first questions that sprang to my mind were about the half-public-half charter school. For it to be a valid experiment, I would want to see children assigned randomly to one side or another. No word about that. More interesting, what happens when a child misbehaves on the charter side? They probably get sent back to public school. I would also suspect that discipline is more rigid in the charter school. But what prevents that in a public school? It's not the teacher's union that says thou shalt not hit children with sticks, is it?

Sorry, I'm rambling. But you get the point. There's causality being trumpeted here that is not supported by the data. And just last night I found a report on NYC charter schools in my papers - obviously I thought it was pretty promising in design if I printed it out - but when I looked, none of the effects were statistically significant, let alone demonstrably causal.

Chris said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/20/nyregion/20teachers.html?th&emc=th

Interesting points: People still want to teach, and although they don't break the market in to certificated vs. non-certificated, charter hiring is also way down.

Sahila said...

A technologist acknowledging the myth of 'scale'... and I think this applies to education... something the Gates/Broad Foundations et al either havent figured out yet, or have figured out but are ignoring because it doesnt suit their agenda...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxutDM2r534

As Dora wrote on the SeattleEd2010 blog:

"If the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Broad has spent and urged others to spend on this movement had instead been spent on school districts, more teachers to create smaller class sizes, and curriculum materials that are lacking in the classroom, we would all be much farther ahead without people who have no idea about what goes in a classroom dictating to others who do how they should teach and instead creating a high-pressure, factory like atmosphere in our schools."

Joyce Greenberg, L.Ac. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grousefinder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dan dempsey said...

well the SEA has not taken a stand in years ....

Rhode Island

grousefinder said... exactly what needed saying ... the Truth

grousefinder said...

Reposted to fix the text wrap issues:

Before entering education I was a tradesman. Union!

I made more money, was responsible for installations that were critical to health and safety, and I worked 8hrs/day at a union wage 1.5 times as high as I make now. But, I chose to teach...it is the best job in the world.

The SEA/WEA/NEA seem to think that teachers are some sort of exploitable public servants who should work 11-12 hours per day on a wage that most unions would consider a mere pittance. I truly believe that school administrators take advantage of naive teachers, playing on their sincere beliefs that they can make a difference in society. The SEA enables this thinking with some sort of bizarre manufactured consent through its Representative Assembly. New and young teachers desperate to just garner a paycheck fall right in line with these antilabor practices. Desperation breeds a tolerance to exploitation that manifests as pitiful acquiescence to overwork and undervalue. Sad, truly sad.

If I had my druthers I would drop the SEA like a hot potato and sign on with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Teamsters, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), or the Longshoremen. The SEA is weak and far too compromising to represent the interests of such a critical labor force.

We may be public servants, but working 11-12 hours per day to do this job right is not what anyone would consider a fair labor practice.

If you want to fix education in Seattle reduce class size, pay overtime, eliminate district mandated seminar days, and expect only 8hrs/day from your child's teacher. 8hrs./day is all they expect most of the rest of the American workforce to put in each day, why should teachers be expected to do more than the rest of the work force. After all, we're just civil servants.

MathTeacher42 said...

hello grouse,
please email me rdot
bmurphat
gmail
I was at the Monday R.A. I'd love to swap tales!
B.M.M.