It looks like the teachers in Fresno will go on strike in the next couple of weeks. Negotiations are not going well. It’s not so much about wages and benefits as it is about smaller class size and better discipline measures. The president of the teacher’s union is a friend of mine. I encouraged her to run for the position. She is smart, she is passionate for kids, and she’s a born leader. If she can’t get this settled, then no one can.
Because of these tensions, and all of the usual school-related stress that comes at the end of each October, teachers are feeling pretty low right now. Every teacher I know is feeling the pain. They are questioning their career choice. When my grandchildren visited two weeks ago, we went to See’s Candy and bought Halloween treats for the teachers and staff at Columbia. The kids even helped load up the goody bags:
I have spent this Saturday morning reading teacher blogs, hoping to find some ray of hope, a glimmer of a brighter future, a sense of improvement. Instead, I found lots of hopelessness, dark days, and abandonment.
An Urban Teacher’s Education writes of deteriorating health and a sense of loss. He’s giving up his New York dream and returning to the West Coast. I wish him well.
On the West Coast, I read about a school librarian in Los Angeles who is being RIF’d (reduction in force) and not allowed to return to the classroom with her teaching credential because she has been out of the classroom for too long. She gives grueling, detailed evidence of what is wrong with these RIF hearings. I went through something similar in 2003, but then the district acquiesced and let us have our jobs. I knew then the end was coming. This year, the district RIF’d all of the consumer home ec teachers. They are not even allowed to apply for other jobs in the district.
Another New York teacher, this time an 8-year veteran, was told she is not good enough for tenure, yet her record seems to show just the opposite. So much political hammering.
One bit of news, different from all the rest, is coming out of the heartland, Ohio. The community college in Dayton is NOT raising tuition, but is giving out tenure and merit pay, costing the college $1.5 million. Guess that is the place to be a teacher right now.