Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Teacher Asks Teacher: Is This a Good Contract?

by Lisa North

Wow!  Big question!  I think it is a horrible contract ... except for the money!  I will vote no. They are trying to buy us off for almost all givebacks.  It is so unfair, living in NYC is so hard these days financially.....Teachers need those retroactive checks and 15% (I certainly do: my son is in college and my landlord just increased the rent by $100 a month), so many will probably vote for a contract they do not like. Basically we are keeping up with inflation but working a lot more for the privilege!
Ten minutes more a day by itself is not so bad, except teachers are already worn out.  Also, you can see the trend: last time 20 min., this time 10 min. and next time 10 more minutes =40 min...that is an extra period of teaching everyday!  And remember there is still the monthly staff conference. (I guess that will be the only staff development time.)
Lunch, Hall, Bus duty is ridiculous.  The DOE can't spend their money better than using teachers with Masters Degrees to manage a lunchroom?
And worse yet is the provision that takes away our right to file grievances over letters in our files.  The principal in my school is fair, but I have worked under a slightly "psycho" principal, who would write you up when you said something she didn't like.
I like the idea of SBO transfers, but seniority transfers are a protection.  The union says the principal cannot discriminate, but hey, we all know that people discriminate.  How are you going to prove that they did not hire you because you are old, Black, gay, etc.
Bloomberg/Klein/Randi say this contract is good for the students and teachers....I don't see it.  Do our kids need more time for test prep with worn out teachers?  How about lower class size and better services for our troubled students??  How about after school programs with homework help/tutoring along with sports/arts/computer? 
To do all that we need the CFE money from the State: I blame Bloomberg/Klein/ Randy for not getting that money.....they want to blame teachers for not working enough. With all the money Bloomberg is spending on this election (ads every few minutes on TV/radio, phone calls and all the people he has promised things for their support), he could have bought enough of the state legislators to pass CFE money!  Our union could have formed a very strong alliance with parents and called a citywide demo with parents, teachers, and students to demand the CFE money.  If the UFT can fill Madison Square Garden, image what we could do with parents and students: probably close down large parts of Manhattan. Then if we needed to strike, the parents and students would be with us. 
Are we really serious about giving students what they need?  
Of course it is easier to blame teachers......all we need is more senior teachers in hard to staff schools.......and more teaching time......and give principals total control ... everything will be better then.  Just don’t blame the politicians for drastically short changing our kids for years on end.


Anonymous said...

I only disagree with your assessment that the money is somehow acceptable.
If you check the Corrections Officers' contract, they got 10.25% over two years without any onerous givebacks. Could the mayor be paying back the only municipal union that endorsed him? Nahh...that would be...unethical.

Let's draw the line in the sand and vote NO!!!! Talk to your colleagues! Spread the bad news about the contract!

Apapercut said...

I would like to point out that Randi stated in her interview with Gabe Pressmen that, "We have the parents and community behind us now." If that was so, why settle for givebacks?