Sunday, February 17, 2008

Budget Cuts, Shmudget Pluts

While participating in my local Association rally in front of the District Office last Thursday I was asked to speak to a television reporter. We are in negotiations that are more than 10-months overdue, attempting to convince District leadership to release last year's COLA, which they currently have banked, of which they are currently offering around half of the money already received. This reporter asked what I thought of the Governor's budget cuts and their effects on our situation, my classroom, and so forth. This is, more or less, what I told him:

"Those cuts don't have anything to do with this situation. This is about money the District already has, money they are refusing to release to teachers, unlike every other district in the surrounding area... Those cuts may affect stuff that schools get, or stuff in my classrooms. Yes, I need new stuff, more books, more supplies, better facilities, and so on, but my kids don't need that stuff. They need me. If you want to close the achievement gap, you want me in that classroom, me and all my talented friends and colleagues. We are the single most powerful factor in determining the success or failure of the individual student, and you need to keep us around. But you can't keep us around when you play games with money, lie, fabricate unease regarding proposed cuts, and generally demonstrate a lack of respect and appreciation for our importance in the whole achievement gap closing equation. You can't keep us when you invest in programs over people. So yes, the Governor should understand that you get what you pay for, but budget cuts or no budget cuts, you protect your investment in the teachers whose energy and talent make the difference between advancement and stagnation. "

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

totally.
right on.
the stuff gets lost/old/torn..whatever.
YOU are what the kids need.
thanks.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

I've never heard it said so well. I hope it got blasted all over the news. I'll be remembering that line to explain my thinking in the future.

4:53 AM  
Blogger Polski3 said...

Good answer. The reporters question to you seems to me like the reporter did not know what your association was protesting.....

Hope you get your contract resolved. Our board is doing the same thing to us; can't talk about money because a new board is coming in with the new election, then, new board cannot talk about money because the Governor is cutting education funding......so they sit on the COLA they recd. last year from the state, as well as a reserve far, far, above what is needed or required by law.

I suspect Superintendents and board members attend workshops about how to screw their teachers when they attend their State School Board Association (CSSBA) and the Superintendents meetings.

Are you guys getting any help from your state affiliate ( CTA or CFT )? We don't. Our uniserve rep is generally shunned when it comes to anything serious or negotiations because of the snow job he worked on his own association when he "negotiated" for us and screwed us over royally, then retired to his CTA minion job. Among the things he tossed out of the contract was medical benefits for retirees. He does not have to worry about his medical benifits because his are paid for life by CTA. He also railed the membership to vote to accept that contract without allowing membership to see the contract or even know the changes....CTA SUCKS.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, the Rock is a sad place to teach as the district continually "perceives" the incorrect needs and addresses them in ridiculous manners. They are also administrator heavy and could really lose lots of admin fat, IMHO.

Second, I do agree with teachers in the classrooms as the most important pieces to a district. The retraction of the COLA was a dastardly thing to do. No wonder I left there. Things don't seem to change (though the superintendents do).

Lastly, CTA does NOT suck. Like any organization, it is very bureaucratic (grounds for "suckiness"?) but there are many well-informed and helpful people in the organization. Do what I did, Polski3, if you're not happy with CTA: GET INVOLVED! Someone needs to get in there and change things!

On a side note, do you intend to teach? Or do you plan on leading your own school? How many members of your TFA class are still teachers?

2:22 AM  
Blogger TMAO said...

Hi Anon,

The Rock seems more'n'more like the one floating in the Bay not far from where I'm sitting now. My plan is to teach as long as I can teach the way I know is best in a place that is moving dicussions of teaching and learning forward, moving discussions of how schools should function, and moving forward period. If we go to the 3rd principal in 3 years, if we keep getting pulled back and pushed back by silly policies, if the terrible pettiness and division among adults continues, I may need to cash in some of the career chips I've been storing up.

Of my South Bay TFA class of '02, there are three of us left in the District, one an administrator.

5:25 PM  

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