Friday, August 31, 2012

Shuffling of employees

From the PG:


Anonymous said...

Not one administrator was moved. Not one was fired.
What more needs to be said?

Between this outrageous fact, the failure of managed curriculum that comes via PPS scores and the incredible corruption now beginning to shake out, I am appalled that Pittsburgh teachers have not undertaken a mass walk out to take back their schools.

Anonymous said...

I wish

The corrupt union would never let this happen

Anonymous said...

The corrupt union has nothing to do with it. Of course they would have nothing to do with it. Their last weapon is a strike and they will have none of it. Wimps.

Yet, you still have a number of old lions who are in most schools. These folks are leaders and know the power of solidarity. Screw the union. Time to pull a Tacoma and march out of school.

Time to provide some information about our disgust with a morally and ethically bankrupt administration. Time to shed some light on the real reason PSSA scores are down. Time to put the kids first.

The real "union" is within all of us who sense the despair, who understand the stakes, who are willing to say that there are 2500 of us....and that's power.

Anonymous said...

"Time to pull a Tacoma and march out of school."

Sorry Anon 5:23, but that ain't gonna happen. No way. Look at the last PFT election. Look who won. It was the "let's all get along" crowd.

Not a single reform candidate won an office position. Not even one, out of the dozen or so that ran. The membership has spoken. They prefer the wimps.

Keep your heads down, PPS teachers, and hope that you are not randomly targeted. For it's every man for himself.

Questioner said...

More practical and likely to succeed would be to work to elect school board members who share your positions. Contributions up to $50 do not have to be reported by candidates and can be made anonymously, so there would be no concerns about job repercussions. Or recruit good candidates as some of the current school board members retire. It only takes 5 good board members to make whatever changes are needed.

Anonymous said...

Any word on if the transition has gone so far and what class sizes are like?

Anonymous said...

Can't we pretend some of us just landed here from another planet hoping to understand how this all works.

Is all the movement the result adhering to the process of the seniority system detailed in the collective bargaining agreement?

Is it possible that this movement is actually a fairer way to manage or would students be better off if principals could hand-pick their staff and fill schools with best buddies and family members as faculty?

Is it possible some staff will find themselves in a more desirable position this year?

Lisa Jones 4 School Board said...

I may not be a teacher with PPS anymore, but I have not given up the fight. I hope that many of you saw the piece on the PPS land lease expose by WPXI, channel 11, Rich Earle. I hope that he follows up the story and exposes more on the mismanagement of school district properties.

There are many stories to share and I am listening and watching. I can take the hits. Please do not hesitate to contact me. Together, we can make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Could you please look into the sale of Boggs Ave. Elementary and Prospect Middle School in Mount Washington. Both sold to the Mount Washington Community Development Council first and then they turned around and sold them to private developers for a profit.

Anonymous said...

There are a great deal of things for you to look into Lisa.

The Schenley decision
The departure of John Thompson. Why? In an ethical and moral sense, he might as well have been St.John compared to this lot.
The Westinghouse debacle of last year.
The connection between PPS and Pitt's IFL
The myriad consultants drinking from the PPS trough
The RISE process being a game of russian roulette that unfairly targets good teachers, such as yourself
The outrageous furloughing of over 300 teachers while NOT ONE central administrator was furloughed
The slime that has been swept under the rug in terms of the abuse of children
The grotesque public acts of top administrators in this district while on company money
The payola that has gone into the rubber-stamping of issues by board members

Shall I name more?

You seem to have at least two fellow board members in Dr.Holley and Mark Brentley who have many of the same concerns.

Good luck to you. At some point, even the most apathetic of voters is going to become sickened by what they are hearing. At some point, that same voter is going to remember that a school district is supposed to have the best interests of students at its core.

In PPS, the best interests of top administrators and consultants remains at the top of the list.

Telling It like it is said...

Ms. Jones (11:36),

Many people love to complain, and point out all that is wrong with the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

But where were all the outraged voters when you ran for School Director?

And where were all the outraged teachers when Mark Sammartino ran for Union President?

I'm willing to bet that almost no one here volunteered to help you, Ms. Jones. Complain yes, but help you, no.

And something like half of the Pittsburgh teachers didn't even bother to vote in the last union election.

So what's my point? I have a ton of respect for you, Ms. Jones, and for Mr. Sammartino. You two put your careers on the line to try to change things in the city.

But too many people could not be bothered to help you win.

I can only hope that in four years it will be different. But I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

While your comments about helping Lisa in her district may be true, you could not be more wrong where the recent union election is concerned. Helping the Teachers for Change slate was not only a priority of mine but of many, many teachers.
And while you are correct in that the apathy of many teachers was disturbing, one would have to say that the closeness of the vote was also a mandate that the current PFT leadership had to take notice of.
You do know of course that the PFT acted to stifle the actions of the TFC during the campaign, They did not want us to appear at various PPS schools after hours to speak with teachers on their own time. They did not want to allow us to communicate with teachers via mailers and print information in any way whatsoever.
And sorry, I would not call what took place during the election "putting careers on the line." The PFT is only a small, weak link in the AFL-CIO chain and people familiar with Jimmy Hoffa and his style likely have a laugh that the PFT even calls itself a union, let alone view its actions as "career threatening."
There are those of us who believe that the only recourse left for teachers is to stage walk outs and strike. I am one of those teachers.
I would call these acts career threatening, because those who would engage in such actions--actions that would wake up administration and the citizenry---would undoubtedly deal with cowards who would cross picket lines or not take part in walk outs.
And I would be a part of it tomorrow.
Instead of castigating an entire teacher workforce, "tell it like it is" for a change.
Talk about the apathetic.
Talk about the complicit and those who believe the mantra from administration who should not be allowed to lead an education unit.
These are the culprits.
Talk about those union types who thought that "union" was all about gaining more wages, and traded away myriad workplace guarantees for a few pennies more. Look at the contract book of 1990 and the one today. Notice the size differential.

We truly deserve what we have for union representation, tis true, but some of us have not given up.

Telling it like it is said...

Anon 5:53,

-- "Helping the Teachers for Change slate was not only a priority of mine but of many, many teachers."

Yes, I'm aware that many teachers stepped up to help Mark. I have nothing but admiration for the TFC slate, and for all those that worked so hard for it.

But TFC lost. And they lost during a time of great discontent. If a reform slate cannot win during such times, when can it win?

This is not meant to be a criticism of TFC. They ran a strong, positive camapaign.

But it is meant to be a criticism of most of the PFT teachers. They love to complain, but will not even bother to mail in a ballot.

-- "You do know of course that the PFT acted to stifle the actions of the TFC during the campaign."

I'm aware of that too. It happened in previous PFT elections as well. In my opinion, those actions bordered on violations of federal law.

That might explain why less people voted for TFC. It doesn't do much to explain why so many didn't vote at all.

-- "I would not call what took place during the election 'putting careers on the line.' "

I would. Perhaps you misunderstood me. When Mark ran, he risked his career. Are you old enough to remember what happened to Dianne Murray after she ran against Al Fondy?

And Ms. Jones most certainly risked her career when she ran against the President of the School Board. Look what happened there.

-- "some of us have not given up"

I hope not. Reformers might yet be able to nudge the current leadership in the right direction.

But I must tell it like it is. As time goes on, more and more veteran teachers are retiring. Those teachers had deep roots in trade unionism. They, or their fathers, worked the mills.

The newer teachers are a different breed. They are too busy studying their RISE instructions, and dreaming of bonuses, to listen to you or me.

Outstanding Professional Teacher said...

Anon at 10:13, you are telling half-truths and calling it gospel. Let's clarify some of your comments.

-You cannot compare Mark with Diane Murray. I am not going to do a character assassination of Ms.Murray on this site but her reputation and questionable classroom procedures preceded her, and certainly, this perception of her turned off people when it came to voting for her or her "ticket." On the other hand, I know of no one who has failed to say that Mark is an outstanding teacher when his name has come up in conversation.
Sorry, apples and oranges and yes, I was there for all of it.
This does not excuse the PFT for its attempts to squelch dissent however, and their tactics were noted then by many.

-I think that Mark tip-toed the line where "risking his career" was concerned and knowing him, I would say that he would say the same to you. Mark is intelligent and stuck to the issues at all times rather than make personal comments about administration or go beyond the parameters of employee-employer protocols.
To me at least, Mark did not "go radical enough" for many of the older teachers you write of. While I would not have wanted him to engage in any of the aforementioned tactics, I would like to see a union leader show some semblance of courage of conviction and understanding of the times.
-I agree with the note about Lisa risking her job, but again, you are taking easy ways out with your logic. Unless I am mistaken---and I do not think I am---Lisa was a victim of the outrageous RISE process and a school administration that randomly targeted teachers, often times based upon the babblings of under-performing, apathetic students who did not like teachers who held them to a higher regard. I am thrilled that she decided to run and wish her the best, but that decision came after the egregious actions at her school.

Lastly, a couple of random comments.
-Apathy is a huge problem in all elections. Look at the state of our nation after the 2nd Bush term. Did we get 50% of those eligible to actually vote? Do you think we will get it this time?
That said, preaching to the crowd will get you nowhere. To his credit, Mark mobilized whom he had to but in the next election, will have to get to the ultra apathetic and sorry, I just don't think anyone will get them off of the couch, short of an offer of free beer.
-Many have made comment about suing the union for this or that. It's pretty clear that unions are insulated from litigation from their own rank and file. I mean, think about the idea that I can opt out of my union but will still have to pay most of my current dues. The same goes for the actions that come via RISE. i am wondering when we will hear of an organized teacher who has kept great records suing PPS. How many teachers do you know that were called "proficient" or "distinguished" late last year but suddenly will be called "basic" or less this fall. Somehow, they suddenly forgot how to teach, eh? Must have been one helluva summer.

Teachers are the complainers you make note of because it becomes eminently clear after a short amount of time that few people can do what we do, or as well, and yet, work conditions are deteriorating in the area of stress and each contract yields not an a cost of living increase.
When we all retire in short order, then perhaps young teachers will understand that we have been screaming for them as well, and that administration are not their friends. But everyone has to find out for themselves that drinking the kool aid does not make you one of them in any way. You're just not good enough.

Anonymous said...

WhenI read about apathy it makes me think about what motivates people to vote. I think a lot of teachers have given up and I can't say I blame them.

I don't think teachers should have residency requirements, however if they did and they had to send their kids to PPS or pick a private school they could not afford, possibly more (younger) teachers would vote. Teacher's are in survival mode right now, mess with their own children and it shifts the balance a bit.

I am not an expert, this is just me thinking out loud. I know teachers care about their students. I am not a teacher, but my parents were.

Anonymous said...

The "business model" of grinding employees into the ground doesnt work for teachers any better than it did in business- which is why it was abadoned.
Educators-- teachers and principals have always known how to get the best out of people-- students or workers. Trust me parents of Pittsburgh, your teachers fight hard NOT to treat the students as they are being treated during this regime.
Most teachers do fall back on treating students as they would want their own children treated. This means fairness and respect- not trying to "catch people being naughty" which is what RISE does.
Most teachers have fair consequences in their own families, not the message that "we will talk to the offender" who injured the child.
At university we do exit surveys to see why students leave to better serve them. Talk to parents who have moved, pulled their kids out etc. They said, "the hell with the promise--I cant afford to have my child living the way they have- I need them in a safe secure learning environment where someone responds when something happens to them. ALL the families that leave have a story-- either an injury or witnessing something that they wouldnt let their kids watch on TV!
Even in Mr.Roosevelt's time, the "hotline" calls meant something to principals and admin-- now it is a kinda "oh well let them leave if they dont like it" THAT'S the new promise!

Anonymous said...

More guns? This is scary.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that PELA's have been schooled in the art of "blame the teacher." The principal used to be responsible for setting the tone in the school for acceptable behavior. Now, it's the sole responsibility of the individual classroom teacher. When my old school principal stepped into a classroom, the students took notice. Now when my PELA principal walks in, there is no impact of presence. This is a clear indicator that the level of respect for our PELA principal is non-existent. Heaven forbid when all of the old school disciplinary principals retire. There won't be one PPS standing that will have a school environment that supports teaching and learning. All of the schools will have the students in charge just like mine.

Anonymous said...

The post reminded me that before PELA and Rise admin would come to parent meetings and preach that all a school needed was a strong leader in a principal. It was Leadership, Leadership and more leadership that would do it all including raise PSSA Scores and make kids want to be in school. I guess we were sold on the idea and bought into PELA and PULSE and made it possible for the move to failing teachers as the problem with education.

Anonymous said...

Our school district has spent the last seven years chasing the next big idea in education that had a grant opportunity associated with it.

Anonymous said...

Working in the PPS for the last 7 years has been a living hell, that gets worse every year. The light at the end of the tunnel is actually a train.

Will this ever end


Anonymous said...

The cavalry is not coming over the hill anytime soon.
Gates money enabled the district to attain other grants that also blame teachers.
Meanwhile, you have PELAs going into buildings with the charge of getting rid of salaries. Let's tell it like it is...RISE can mean the end to anyone's career at anytime. It is so ridiculously vague and mysteriously worded that one thought keeps resonating:
You could be the world's greatest teacher and do everything that your curriculum tells you to do and still, an administrator can target and get rid of you.
This has been an attempt to get rid of veterans, plain and simple. It has been an attempt to get rid of salaries. And now, it is so overt that it numbs the mind.
Read the board minutes.
How are 25 year veterans suddenly "resigning?"
Let's tell it like it is.

If you're an administrator reading this blog please know that I have no sympathy for you. I have no regard for the straits you've been put in. I have no care about the threats made against you by your superiors.
Have some gumption. Have some courage.
Education is students and teachers. Your k=job is to ensure a safe environment. Period.

What is truly sickening and a bit frightening these days is PELA's are true believers. They actually believe they are doing what's right. They actually believe that teachers are "bad" for not decorating their boards or missing a few things on the board. And they'd rather put faith in some kid's opinions of the teacher rather than objectively observing and making a sound judgment.
Every dictator has his true believers and these people---PELAs---not only drink the kool aid and talk the adminspeak of the day---they enjoy intimidating teachers.

This in a time when central administration knows no furloughs and has no worries. This in a time when it is increasingly clear that force-fed curriculum that comes from Pitt's ivory tower is a compete and utter failure. Look at the scores....and know they will get worse. This when consultants come and go easily and without oversight, all at taxpayer expense.
Heck, these individuals can even go to PELA conventions and indulge in lewd behavior, all on the public's dime.

A corporate approach to education cannot work, as education at its root is teachers and students. It's not management and assembly line. It's not the cavalier mentality that looks at teachers as expendable. It's not the arrogance that pushes the idea that one can do as he likes, and no one will say a word.

Investigations. On so many levels, this district's central administration and PELAs are deserving of hard questions by media and taxpayers. Let's hope that if nothing else, the recent atrocities described as having taken place at Rooney--and the alleged cover-ups---removes the mask from this administration.

These are not educators, and rather than critiquing teachers would better spend their time arranging their own resignation letters.

Anonymous said...

Have some compassion for the few central district employees that did have some "gumption". They risked their carreers and lost them, simply replaced by "yes" people who are (some cases) outta control spenders and no buisness plan. They were buried in the news and replaced by Broadies or somebody with marrianette strings attatched.

Anonymous said...

The comment was made to current administrators. Just like the people you have mentioned, let's also think about principals who were forced out to make way for the current corps of "hatchet men." These people were failures in the classroom and now are in positions of authority. Sorry--I wish them nothing but the worst life has to offer.

Anonymous said...

It is becoming increasingly clear that the district has a group of people that it deems "worthy of protection." This list does not include teachers.
There is no doubt that there is a great deal of dirt to be uncovered. Let's hope that if local media, perhaps the district attorney's office will.
Resignations would mean that there is some thought about "doing the right thing," of course. The arrogance present in PPS administration makes such a thought ridiculous. They live by a different set of principles, it would appear.

Anonymous said...

The "queen's privelge" monarchy kind of attitude is the underbelly of all this. When administration came from the ranks, most of them remembered some or all of what it was like. They at least were able to say, "hey that happened to me and here's how I handled it" These people have no compassion or awareness-- not just of teachers- but as parents and students. They avoid parents because they have no advice-- Teachers have SO much heart, and when they talk to parents privately the parents know. But unlike the past, for some reason, the parents arent complaining- it is sad.

Anonymous said...

Which gets us to another facet to the underbelly you speak of, The Pittsburgh Promise. Most parents will say nothing because they are only here thanks to the promise. Those who have reservations about the district have found other places to send their children. Their exodus should speak volumes. But those that remain are the ones who will swallow hard and realize that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Since we have so many students who come from poverty, who can blame them?
And in this regard, the district is more in the game show business than it is education. In a strange allusion to "Survivor," those who remain at the end of the game will find great reward. Of course, we now pave their way through the pratfalls by telling them that there is no such thing as a zero score, that they can succeed through a watered-down curriculum that does not provide students with what they need to compete in high school and in the real world, and that they can learn from their classmates in group settings rather than via traditional instructors.
What a great idea, eh, and it's all backed by corporate interests who call themselves entrepreneurs and who take it upon themselves to make pronouncements about the course the district should be going if they have a clue.
History clearly illustrates that big money equals corruption, and PPS is rife with it, from Gates money to myriad grants, to foundation hand-outs.
We're about as "educational" as the local Denny's.

The only thing that will right the ship is some journalistic entity having the guts to blow the cover off of all of the corruption or a complete paradigm shift on the national level that identifies the culprit in student achievement (and it is not teachers).
I don't see either happening anytime soon.
Bill Clinton talked about cooperation the other day in reflecting on Obama's troubles with republican leadership. He made the comment that we are all in this together.
To a smaller degree, this is the problem in PPS...a lot of pompous pseudo-intellectuals that are making the decisions and farm out for ideas to places like Pitt's IFL. Teachers? Who needs them?
Like my colleagues, I got into education thanks to a love of children and a desire to help them reach their potentials for a better life. For a long time now, I have been sickened by the fact that administration feels no need to be morally and ethically forthright. These latest stories just reinforce that feeling.
Pardon me for saying I somehow feel lesser by even saying I work with this type of "leadership." I wish a god shower and some disinfectant could be of aid, but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

"When you think everything is someone else's fault you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy."

Questioner said...

OK so let's say you are a peasant in China and your government announces that it will raze your home for pennies, and local officials will as a result obtain a deal that is lucrative for themselves. Does everything spring only from yourself? To the extent that you allow yourself to become attached to a house rather than being happy in a communal shelter, maybe so. But you have to be very zen to rise above EVERYTHING. Because even if you can put mind over matter for yourself it is difficult to see your family suffer. The difference here is just that we can walk away from most situations.

Questioner said...

Speaking of the Pittsburgh Promise, how did fundraising go this year- was enough raised so that UMPC will pay the full amount possible under its pledge?

Anonymous said...

I'm a Catholic and I can take solace in the fact that there are enough rewards in Heaven for doing the right thing and enough exhortations regarding judgment day for those who are evil. Enough said, and you can save the zen mumbo jumbo.
The 2000 teachers who are left don't need zen ramblings. Save for the kool aid drinkers, they know what's going on in PPS, and they certainly are aware or what is going on within administration. Teachers know that they get little respect and praise for what they do, and their contracts every year have them losing money: rising health care costs and "raises" that do not even amount to a cost of living adjustment. They know that new PELA administration have no desire to support teachers via the disciplining of students who break rules, and they know that their bulletin boards and white boards/chalk boards better have everything that the PELA observer is looking for, as to them, this is what it means to be "distinguished."
They know that the curriculum is an absolute failure and that test scores prove it. They hear presenters say as much and make the case for "augmenting" the curriculum, but they know that if an observer is in the room, they will likely be focused and on track for a forced resignation, especially if they are top-of-the-scale wage earners.
They know the territory, and still they love children and push them to reach their potential.
They don't need zen "perception is reality" babble, grasshopper.
Last year' I'd heard that UPMC was beginning to hedge its bet with the Promise was concerned. There was growing speculation that the scores were not reflecting growth, no matter how much PPS sought to spin it and flight from PPS was continuing. There was rumbling that UPMC wanted to push the Promise to include private schools, as well.
In theory, I think the Promise is a good thing for families but I've grown to see its seamy side, as well. As stated last night, money corrupts, and it has destroyed academic integrity within PPS administration (not that there was much integrity anyway).
You don't have a program like this and water down grades.
You don't have a program like this and force an outrageously inept curriculum.
And you don't accept money with the caveat that those contributing can have a say in academic issues or even district issues. Foundations should make their contributions, take their bows, and shut the hell up.
These are the times. We are completely style over substance and again, as academically viable as your local Wendy's. We have leadership that is completely out of touch with what the education process is all about and what the needs of urban children are. And while they will preach "accountability" and "effectiveness" of teachers, there is no such system to measure *their* accountability, so much so that they act lewdly at conventions, disregard meetings while there, and brazenly perform while cameras are running.
Amazing times.
Can you imagine having a job---at the public's expense---in which you can have such latitude?

Anonymous said...

Oh dear anonymous. Do you realize that the land taken away for pennies analogy AGREED with you? Read it again without throwing in religion -- saying your reward is in heaven seems to mean that you shouldn't worry about what happens here...and I can tell by your postings that you very much worry about what happens here!

Questioner said...

Yes, please just replace "zen" with the appropriate reference in Catholic or non-religious teaching for the ability to rise above wordly concerns.

Anonymous said...

Please understand that I am wary of anything "new age," as it runs contrary to my beliefs, no matter how hip the media might make it.
And you missed my point. While I do care about the achievement of children--as most PPS teachers do first and foremost--I can't be overly concerned by the grotesque. That is, I have to believe there is a day of reckoning coming one day, that's all.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:36

You keep saying that "teachers know" how bad the contract is, how bad the PELA program is, etc. etc.

Yet in the last PFT election, those teachers voted to keep the leaders that negotiated that contract, signed off on the PELA program, etc. etc.

There is no sugar-coating this.

Either there is something wrong with your thinking, or there is something wrong with the thinking of most Pittsburgh teachers.

Anonymous said...

I am not an administrator or teacher. I am going to take a stab at answering the question posed by anon 9:28 about "teachers know" and hope from the parent of grads seat I make some sense. We got dazzled and some staff must have too. Nice to think that before evaluations and observations started most teachers considered themselves effective. Factor in too the catchy phrase "career ladders" and staff thinking they could climb any ladder they wanted too. Have you ever seen how creative you have to be to make a ladder level on sloping ground? Those that have fooled themselves into believing the climb was possible may be surprised. Sooner or later all the ladders may disappear when the money dries up. Maybe that will make education better. Too bad analysis of the votes cast can't be done to see the breakdown by age, years of service, etc. The votes for retention probably were the result of pixie dust.

Anonymous said...

I'm not wrong, believe me.
Yes, we have a few kool aid drinkers who believe in the ladders that Parent writes of, no doubt. Many of them went to Brashear when it opened. Some joined PRC at their schools.
But by and large, teachers certainly do know the intimidation tactics which are now prevalent among administrators. This comes from the RISE playbook. This is an extension of the Judy Johnston mantra. Your school can fall apart where discipline is concerned, but make damn sure you hold those teachers in check.

You bring up the PFT election and there are numerous things wrong with your thinking. On one hand, the level of apathy among veteran teachers has been rising since Al Fondy's last few contract votes and meetings, when he would have microphones turned off and sergeant at arms remove those who wished to dissent. This got worse under John Tarka, and after successive contracts in which teachers at the top of the scale failed to get cost of living increases and younger teachers literally got nothing, and after the many atrocities committed against teachers over the last couple of years especially, many teachers---half of our union--sees the situation as hopeless. Once you have given away the farm, how can you possibly get it back. Most wish to keep their heads down so as not to attract administrative attention. Without a strong union to back you, who can blame them?
Naturally, your question must be then, why did rank and file vote for the last two contracts?
Truly, there is a lack of backbone within our ranks, and it seems to lessen as more and more old school teachers, pardon the pun, retire.
I can only imagine that negotiations are a complete joke, with district negotiators literally laughing at their counterparts. They know that for some reason---bad PR, I suppose---Tarka and now Nina just will not strike when truly, this district's teachers need to show its collective resolve.
They know they can cry "we have no money" and get away with it. They know the district also cares about PR, and would never raise taxes, even when it truly should.
Fear. Fear of what "might" happen. Fear of no paycheck for a while and most certainly, fear of repercussions once the strike is over.
Unions and management should necessarily be adversarial in nature. Cooperative at the end of the day and civil, yes, but a union can not serve two interests.
I came into the district with strong union brothers and sisters who would not stand for the baloney we see today, and that would have been echoed by Al, Paul, Joe and others. But as new people came into the district from the mid-90's to today, they have been treated to milquetoast leadership and have adopted that approach, as well.
They fail to understand solidarity.
They fail to understand the idea of safety in numbers.
They fail to recognize that what is happening not only hurts all of us, but also our students.
It starts with leadership. A good leader can rally support and move mountains. Nina is a paper tiger that the board does not take seriously and that teachers view as weak. John was looked upon as a traitor by many.
If this is the type of courage displayed by "leaders," it is no wonder we have so many weaklings among teachers today.
And for the record, I would bet other unions in various industries would say the same thing.

Anonymous said...

From a very small sample, true, but during the last contract vote, I witnessed a conversation at school between 2 first year teachers, a third year teacher and an 8th year teacher about the contract. None of them was planning on voting for it.

During that conversation a teacher with 29 1/2 years came along by, he listened for a minute, seemed a little uncomfortable with the concerns, but then said, "I voted for the contract the day I got my ballot. I guess I didn't really think about the things you're talking about. I just knew I could still retire."

Now maybe we just had better informed new teachers, but there were grave concerns, even though everyone in the conversation was grandfathered in to the old system and not the new system with choosing your "level."

Anonymous said...

Oh, no doubt. I can remember going to many general membership meetings and watching people near retirement go up to the microphone, ramrod their issue up the agenda---whatever meant having a few cents or dollars coming out of pay, or whatever meant getting a few dollars added to their pay---watching other old timers line up behind them...and then leaving. They could care less about the 20 or 30 other items on the agenda. Their theme should have been , "For a few dollars more."

And you're right. I have met veterans near retirement who voted for the last two contracts without even reading about what was being offered. They could care less about the fact that young teachers got nothing, and two contracts ago, could care less that the jump step of '10' was moved to '11'.

Yeah, you have to add greed to the issue, too. To a great degree, I've always thought this is why the PFT has done secret mail in ballots now instead of mass meetings where votes are taken. Whether it's an election or a contract ratification, they know that teachers will say one thing but left on their own, will vote in their own best interest.