Friday, May 8, 2015

Garnet Valley School Nonsense...Cough Cough

It looks like we had a "sick out" this morning at my daughter's high school. As the email from the school district put it, they had more teachers call out sick than they had substitutes to cover for them. So a bunch of teacher-less classes gathered in the auditorium to do...I'm not sure what. Presumably not learn much.

Or it could just be a coincidence on a beautiful sunny warm spring day. I guess.

Our teachers have been without a contract for a year or two, and are getting more vocal about their dissatisfaction. Both the administration and the teachers association are sending out letters and emails leveling almost identical claims at each other (unwilling to negotiate in good faith, etc). The teachers' association recently informed the parents that they will henceforth be working "by rule", which means that they will not participate in anything extra (i.e. anything for which they don't get paid).

I'll freely admit I'm not privy to much of the detail of what exactly has been going on, but I do know that the teachers wanted an independent party to come in an evaluate the situation. That occurred. The independent party basically said that the district's offer was fair, at which point the teachers (who called for this in the first place) then rejected the independent party's findings. OK.

From what I have heard, one of the main sticking points is that the teachers are upset at what they see as declining health benefits, and being asked to pay more for those benefits. I hate to say wake up and smell the crappy state of employer-sponsored health benefits that exists everywhere in the workplace today, but...wake up and smell the crappy state of employer-sponsored health benefits that exists everywhere in the workplace today. Spiraling out of control healthcare costs are what employers everywhere are facing, and they don't have much choice but to pass some of that expense along to the employees. I think you would be hard-pressed to find many places where health benefits are getting better and/or cheaper. So do I feel for the teachers? Sure. Have much sympathy? No. We're all in the same boat.

It will be interesting (not in a good way) to see how this continues to escalate. We have great teachers. We have great administrators. We have great facilities. We have terrific, involved parents. Our district has an awful lot going for it compared to many. As the music teachers commented from the stage during a combined middle school and high school jazz concert a week or two ago, it is great that we are so fortunate that at a time when so many other districts are cutting back on music and the arts and all sorts of other non-essential programs, we get to have high school jazz bands, middle school jazz ensembles, classical guitar groups, and all sorts of other non-mainstream musical activities beyond just "band". And this is true of the sports programs, theater, and many other clubs and activities.

The teachers have a lot to lose. The administration has a lot to lose. The kids, of course, have the most to lose. Let's hope we can all keep the stupidity to a tolerable level.

No comments:

Post a Comment