Sunday, January 26, 2014

Teachers In One Southern Oregon District Are Scheduled to Go On Strike

on February 6 unless the differences can be resolved between the MEA and the Medford School District.

One thing I had heard through the grapevine is the guy who is the CFO of the district was with Harry & David until shortly before it filed for bankruptcy. Good move, school board and district administrators.

I don't have as harsh words for Oregon school districts as I do for Nevada's because I know Nevada's so well having been through the wringer there, but teachers up here are paid shit, and their class sizes are way huge.

Not only that, but classified staff are exploited to the point that comparatively few are even full-time anymore but work years in part-time jobs with NO benefits. Believe it or not, it is extremely competitive to even get the part-time jobs despite no benefits and shitty pay because applicants KNOW those jobs are used as a hiring pool for the full-time gigs.

Furthermore, many of the teacher aides are doing jobs that should be done only by certificated staff such as reading intervention jobs. In Nevada, ALL people working in reading intervention are certified teachers. I am surprised nobody has reported Medford School District to TSPC over it, as many of these aides do "pull out" sessions with kids, outside of direct supervision by classroom teachers, and that is absolutely illegal. Hell's bells, I am having one hell of a time trying to get a teaching license here because of being flat broke and the fact it appears I must be dual certified to EVER be able to work with special ed kids (not that I want to) or have a K-8 license to teach reading. Here I am struggling, yet these aide jobs are being filled by people far less qualified and they are actually teaching the kids. It's disgusting.

I like these comments following the article. Time for a brand new school board:

Here's something worth thinking about. The Medford School District and the Ashland School District each spend about the same amount of money per student per year (around $8,100). The Medford District has more than four times the number of students as the Ashland District (13,000 vs. 3,000). This translates into a major cost advantage for Medford because it has a much larger base over which to spread it's fixed costs. Yet Ashland has smaller class sizes, a higher teacher to student ratio, pays its teachers more and provides them with better benefits.

The question every citizen in Medford needs to ask is WHY this is so. The answer, of course, is that the Ashland School District is much better managed financially. Administrative expenses as a percentage of the budget are substantially less (when intuitively they should be higher because of its much smaller base over which to spread its fixed expenses) and the ratio of non-teaching employees to total employment is much lower. The bottom line is the "budget problems" currently facing the Medford School District aren't budget problems at all. They're management problems; Problems that the Medford School Board, which is charged with oversight of the District, are incapable of effectively addressing.

Good move teachers - you are NOT being heard - this will grab the attention of several folks in the district who are doing one of several things: 1) complaining because they think their current lot in life is worse than yours and everyone should be as miserable as they are; 2) worried that if you walk off the job they'll have to make a "Plan B" for their little darlings each/everyday you're away; 3) playing politics based on the very simple fact that they dislike unions (maybe because they weren't astute enough to take a union job when they had the chance?); 4) bumming because no matter what (raise/no raise) their taxes pay your salaries and how dare you live off the "public dole"; and/or, 5) any one of a number of other rationale that for whatever reason they do not want the 'best' for their children and by Gumby, if that means NOT throwing a few more pennies/dollars per year to retain the best teachers Medford money can buy - well then, they're OK knowing their little darlings will instead be educated by SCABS, and other less-qualified peeps.

If it was my children, I'd pony up knowing that public education is paid with public dollars and since I don't make the salary necessary to utilize private schools (and I don't have time to home-school), then my best move is to pay for the best public teachers I can get. This is simple logic - nothing to do with rocket science! Give my kids the best public education possible and pay our teachers what they are worth, not what some Board of Elected LayPeople tells me what they're worth! And, certainly not what overpaid Administrators (who just gave THEMSELVES a raise: why aren't folks complaining about THIS???) tell me what my kids' educators are worth (so they can retain the raise they just gave themselves!).


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