Article here. In response to comment by "John Morgan"
There are many professions where you CAN strike and no-one laughs at all.. and there are some where you strike at the jokes write themselves (Hello, NFL Referees). Additionally, if it were solely a question of better pay, the teachers would be a: less inclined to strike and b: have far less support. However, as has been pointed out in comments online, in media coverage, in the demonstrations, in the presentations to the school board and anywhere else anyone inclined to listen may care to look, the question is NOT just better pay, but also issues which are directly tied (by multiple piles of research) to student success and achievement. The two biggies:
- time to prepare built into the work day in predicable amount (as opposed to randomly and whimsically distributed in way that complies with total number) (side note, the stubborn refusal of some commenters here to address the prep time MIGHT be because it would give lie to their other assertion about how much time we actually work - "only 10 months" - maybe I'll tackle that one in a moment.);
- student loads - the more individual attention a learner can get, the more we can be sure they are learning. The more students an individual teacher needs to track, the less time each student gets.
Why we are on strike? we aren't actually, yet. That comes in another week, approx. And it comes after the discussion of what we are expected to do (the working conditions) and what we will get for it (the compensation) have been underway for a year. If you had a boss who was incapable of coming to an agreement with you about the specifics of your job for over a year of talking? you'd laugh at that boss or you'd at least talk about what a waffling putz he was behind his back.
As for the insane no-one in the private sector gets them benefits? I worked in the private sector. I had awesome health care bennies, great 401k match, travel that could go to my personal milage account and 30 vacation days a year. So... again maybe you are the one who needs to be looking for a better job?
How is it fair? I'll answer that with the overly cliche "I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way..." If you actually believe this is a great country, the foundation of that is a population that can read, write, problem solve, and critically think. Those are not skill sets that we can order from Amazon or go out and pick off a nearby tree, and in this day and age, we cannot dedicate one parent per household as an entire nation to take care of it at home. Public education is an absolute necessity in a democratic society because it IS an equalizer. Oppose socialism all you want, but capitalism without some check or balance becomes oligarchy and in a situation with wildly differing and stratified levels of wealth, equality of things other than wealth cannot help but suffer. Cry "freedom" all you want, but freedom is intended to be a companion to a roof and a meal, not a substitute for one, at least not in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. If you want to return to some heroism of subsistence living, get a time machine or relocate to one of the few remaining neolithic cultures still isolated in the remote parts of the world.
I said I'd return to how much teachers work, so why not. You claim 40-50 hour weeks, twelve months of the year and hold up our 10 month, 40 hour week, mandatory days off and federal holidays...
First: If you are truly in a job that asks for 40+ hours for all 52 weeks and offers NO days off? you really should consider what other options might be out there OR you should consider if your employer can be individually negotiated with about a few things. As an aside: on the weeks you go over 40, is there additional compensation in the bargain? for some there is, other not... Just curious.
Second: The mandatory days off (by which I think you mean weekdays when there are no classes?) aren't actually days off. They are some of the days when we do get big chunks of time to grade work, record those grades, make contact with parents of kids who are struggling, make contact with support systems for kids in crisis, plan for the term to come... all things we are at risk of losing all or in part, btw.
Third: the Holidays? Every state and federal worker (aside from EMS folks, law enforcement and TSA, etc...), most banks and related financial institutions, get those days off. It's not JUST teachers. The people who do have to work them in a a broader sense, including nurses, some service industries, and even retail, usually get some compensation bumps and get a day in close proximity off instead.
The 10 months: We didn't actually ask for that. It was imposed by societal expectations over a century ago when industry and agriculture held different policy weight in decisions of this kind. An alternate calendar or three have been proposed over the decades and the inertia of American society has generally kept those talks from going far at all.
The 40 hours: HA! ha ha ha! hahhahahahahaha... Ha HAHAHAHA ! Ha! We are in the building 40 hours a week. The job as it is currently 'designed' MUST follow us home each evening and weekend. The average teacher puts in closer to 60 hours a week. Some are nearer to 75. Writing materials, preparing powerpoints, google image searching for visual aids, making copies, grading work on a set of rubrics that we are also being asked to design in time time originally given to us for the making copies and the grading, entering scores in gradebooks (physical or software), in some cases having to split a single assignment across multiple gradebook entries because it hits learning targets from several different facets of a discipline, etc... doing it for 1 course 180 times (secondary) or doing it for 6 courses 30 times (elementary) (or something in the middle for the multiple subject area secondary folks out there). Doing it those 180 times for at least one handout, essay question and gradebook entry per week. Heaven forbid they coach or do an activity, which is general compensated for about 1/2 the time it actually takes, but IF they do that, you might see an 80 or even 90 hour week (with enough extra compensation to maybe rationalize 55 to 60). Spread that over the 36 weeks of instruction and (depending on the district) 2 weeks structured preparation, almost every teacher is working the HOURS equivalent of a minimum 57 40 hour weeks. Some are closer to 70 40 hour weeks a year and a handful will exceed even that. I hope I don't have to tell you how many ACTUAL weeks are in a year.
So. How is this fair again?
Bet Curtankerberg won't like this one.