Saturday, February 22, 2014

Medford Teacher Strike February 2014


I go back to my room tomorrow and have kids on Monday.  I am waiting to see if I have to make up any days.  I have lots of anger issues over this that I will be working through.  Plus I am exhausted.  It was a great civics lesson and makes me appreciate our Constitution even more.  Yep, I'm a union thug now.  Going to hug and squeeze those kids and do what is right for them and their education because I am in the one in the classroom who knows them and I have the professional training to know what is BS and what is good and right for them.  We are taking back our profession from the people who are clueless about what goes on in the classroom and do not have the professional training or education to know what is good and right for children.  

As a side note out of 600 teachers only 20 crossed the line, and our numbers on the line stayed the same during 13 days of strike.  The others unions say that is unheard in a strike to have such a high percentage go out on strike and keep the same numbers on the line. We are MEA!

Picketing sucks.  It was cold.  It rained.  It snowed.  It's boring. It's heartbreaking to see your kid's faces in bus windows, and behind fences and you can't hug them. It was infuriating to hear stories of the "quality education" going on inside when your CLA tells you of the 6th grade sub who had the kids compare the price of a 64 oz beer to a case of beer. Or the sub(scab) who slapped a child.  Of subs letting them chew gum.  Of subs checking their dating sights on school computers.  Coloring sheets in highschools.  Of our classified staff having to teach the lessons because the subs could not figure out how to do it.  The scabs, and I use it on purpose because not only were they the bottom of the barrel but were only in it for the money, were paid over $300.00 a day plus room, board, meals, training and catered meals.  Money that could have been used to settle a fair contract.

Then there was the waste of money on "rent a cops" to protect the sites and students from us dangerous teachers.  Security people who smoked cigarettes on the school ground and had felony history.

It was unbearable to read the lies about us in the newspaper and on the news from our superintendent when he tells them that we make $102,000. Or that they refused to bargain for 4 days over the holiday weekend, and the school board chair was in Las Vegas for a soccer tournament.  Or watching this timeline unfold that was planned all along by the school board and admin.  That they cared so little for the children, parents , and us .  

On the other hand, the overwhelming support on the streets from our public was amazing 200 thumbs up to 4 thumbs down or the middle finger.  Oh yes we were flipped off.  I even had a 70 year old lady stick her tongue out at me.  Of coffee, donuts, muffins, water, pizza, sandwiches, soup, and checks sent to us by education associations all around the state and country. 

Finally when we lined the streets, 600 strong on Barnett to show our solidarity, with drums pounding, a wall of signs , and hands waving we felt the strength of the most creative, inspiring, loyal, ethical, group of people I have ever known!

Our district could NOT break us.  They kept telling the press how we were going to break and cross over and how we were losing out on 3000.00 a week.  (REALLY?????!!!!)  We stood firm.  We stood tall.  We did not play in their sand box.  We took the higher road.  We did not delete posts off face book if they did not agree with us  like the district did.  We DID NOT lie about the numbers like they did on their web site.  We did not spin the truth to the cameras to make us look reasonable.  We did not sling mud against the people who lied about us.  

We deserve a fair contract that doesn't change 118 things in it.  We deserve to have a COLA after not having one for 8 years.  We deserve to have protected prep time and fair special ed. numbers across the schools. We are self insured.  We don't need a cap on our insurance costs.  We saved the district money on the insurance . So much so they moved millions to the general fund our of our insurance pool.  

Finally, don't just eliminate the early retirement benefit without phasing it out. We only asked for a year. Don't throw your veteran teachers off the cliff.  You gave admin. 2 years to phase it out.  You gave us 3 months. 

We did what we do best- we educated with numbers, we stood up to the bullying, and we used all our skills we use in the classroom to educate our students.  We are teachers.  We are united.  Don't come between us and our students.  We know what is best for them.  We are in the trenches. We deserve to be treated with respect and to have an admin that works with us collaboratively instead of dictating to us every single thing we do.