Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Ukiah Teacher’s Association.


Name something that functions like the North Korean Cabinet filled with the cast from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Wow, I really miss Johnny Carson.

Seriously, I got my paycheck today. Because of step and column, I received a raise of nearly $2,000. The main reason for that was the wise decision to get as far over on “column” portion (the number of units) as quick as possible. It has made my income go up substantially. Only I won’t see a penny of that raise. It is already gone to my health fees that more than doubled. Oh, but I shouldn’t go to the doctor either since I still need to pay off a cool thousand deductable before those “benefits” kick in. Someday, my union will put some serious effort into lowering health fees.

Then I get the report from the first Ukiah Teacher’s Association meeting. You know, I’ve written nice letters, mean letters, begged, cajoled, cursed, and I’ve come to realize that our union leadership is lead by power hungry people that might just be, well, on the same floor as Nurse Ratchet. Rude you say? Mean spirited and uncalled for you add? Not when a teacher that pays dues to an organization is lowered to two choices; one, sit back and watch near criminal negligence occur, or two, do what I’m doing now.

I just want Ukiah to know that if something occurs with Ukiah teachers because of the union, that not everyone is on board with it. In fact, a lot of teachers that teach at the high school (though I speak for only me) are really focused on teaching kids through this tough economic time, not “fighting the power” when more unity is necessary. The things coming out of that meeting do not represent me. How can someone represent me that when asked, “So you aren’t here for the best interest of the kids?” responded, “No, we’re here to represent what’s best for teachers, and you are anti-union”? Oh really. I’m a firm believer of a fair days work at a fair days wage, just like I’m a firm believer that teacher’s are underpaid.

But get this.

I’m also a firm believer that when two sides sit down and actually negotiate, things can get done. And I’m a believer that when one side becomes petulant, that you never lose your cool and absorb that mentality. I’m a believer that the CTA knows jack shit about the state of our school district, and that teachers, administrators, and parents are infinitely more qualified to address issues regarding education in this town, and yes, even about teaching. I’m a believer that you never refuse to sit down with your employer, or lose sight that they are your employer. I’m a firm believer in reasonable thinking, logical solutions, and a clear understanding that this community, one that is suffering from massive economic decline, will not support a bunch of prima donnas that refuse to sacrifice for the good of the school as an institution.

By the way, let me remind the high and mighty of the UTA that refusing sacrifice will mean that young, inspiring teachers will be the first to go because you won’t sit your ass across the table and talk. Don’t give up the house by any means, but realize that economic conditions are going to necessitate some serious financial considerations. Furloughs are not giving up the house. Reality check. Look around and tell me what you see. You have a job and some security. Why don’t you do that job on the UTA and work out solutions for the good of the teacher AND the kids.

I don’t like how things are going, especially during a tough time at our school. Teachers are really trying and succeeding in teaching with the current economic and social distractions. This union crap makes me nuts. People are digging in for a fight that does not and should not take place right now. And unless my district asks for furlough days AND wage cuts AND a rise in health fees AND my first born child, I better not hear the word “work stoppage” anywhere. I have kids to teach, bills to pay, and a greater commitment to my craft than to a bunch of ego-maniacal yahoos. I’m crossing that line the first day and the first person that gets between me and my classroom door gets fed my laptop.

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