"High Achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation." - Charles Kettering

Friday, February 18, 2011

Evansville Schools Called Off Due to Anticipated Staff Absences

Evansville's staff members have heeded the call of WEAC, according to the robocall from Superintendent Carvin this morning at 6am. I appreciate being informed, but like every parent of school aged children, I have carefully watched the school closings just in this eventuality. I knew about this at 11pm last night. But I suppose there are those who have been burying their heads in the sand or who live in a cave somewhere that are simply uninformed.

I am sad that our teachers feel marginalized by our Governor's recent edict. I am especially aggravated with the governor for failing to acknowledge the concessions offered when the union stated last week that they now (belatedly for the Reach for the Top grants) endorse merit pay that includes student achievement as a criteria and other positions they formerly vehemently opposed. Instead, on the heels of WEAC's announcement of said concessions, he volleys with "no more collective bargaining." Hmm. This indicates to me that Scott Walker is incapable of thinking on his feet. This is a poor attribute for the leader of our state.

All that being acknowledged, I am equally sad that our kids have to pay the price because our staff members seem to think that protesting 20 minutes away can't be done on their own time. Like everyone, my kids have a lot of irons in the fire right now. Solo and Ensemble demonstration for the teachers, registration, tests for placement next year, are all supposed to be taking place today and in the coming week. This serves nobody except the Unions. And by that I mean the Union organization, not it's members.

Being lumped in with a union today means that you agree with the union vociferously defending a clearly deficient member so that you will be defended in the eventuality that administration tries to railroad you in some way. Everything is so adversarial that the natural human reaction on both sides is to throw up ones hands and declare "screw it." The cost of the blinking lawyers alone to process the collective bargaining for both sides would probably fund five teachers. Now add in all the hours of staff and administration, all the paperwork required, meetings rescheduled for any number of reasons, etc. etc. etc. Add a few more teachers. Or more pay for the ones we have. Or new textbooks. Anything! Let you imagination be you guide!

I am not privy to the sanctions, if any, the district plans to levy on the staff who did not show today. The TV said, "staff should report" last night. Maybe this is a story. Maybe not.

Finally, Mr. Everson did not plan to excuse any students for the planned student walk-out yesterday. My daughter said the sit-in became effectively everyone because teachers were only required to attend class if their class was there. She was the only kid to show up for one class and the only soprano who showed up to choir yesterday. "I got to sing some solos!" If students weren't to be excused if Mr. Everson suspected no illness was present, then the same consequence should be leveled on the missing staff today. Should there be "teacher detention" for this action? What do you suppose that would look like? Would Mr. Cashore be in charge? There goes my imagination getting out of hand again.

I do not wish to make light of this action. I am disappointed to think of all the money we just paid in property taxes that pay these teachers. My expectation is that they do their job at the appointed hours and participate in civil disobedience on their own time. The demographic hit the hardest by this are the working poor with small children. This is the demographic that educators routinely use to implement what are effectively entitlement programs such as 4K, full day 5K and the like. These are the people being hit hardest by your choice to shut down our schools at the last minute. How many of them will lose the paltry job they have to stay with their small children? Or worse yet, how many of them will be forced to leave the kids at home alone to go to the only job they have? Scott Walker could care less if Evansville School staff members personally attend the rallies. But that struggling parent might have a few choice words for this action.


Anonymous said...

Any parent who was not prepared for this to happen and did not make tentative plans for their kids if they are not old enough to stay home alone, are just irresponsible. One of the families my daughter babysits for called on Tuesday night and asked, " If at some point there is no school this week, can you babysit?" So she was prepared to and they did not have to worry if it did happen.

But I talked with another parent who was glad to take the day off to spend time with her kids.

But every one should have known it was real possibility.

I do not fault the teachers for doing this, this is their lives that are being messed with.

I applaud Evansville teachers for holding together the majority of the week. I also know the last part of the week they were having a hard time finding subs.

As were many schools in the area.


Anonymous said...

I am also wondering what the wording in their contracts is. Because with the Judge in Madison refusing to send back to work, makes me wonder if does not have to do with the wording in the contract.

Usually their are work stoppages because of the district, not because of the State.

That Judge must have been able to hang his hat on something in that contract to give the ruling he did.

I believe Evansville teachers will be back in force on Monday. I do not think these teachers took not coming in lightly at all, not the ones I talked with.


Mavrik said...

Sorry Chasin, in your first statement you said it was the parent that was irresponsible, I have an employee that came into my office with a letter she received when she picked up her children from school the day before saying that school would be in session and not to worry, drop off the kids as usual. She was asking me if she could leave because her ex-husband tried to drop them off, but he could not because school had been closed due to too many teachers calling in “sick” (later reported getting sick notes from UW docs at the capitol). Can you explain how she was irresponsible? I do not agree with protesting during your work day, you have all the time you want when you are not being contracted to work. If working meant dangerous conditions, yes of course, but teaching is not dangerous. It only taught our kids that if they don’t get what they want, they can just walk out, ever had your teenagers do that to you? If they have, I’m sure it upset you. That’s how I felt when the “sick” out happened. I’m not over it, and probably won’t be for a long time.