Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Union Issue: What To Do With Teachers Who Don’t Pass HOUSSE?

I’m vice-president of my local, and in our conversations with our superintendent we’ve had an issue come up that I’m not quite sure how to address. The district office has gone through and done the Highly Qualified paperwork on every teacher in the district, and there are only two who haven’t reached the 100 points required to have met the standard.

This really shouldn’t be a big deal. If they would pass the Praxis, they’d be qualified. If they’d take a class, they’d be qualified. If they’d head a committee, they’d be qualified. They can keep their current positions by developing a plan to get the points they need, and that would be that.

One of them, though, is refusing to do anything. He’s got better than 30 years in, but doesn’t want to retire for a variety of reasons. It sounds like he’s being polite about things, but he’s made his decision: he’s not interested in following any of the avenues to become highly qualified.

As an association, this is putting us in a bind. The district is proposing that he be moved into a position that he is qualified for, which could easily start a ripple effect that would result in 5 people being displaced as we bump around the district.

The more militant wing of my exec board is proposing that we throw the guy under a bus by writing new contract language where teachers who aren’t HQ are RIF’ed until a position that they are qualified for opens. No one expects to actually have to RIF people; the thought is that having the threat out there would be enough to prompt them to do what needs to be done under the law.

For my part, I’m hoping that the Uniserv has language we can use that will make everybody happy. Our current contract is completely silent on the issue; when we had our last negotiation, the rules were so nebulous that it was hard to see what was coming.

So, if you were the union muckity-muck, what would you do? Do you let the not-HQ guy take 5 other people out with him, or do you cut loose a 30-year veteran because of a hole in the law?


Blogger KauaiMark said...

30 yrs in...but still requires "Highly Qualified" paperwork?

If the guy is still an effective teacher after 30 yrs in, then requiring pointless (or is that point-plus?) tasks to satisfy some arbitrary measure of "quality" is demeaning.

Let the "work" speak for itself.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Dr. Homeslice said...

Wow. What a quandary.

I don't know about rewriting contract language-- are they thinking a MOA/MOU with the Superintendent on this issue? Can you even do that when it comes to RIFing someone?

At the same time, it's not fair that this person is going to cause a bump-around of 5 people because of their refusal to pander to the government. Heck, we're all great panderers, right?

I've got it. Are any of your union jobs full time release? You could have whatever officer you deem necessary step down and they could be elected (or have an emergency appointment) to said position. Or you could just make them your Uniserve person. (I think you know that I am being completely sarcastic in this last paragraph.)

I have no idea. Good luck, but keep us posted.

6:32 PM  
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5:17 AM  

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