Saturday, March 24, 2007

Speaking of the union....

...I've been fighting like a maniac for some of my members, and I'm getting awfully tired.

The biggest thing on my mind is the non-highly qualified teacher that I've written about before. He's only qualified to teach one particular subject, but his school doesn't need him to teach that subject all day long, so we've got to find a place for him. That wouldn't bother me so much, but by *all* accounts (parents, teachers, students, and administrators) he's not a good teacher. He's biding his time until he can collet social security, which is unfair on a number of levels:

It's unfair to the students, who get saddled with a teacher whose heart is no longer in it.
It's unfair to the teachers in his building, who are saddled with higher class sizes because of his ineptitude.
It's unfair to the newer, vibrant teacher that he's likely to displace, who gets pushed out of a position that she's doing well in to make room for someone who shouldn't be in the schools any more.

The council office says we don't have a choice. It's a matter of equity, I'm told--he's put in his time and is entitled to a full contract. He can't be reduced in time, because that wouldn't be fair to him. Going after this guy because of the highly qualified language under NCLB would be wrong on numerous levels, they say.

I don't know. What I do know is that I'm working to protect a bad teacher, and that makes me sick. What I do know is that this is the sort of thing that makes us all look bad, every single one of us who believes in the union. The rights of the one member are trampling all over the rights of the students, the teachers, the district, and the taxpayers; where's the equity in that?

The uncomfortable question that's also floating around is, "Why hasn't the administration done anything about him before if he's that bad?" Well, he's a nice man. He's been here for more than 30 years. His wife is sick. And besides, it's too hard to get rid of bad teachers, they say. What if he sued? Golly ned, we couldn't have that.

And that's where we're at. Over the course of years people have chosen to do the easy thing instead of doing the right thing, and now we all get to harvest the bitter fruit that was sown.

I'll let you know how things turn out.

1 Comments:

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