Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: No gain from Tacoma teacher strike

Letter by Donald J. Fritz, Tacoma on Sep. 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm with 11 Comments »
September 18, 2012 5:00 pm

Re: “School strikes of choice – in Chicago and Tacoma” (editorial, 9-18).

The editorial highlights similarities between the Chicago teacher strike and the strike experienced by Tacoma last year, but there is one notable difference: Chicago is seeking improvement in education standards, whereas Tacoma’s school district sought no quid pro quo from teachers for higher pay.

If we (taxpayer/parents) are to pay teachers well, then we should expect a willingness on their part to work more than 180 days a year and/or longer hours, if that is necessary in order to ensure that “no child is left behind.”

Charter schools have no “magic elixir” to achieve the higher standards that most of them do. Rather, school principals and teachers simply commit themselves to working as hard as necessary to achieve success for all of their charges.

Yes, as one News Tribune letter writer noted earlier this year, some charter school teacher “burnout” can occur, and teacher turnover is higher than in most more relaxed schools. An accommodation needs to be reached between school reformers and teacher unions to ensure that student needs can be fully met, while teachers themselves are enabled to achieve long, fulfilling careers.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. truthbusterguy says:

    Only in Chicago and Tacoma can the well paid teachers think they’re not getting enough of the struggling taxpayer’s money while the state drowns in unsustainable, unfunded pension liabilities. But what do they care about? It’s all about them.

    What a joke these people are.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqUWCZ0B18E&feature=relmfu

    Remember this the next time you vote for a levy. Stop being foolish and enabling a broken system.

  2. LeePHilI says:

    I guess all of the teachers that accepted the pensions in lieu of wages should just accept that the school districts and municipalities have stiffed them and they can retire on nothing.

    Seems fair.

  3. bobcat1a says:

    Yep, cut the pay and benefits and you will surely get better quality teaching; and if you wish real hard with your hand out, gold coins will materialize. It’s truly amazing that citizens will pay ever higher prices to see mediocre athletes perform but balk at paying for quality teachers of their children.

  4. scooter6139 says:

    Donald, I’m sorry but what pay raise did Tacoma teachers get from the strike?

    Also, go find just one teacher that only works the required hours. Just one. Doesn’t come in early or stay after nor come in on the weekends or during breaks or the summer. Just one.

  5. tacomanorske says:

    Yes Donald, please cite your source about pay raise that teachers recieved in their last contract. and also cite the source that says the Tacoma chool district asked nothing in return from the teachers for those pay raises.

  6. Frankenchrist says:

    Teachers. It’s not Mitt Romney’s job to worry about those people.

  7. sandblower says:

    Ridiculous letter.

  8. All the money we have thrown at education has done nothing.

    Pay them less, bring the teacher (and admin) student ratio back to where it was 30 years, and hold parents accountable (yes, easier said then done).

    The Chicago strike should embarrass union supporters around the Nation. Incredibly selfish. Typical Chicago.

  9. Fibonacci says:

    CT8
    Clueless as usual. Do you want YOUR kid in classes over 30–which most are at this point. And who do you think you will get to teach our kids if you pay them even less than now? You get what you play for.

  10. BigSwingingRichard says:

    If the Tacoma teachers did not gain anything from the strike, as this writer seems to suggest, I would point out that the teachers sure seemed to have a good time during the strike.

    I personally witnessed teachers dancing in front of Central School to music provided by the Stadium High School band members. I saw teachers laughing, eating pizza, waving signs and having fun.

    Not going to work and still knowing you are going to get paid can be great fun.

    Once the strike was over the teachers were mad that there might be a chance their pay could be delayed and they complained until all pay checks arrived on time, even during a strike.

    There’s no fun like the fun of not working and still getting paid.

    One thing the strike did accomplish: It continued lower the public’s respect for the teaching profession.

  11. Fib, since I happen to be related to a few good teachers, I can vouch for what scooter says @ 10:31. Work days for them average 10 hours from mid-August through the wind-down days in late May – not because it’s required, but rather because they care, as do many of their fellow teachers.

    At the same time they also readily admit that, with all of the extra hours involved, their roughly 75 week days off is more than adequate compensation considering much of those extra hours they put in are actually spent at home. In fact, my sister estimates yearly vacation days for her average around 50 days – after deducting all average hours worked from her total “vacation” and “leave” days. Now considering that authorized extra hours for a salaried employee in the private sector would require compensation equal to 1 1/2 times their pay, I really don’t see where this should be a big gripe against those teachers who, like her, consistently go the extra mile.

    But even the teachers I know openly bemoan the fact that their level of professionalism and devotion to their job is not exactly the “norm”. Just like any private sector job, there are those workers who excel, and those who are simply taking up space – drawing a paycheck, if you will. The difference is those types can be easily dispensed of in private sector, non-tenured, non-union employment environments. Not so in the world of the WEA. This is very frustrating to them. And the net result, in many cases, is that they must work harder to pick up the slack.

    But the whole idea of class size has been the clarion call of the WEA and school districts each and every time they attempt to seek more money from taxpayers. The fact is, class sizes today are nowhere near “30”. But they certainly were very near that total 40 years ago. I know, I shared a locker with two other kids at Wilson, and I can’t recall a single class I attended there that had less than 25 kids in it.

    So I have two questions for you:
    1) If class size is such a detriment to the quality of education, why where graduation rates so much higher 40 years ago, and
    2) If more money is the answer to class size, why is question # 1 true even though Tacoma high schools now average under 20 pupils per class?

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