Friday, May 14, 2004


In the wake of the notification of massive lay-offs in the Cleveland schools, it's interesting to note what you don't see on the evening news.

Your union representatives

Amazing, isn't it - how they will take credit for everything that happens when the news is good, but can't be found when the news is bad.

Here's what the new president, Joanne Demarco, has to say about the situation:

What is the CTU doing in this situation? The union and district are talking, communicating, cooperating and collaborating. In addition, the current leadership at the district has never dealt with lay-offs of the current magnitude. The CTU is taking the lead to make sure they are done fairly, correctly and within the parameters of the agreement.

As annoying as the oversized blue missives from (former) El Presidente were, particularly when they ranged into political and social commentary, at least they attempted to keep the membership informed.

"Within the parameters of the agreement" - unfortunately, that agreement favors the most senior members of the CTU over the newer members. Every contract over the last 20 years has settled for a set percentage of salary. That leads to a greater and greater gap between the newbies and the vets. A measly 3 % of starting pay is a WHOLE lot less than 3% of the top pay. How about going for a straight dollar amount raise for ALL teachers, regardless of step on the scale?

And don't let me get started on the constant jockeying for a buy-out.

If you want to retire, go.

Don't ask the district to finance your last few years at the expense of the younger crowd.

Furthermore, straight seniority in lay-offs may not be the best option for future contracts. The most junior members of the teaching staff are often VERY qualified, most having a master's degree or near equivalent, and having passed rigorous tests of their knowledge via the Praxis. They are also right up to speed on technology. It would be a shame to lose them to other systems, while some of the more senior staff are content to coast their way to retirement.