Saturday, April 21, 2007



-Saturday's editorial 4/21/2007

Its hard to get angry at a piece grounded in such a total lack of understanding in what we do everyday of the school year. The Superintendent's influence with gal-pal Rosemary Goudreau is obvious. For those of you wanting to rail, save your energy and a copy of the editorial. Read it when you need to boost your spirits. Make a copy of it and post it in your T.P.A. Post it on both sides of the single restroom door so that as the line forms to relieve yourself you can remember how clueless a paper can be.

Note how an effort to focus the argument on block vs. traditional scheduling is made instead of the cut in programs, jobs, and services. How does one ignore the fact that a teacher from an unrelated discipline will be thrust into an English, Math, or Reading class. No offense but I would be hard pressed to go from teaching a Social Studies class into an Algebra class AND feel like I was being effective. The word "alignment" is so non-descript and non-threatening it just reminds you that you need to call your car dealership and have your front-end checked.

Note how an effort to focus the argument on putting us "on par with elementary school teachers" is made. No mention of the smaller classes that elementary teach or the stress involved when a 200 pound athlete tells you to "F*** OFF! B****" or a fight breaks out and you're expected to "manage the situation" until help arrives.

Note how an effort to focus the argument and demean the incentive you receive for teaching the other class is worded. The district initially recognized that teaching 6 out of 7 periods a day was asking a lot of an individual and initiated the "extra pay for extra work" program. Did the paper even interview a teacher on t-payroll?

Note how an effort to focus the argument on "bare minimum". Cheap shot. Rather than exploring how this will ACTUALLY affect the instructor's day to day life. Never considering that the daily 50 minutes allotted to teachers will, BY DESIGN, be all that can be reasonably expected. Will the district add more phones and phone lines to every school to handle the load? Will the district offer teachers cell phones for the purpose of parental communication. Will the public accept "busy signals" when calling the high school or understand when the teacher says "I'm sorry, I just didn't have time to _________________."

Note how THEY GOT IT WRONG about Plant and Hillsborough teachers ALREADY teaching 6 out of 7 "and still manage to do their jobs well". It makes it seem like all teachers are teaching 6 out of 7 doesn't it? An old "tip of the hat" to the South Tampa power base. We can't anger our neighbors. Besides who's going to question? Doesn't it sound like Plant is going to "roll over" and say nothing about losing the added pay they earn and still teach the same number of periods? Hey if the Board thinks the football team was tough....

Note how they gloss over the $28 million dollar savings and apply it to teacher raises. Come on Mrs. Elia how much am I really going to get? (silence) That will really endear the public to us (sarcasm alert!). They never looked around and thought of asking whether or not MORE time for teacher tasks would be better? Classes capped at 25? My schedule says 27! Class size amendment was 25 wasn't it? Guess they didn't have time for research.

Note how an effort to minimize the C.T.A.'s collective bargaining role is applied through innuendo: "Makes you wonder who's minding the store?"

Note how they never examined how this would effect the students. Club and class sponsorship, chaperoning, field trips, banquets and things that students and parents have come to take for granted are in jeopardy. Teacher duties that affect every student's security are in jeopardy.

Note how an effort to belittle the predictions of what we know, in some instances, will occur is labelled as "childish foot-stomping". I can't help but think the paper would label Paul Revere's ride as "an attention-getting disruption to our neighborhood".

So once again think of the Trib as one of those students we keep trying to reach. One of those kids who have fallen under the influence of their peers. One of those kids who just may not have the fire power to get it. One of those kids we hold out hope for.

One of those kids we pity.

Damn It! It Wasn't Yet Time For Another Commentary, Then This Comes Along
One More Time
Lee Drury De Cesare's Posts
Three-Card Monte: Who's The Joker?
Who Is Suzie Creamcheese?


Anonymous said...

Everybody should show support and "ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES to ROLL BACK THE CHANGES"

Goader said...

I see once again that we are on the same page. I invite your readers, after perusing The Wall to check out commentary on eskay espresso about this very editorial in today's newspaper—The Tampa Tribune, of course.

Dixi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dixi said...

The Trib's lack of insight is infuriating. Goader -- I hope you send your commentary to the trib. I will write a letter to the editor as soon as I can. Right now, however, I am getting ready to go chaperone Grad Bash for about 13 hours.

Goader said...

I am happy to oblige by linking to the commentary that got shoved out of top billing by the obviously propaganda-tainted editorial in today's Tribune. I think this is the one to which you refer: "One More Time."

Sisyphus said...

What to wear next Tuesday....

I am not sure if only knee high waders will be needed, or do I need the over the waist with suspenders type for the BS from the board and district administration which will surely flood the area.

I heard today on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" (NPR) that scientists in Iceland are considering dumping human waste into volcanic vents. Scientists believe that it would be a safe thing to do, and there would be no real danger of S*#% flying. Too bad we do not live in a volcanically active zone.

Sisyphus said...

My response to the Trib:

As soon as I am done here, I am canceling by Trib subscription I've had for over 20 years.

Your editorial about high school teachers’ schedules indicates that you have not listened to some of the logic behind our complaints. We are not whining about making our work days equitable.

The teachers’ hours and the students’ hours are not the same at the different levels. We all work 7 hours and 40 minutes. Student hours are VASTLY different. High school students are in CLASSES nearly as long as teachers' hours. Students can be on campus from 6:55 until 3:15; 8 hours and 20 minutes.

You should be doing an investigative report on how this plan was first to save us 28 million dollars to meet class size reductions, in order for us to not hire many, many, additional teachers, and now it is about saving the district money. 702 teachers are in the pool compared to 373 last year. The district continues to ignore studies from the Florida and US Departments of Education on teacher retention and attrition, and the suggestions to school districts to improve those efforts. We are doing everything that increases theses rates. I can provide internet links to those studies upon request.

AND why are we sending administrators out of state to recruit teachers?

Answers to the Student Forum Questions

Held on
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
3 p.m.
We are also utilizing our teacher recruitment office to the fullest extent possible by sending administrators and teachers to visit numerous states to recruit “highly qualified” teachers for Hillsborough County. (Daniel Valdez, Deputy Superintendent, Human Resources)

Sisyphus said...

Feel free to use my message to cancel your subscription:

Please cancel my subscription of 20+ years. Your editorial staff does not seek, nor listen to facts. The editorial today about SDHC teachers was ABSOLUTELY insulting. As an educator for over 30 years, I am most angry that this press listens only to the government entity (SDHC and board). If you want some facts from someone not in this corrupt bureaucracy, please contact me. If the Trib really wanted to do a public service, send your investigative reporters out for this story. There’s probably a Pulitzer Prize in the end.

Gayle Curtiss

cable guy said...

We are seeing why the newspapers are being referred to as the dinosaur media. Layoffs, shrinking pages, local atrophying coverage and a general disconnect from the readership are driving subscribers away.

Personally, I cycle myself to the local newspaper box on Saturday and Sunday. Its worth the buck and a quarter to force myself to exercise and find out what concerts are coming up, what Geoge Will has to say, and get Joe Brown's take on things.

Since being eyewitness to many things I later read in the paper I just don't trust the editors to let all the facts in. Everything is filtered through an agenda that doesn't include our best interest.

Goader said...

Who is Suzie Creamcheese?

Suzie Creamcheese said...

A public "Thank You" to Goader for his support, encouragement and assistance - as you can tell from my new found linking skill!

He most surely used his ESE training with me and it paid off!

His students are fortunate.

Anonymous said...

My letter to the editor...lets see if they print it!

Lets look at the facts. First, due to unit loss teachers who are certified in family and consumer science, for example, will be forced to change schools and teach math, science, english, or history. This is a violation of No Child Left Behind as these teachers will not be considered "highly qualified". Parents, do you want a non-qualified teacher teaching your child the fundamentals? Second, what the Tampa Tribune has come to "expect" from teachers is not required by our contract. Sponsoring clubs, chaperoning events and tutoring after school are time consuming and no longer feasible with our new schedules. Third, in the "real world" employees who are treated like SDHC teachers would strike! Finally, teachers serve as a role model by showing their students the value and importance of standing up for what they believe in and how to exercise their first amendment rights.

Anonymous said...

I just want to post an important reminder. When we attend the school board meetings or write letters to the editor its important that we do not pit ourselves against the elementary school teachers. Elia is working very hard to start a war between elementary and high school teachers to distract the public from the true problem. We must not give her this war. Our responses should be, yes elementary school teachers have been teaching up to 300 mins for many years. They have a difficult job and we salute them for their hard work and dedication. However, due to the uniqueness of teaching high school 300 mins it not feasible for secondary education due to the large number of students assigned to each teacher (150 vs. 25)and the intensive grading and lesson planning associated with secondary education. Or something to that effect.

Carla Crabapple

Suzie Creamcheese said...

PLEASE heed Carla's suggestion.

We are all in this together and fighting amongst ourselves is a tragic waste of energy.

Remember who THE REAL CULPRIT is.

Tuesday approaches.

Roll Up Your Sleeves!

Sisyphus said...

You are right, Carla! I left out the differences in the number of students HS teachers have vs ElEd teachers, and only focused on the differences in STUDENT hours. We need to not divide ourselves. CTA is really pulling a fast one on us again. Did you see the Times article Saturday? Yvonne Lyons is quoted as saying she has not heard any teacher rumbling!

Dixi said...

Link to St. Pete Times article in which Lyons blantantly lies about teachers feelings about the issue of so many teachers forced into the pool.

This should serve as further motivation to attend next board meeting.

Anonymous said...

Just goes to show how few members there are.

Members? We need to call CTA and let her hear the grumble.

Anonymous said...

Leader Without a Clue

Sisyphus said...

I cannot believe that Yvonne Lyons is lying! I have been ranting with her(and Jean)for months. It's not a rumble, but a ROAR!

What to do next with CTA - they are OUR BARGAINING agent.... Should we call in a national union such as AFL-CIO?

Goader said...

Leader Without a Clue

Anonymous said...

High School Teachers,
I am carrying a sign on Tuesday. I do it because downsizing us to save 28 million is wrong. I do it because our district has pushed the educational "nuclear option button" without even looking at alternatives to save or raise money. I do it because the superintendent continues to mislead the public over the 300 minute clause. I do it because teacher retention will suffer. I do it because educators should not be treated like 1890s assembly-line workers. I do it for those who can't do any more than they already do. I do it for those sponsors and coaches who may have to give up those responsibilities. I do it for those teachers who were victims of unit losses. I do it because up to this year our leadership knew 6 classes was too much. I do it because teachers opposing the district plan are likely to be the teachers who make things go at their respective schools. I do it because we deserve a School Board that leads, not one that allows itself to be misled. I do it because we can't speak to our School Board until the meeting is over. I do it because we are ignored. I do it because they make it near impossible for us to be heard and then chastise us for how a few of us do it. I do it because the Board Chairman just did something seriously wrong and will probably go unpunished. I do it because a teacher can get into trouble anytime a parent complains, even if the parent is proven wrong. I do it because the superintendent just got a $50,000 raise due to our work while most of us don't make $50,000. I do it because some of our principals treat us with contempt. I do it because the Tampa Tribune has run two anti-teacher editorials that purposely mislead the public and smack of yellow journalism. I do it for those non-tenured teachers who can't due to fear of repurcussions. I do it because this year we finally realize that we have more integrity and ethics than our leadership has shown, and that we care more about our profession and the kids. I am carrying a sign on Tuesday.

A High School Teacher

Dixi said...

Here, Here my Friend...I will be there for all those reasons too.

Anonymous said...

There will be a news story tomorrow morning at 6 am on bay news 9 regarding our rally tomorrow. They will be showing the story every 45 mins or so!

Goader said...

That's too cool for school.