Sunday, April 15, 2007


"They're directing their anger at the school board, but members said the decision was Superintendent MaryEllen Elia's to make, and they won't try to reverse her decision this year."

"This is an administrative decision, Griffin said, but something this big needs to have consensus from the board."

"On Thursday, Elia admitted communication could have been better but said more than 100 meetings have been held to explain and address the issue."

"One issue that has received little attention is equity, Elia said. Elementary and middle school teachers already teach 300 minutes a day."

"Many of the teachers complaining are high school teachers who now receive extra pay for teaching an extra class, Elia said."

"For this year the issue is over, board members said."

"Yvonne Lyons, Executive director of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, said Thursday that teaching six of seven class periods likely is a reality for next school year because teachers are now being scheduled."

- Hillsborough Teachers Actively Fighting Added Class Time
Tampa Tribune, April 13, 2007

1) Divide the rank and file.
Turn the elementary and middle school teachers against the high school teachers under the guise of "equity".
Make them appear "whinny". Anyone with elementary, middle, and high school experience knows there is NO VALID COMPARISON among them. We choose the level we teach knowing our talents and skills - not because one is easier than the other.

Downplay the fact that the "extra" pay is an incentive to high school teachers. An incentive that saves the district money by not having to hire another employee and pay the benefit package. If the teachers did not accept the extra class the district would incur those additional costs.

2) Give the board political cover.
Easy when the defining document covering board member responsibility was authored by the Compliance Director James Hamilton. (See Lee Drury's Blog for the background on that debacle) Require any new teacher consideration to be "negotiated" rather than just do what is right. Instill a fear of "setting precedent" as a reason for not correcting a wrong. Have the board attorney support your position with his "favorable interpretation". Do not go to an outside authority in order to "save face".

Funny how the Board will tackle those thorny tardy and dress code issues but bail out of real management decisions.

3) Give CTA a shallow reason to cover their incompetence.
The district uses computer software to schedule the students. It's hard to believe that a couple of clicks and a couple of hours couldn't reschedule everyone. The teachers know that. The program is called SILK. Ask your Data Processor. CTAs glaring ignorance of technology will alienate every teacher under 30.

The scenario:

Those teachers who are nearing retirement and volunteered to teach an extra class in order to boost their Retirement Benefits will realize that they not only got a pay cut BUT are now teaching the same number of classes with no positive effect on their retirement benefits. In order to recoup some money they will resign from CTA.

Those already in DROP will give serious thought to retiring knowing the workload on the horizon may not be worth it.

High school teachers will quit CTA. Take the money formerly used for dues and put it into a SSFCU 403b. Elementary and Middle school teachers are not blind or stupid. Realizing the futility of belonging and the fact that they can be next they will quietly start to resign from CTA. At some point someone will start a petition to seek other representation. Teachers will say "Why not? What have I got to lose?" It will be close.

This will require the Board and the Superintendent to come to the aid of CTA further infuriating the rank and file. Rumors of collusion will spread. Someone will petition the Feds.

Frankly, I hope I'm wrong.

"Union representatives can direct teachers to an online survey about the issue, she (Lyons) said."
Like CTA, it is nowhere to be found. They need a SURVEY??!! PULLLEASE!!

CTA should be fighting for its life.


Ralph said...

As a 6 year veteran of SDHC in a support role who is about to earn their teaching certification, I see no value in CTA membership. I know that I will get pitched in my orientation meetings come August, but I also have no problem challenging the representatives on issues such as this one, where the CTA was not only ineffective, but could even be considered by some to be complicit with the Board in regards to its actions.

If you're looking for professional liability insurance, there are plenty of other options that are cheaper and have better coverage. As for the money spent for dues, I heartily agree - it has far more value invested in a 401k or 403b than to be sent to line the coffers of an organization that does little, if anything, to properly represent it's constituents.


Anonymous said...

You hit the relevant points nicely. We need to keep coming back to the primary issue. The other side, which seems to include CTA, will try to blur the issue and pit peer against peer. Additionally, they will continue changing the subject, talking about non-issues (i.e. hecklers), and patronizing those seeking to reverse Elia’s decision.

It seems to me only Elia along with the board (though some have wavered) want the added teaching period. Has there been even one other person who actively supports it? Is the entire public, along with teachers, against the decision? Is Elia standing against all of Tampa and Hillsborough County on this thing? How is that possible?

Is Superintendent Elia the only person in Hillsborough County who wholeheartedly supports the added teaching period?

Anonymous said...

The board reduces the limit on comments from three minutes to two minutes when ten or more people want to talk about the same topic. In order to preserve each individual’s three-minute limit, be sure to choose a specific aspect of the topic at hand. The current topic is the added teaching period. Choose a topic within the greater topic of an added teaching period to put as your topic to address the board. For example, list your topic as hallway security while students pass to their next class. List a topic of club sponsorship. Another topic could be teacher duties during the school day. When asked if your topic involves the 300-minutes rule or the added teaching period, just repeat what you listed as your topic. If someone asks you ten times, if your topic is about Elia’s decision to add a teaching period, then repeat back the topic you listed all ten times.

It might go something like this. “What is your topic?”

“I want to talk about student safety in the hallways between classes.”

“Does it have anything to do with the added teacher period?”

“It has to do with student safety in the hallways during passing between classes.”

“Right, but is it something about the added teaching period?”

“It’s about student safety in the hallways.”

“I understand what you are saying, but is the safety issue related to the added teaching period?”

“It is about the safety of students in hallways between classes.”

“Does it have anything at all to do with the added teaching period, anything at all?”

“It involves student safety.”

“Okay, we will call you when it is your turn.”

“Thank you.”

Politics: 1: the art of governing; 2: the method or tactics involved in government

Anonymous said...

I think for the next school board meeting I will use the fabulous list of contradicting quotes from the Tampa Trib and St. Pete times. We need to get numbers of those who will drop CTA. Can we start a formal letter? "If the CTA does not fight and resolve the 6/7 plan then we will drop our membership...blah blah blah" (followed by a list of those CTA members who will drop). Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered the effect this has on our military friends at MacDill? How many of us teach with family members of soldiers? How many of those fine folks are being displaced and similarly affected?

A few uniforms at the next meeting would make a statement.

Anonymous said...

A teacher from our school has expressed concern regarding how this plan will impact the districts relationship with the veterans. For example, the VA hospital has already sent the teacher a letter stating that they would not be able to participate with the Vietnam War elective due to time limitations. With so many block schedules transitioning to tradition they won't be able to make the rounds. Also, what about club involvement with the VA's (armed forces club). This will be gone next year as well! Can we get some veterans to join us?

Sisyphus said...

Can you let me have more info about what information you need from the VA? My husband is w/the spinal chord and brain injury units.

Anonymous said...

Sisyphus... email me at I can put you in contact with this teacher. This individual also publishes a book with students... an oral history of sorts with the VA's. That will be ending next year too :-(

Suzie Creamcheese said...

Check out goader's latest post. Link-worthy indeed. If I only knew how.

Anonymous said...

Judging from the time-stamp on your comment (5:35) I am assuming you are referring to what is now the second commentary from the top. Today marks eskay espresso’s 50th anniversary, so now there is a new entry all about yours truly (shameless, I know).

If I am correct that you mean this one, here is a link to it:
Shoot-from-the-Hip, No Plans Initiative

Here is the recipe for linking:
1. input the following HTML tag: < a href="" > < /a >
2. between "" input the address ex
3. between >< /a > input whatever text

Looks like this: < a href="" >This is where your text goes< /a >

Anonymous said...

Haha! Check out this article!

Cost of stationary - $1.25
Cost of secretary - $9.00 an hr.

Waste of school districts money - priceless!

coach said...

oops! Wonder if he'll throw the secretary under the bus? Or if she'll fall on the sword. A trip to Linda Kipley's Office maybe?

He has just experienced what all of us will if this 6 out of 7 goes through. CRONIC MISTAKES BROUGHT ON BY TIME-CRUNCH and the related STRESS it induces.

Thanks for the insight Jack.

Anonymous said...

A teacher from King sent this to me... I think you'll find it interesting...notice any similarities?


Anonymous said...

Lets try this again!

Anonymous said...

Friends, foes agree on Elia

Anonymous said...

Thanks Goader!!!