Tuesday, May 8, 2007


May 8th Board Meeting

In no particular order:

Live with the superintendent's plan for this year and we will find some way to fix it next year.
Oh, really?

We were given NO other option to address this problem. This was the only plan presented.
Oh, really?

The teachers will bear the full financial sacrifice of funding this program. There is no option for EVERYONE ( like in every employee) to take a cut in order to make this work.
Oh, really?

Some student clubs, programs, and activities will not be available next year.
Oh, really?

It's all the voters fault for making the state do this. We have no other option.
Oh, really?

The superintendent LEFT while her employees spoke - probably to check in with absentee Candy.
Oh, really?

April Griffin was the only board member with enough courage to state her opinion AND position.
Oh, really?

We don't have to try and get things (like stadium lighting) cheaper because we have bid process in place. See these spartan charts?

I haven't heard a peep from board member Kurdell about the superintendent's plan.
Oh, really.

No board member would actually accept (touch?) a notebook of data presented by a teacher (leper). Oh, really?

Students addressed the board in a heartfelt manner as mature young adults and effectively left the superintendent with egg on her face.
Oh, really?

October 2007: ground zero for teacher burnout.
Oh, really?

We need a lawyer with chutzpah and the desire to be elected a judge to file a class action suit followed by a court injunction stopping this train in its tracks.

We need teachers to quit CTA and embrace the Teamsters.

We need to vote "NO" on the contract, send this to arbitration, show up for school and teach 5 classes - creatively mind you.

We need to be ready when the FCAT scores tank because we will be blamed.

We need to include the time of our conference period on all parental correspondence so they know that's the time we are able to return phone calls. Oh, don't forget Mrs. Falerio's suggestion and prioritize all your tasks during that time.

We need to pay close attention to the shenanigan's during the meeting/workshop at the end of June. My intuition is not good on that one.

We will stay focused - oh, really, really focused.


Anonymous said...

Haha! I'm the leper! After the meeting several school board members showed genuine interest in the binder. I'll be interested to see if Lamb, Kurdell, Edgecomb, Olsen and Elia even touch it. Apparently I have cooties :-)I should have known... my students have been telling me that for years!

Anonymous said...

For the gentleman who rudely interupted last nights meeting...again...please stop! You are making us all look like a$$es. If you can't attend the meeting as a professional please don't attend at all.

Anonymous said...

Cootie girl: THANK YOU!

Rudie boy: PLEASE confront the board member in person rather than shout out. You will find much more satisfaction when they can respond free of the TV.

The principals at Freedom, Gaither, Leto, Alonso and King must be pretty secure in their professional abilities to manage their faculty without intimidation or threats.

Anonymous said...


Excuse me. Are you addressing me? I am certainly no gentleman if I rudely interrupt school board meetings. Assuming you have mistaken me for a gentle man, I think it safe to say I am he who held Faliero accountable for her belittlement last night. As Faliero might say, "You will not understand it now but one day you will thank me for what I do for you."

The board's official business was finished for the evening. It was the time in the forum for comments. You might not find the some of the board member's patronizing lectures belittling but I do. I have attended three school board meetings in my life. If the way board members insult the intelligence of teachers is status quo then I am sorry I wasn't involved sooner. Is it any wonder teachers do not enjoy the respect they deserve when their employers think of them as big children?

If you considered yourself an ass because I chose to draw attention to the rude degrading treatment that seems standard operating procedure at board meetings, then I apologize for that. It was not my intent to embarrass teachers. I did want to shine the light back on those board members who do not seem to understand that teaching is a profession, and who persist in wanting to show the world their superiority.

Faliero was up there lecturing teachers on prioritizing their lives and accepting the inevitable as if speaking to children. If board members continue denigrating teachers then I will continue drawing attention to it. Apparently, nothing else has taught some board members that teaching deserves respect when being addressed. If naughty boys and girls is the way they think of teachers, then a naughty boy I shall be. After all, a good teacher directs instruction according to the prior knowledge of the students present.

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe we can finally have a say at the Board meetings. a candidate that ALL teachers should support.

All of us have longed to find a voice; let's rally behind this guy.

Suzie Creamcheese said...

Did anyone else bristle at the response to Board Member Griffin's question about the stadium lighting by our superintendent? Talk about an in your face "screw you!"

Mrs. C. Valdes appeared to be treading the company line very adeptly. I couldn't help but think she was assigned this unpleasant task by Mrs. Elia and told to be snotty. Unfortunately she seems to be more of a lady than that.

It was a totally defensive approach that never ADDRESSED the heart of the matter and that was "Is there any way to save the taxpayer any money". The answer was "NO, look at how we do it." Huh?, What?

"F" on the speech and presentation.

We weren't fooled Mrs. Griffin - and, I wager, neither were you.

Sisyphus - The Rock that Keeps on Rolling... said...

We had our meeting at school today with April Griffin. She stayed until well past 6 to listen to us. She is a true friend of the teachers. She genuinely apologized for this happening to us.

My take on some of the important dialogue:

We must NOT stop speaking out. The district admin. is counting on our apathy to grow over the summer. Their divide and conquer tactic may work when the contract comes out and we are out voted by elementary. We must do everything we can to show that it is not about 300 minutes, it is about 6/7. April had a great metaphor; it's like comparing men and women. There are some common needs, and there are differing needs, but there's an acceptance of "equality".

We should also document what we are doing to make it work next year, and what we must give up doing.

April understands ESE. She shadowed an ESE teacher last week at Young.

We also brought up that many schools have been telling their teachers not to go to board meetings. I was part of emails of 2 high schools that were sending representatives to speak out about ESE issues at yesterday’s board meeting. Both of these individuals were told late in the day to NOT do it by their administration.

More to come when I have time this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Told NOT to go to board meetings? Please id the schools. We need to know the principals.

We need to out them.

CTA needs to ACT!

Wouldn't that fall under our ANTI-BULLYING policy?

possum said...

I agree with Suzie about the tactics Mary Ellen was using in that little presentation on lighting jobs around the district. I wonder how long it took the Head of Facilities to put it together? Just goes to show that Mary Ellen is NOT interested in playing well with others, or maybe in keeping her job either. Reminds me of a line from Julius Caesar: "Caesar doth bestride the narrow world like a colossus." Guess that's MaryEllen's role model. But unlike Caesar--since this isn't actually ancient Rome--she DOES have bosses and she CAN get fired. Right out in public and everything. No one has to stab her in the back.

Just what kind of hubris does it take to treat one of your bosses like that ON TV????? We feel for you, April.

Suzie Creamcheese said...

It is frustrating to hear about these principals who are intimidating teachers not to attend the Board meetings. They are limiting your free movement around your country.

Why are you afraid to name these principals here on my blog? Your identity is protected - just don't do it at school.

It is critical to have first person accounts. Don't worry about any principal figuring out who "outed" them. They only pretend to be able to do that. Use "Anonymous" or "Other" - in fact type that principal's name in "other"! Face it, they have a lot more to contend with than YOUR POST!

Are you afraid that CTA won't be able to help you? THAT's revealing!

Suzie Creamcheese allows me extraordinary freedom and I pass it on to you. Everyone knows how this district seeks revenge which is why we have "The WALL".

I am still disappointed in the silence of Plant, Robinson, Blake, Durant, Jefferson, Middleton, Riverview, Newsome, and Wharton. Now, granted, I may have missed something so please call me on it and straighten me out.

Let us know you care enough about what's going on. I can accept anything but apathy from my fellow teachers.

I will be able to rationalize to myself if someone is truly fearful of their principal but consider this:

can you really be happy at a place that has so little regard for, yet such fear of your thoughts and beliefs?

Can you face your fellow teachers knowing you caved without a fight?

Can you really look at your children as they sit across from you at the dinner table and tell them to "stand up to that bully, you'll feel better."

Can you really look in the mirror next year as you fight the fatigue of the 6 of 7 schedule for a smaller paycheck?

Can you?

Please write.

Anonymous said...

Marc Hutek at Armwood has been subtly threatening and bullying teachers. He has specifically warned young teachers to avoid certain older faculty members, i.e. those who have been outspoken about the 6/7 plan. He says the lunch tables are "poioson" because of the malicious and false materials he says is spread there. He even gave a negative oral evaluation to the APC at Riverview about a teacher who was interviewing there for a job, calling her "high maintenance" and "uncooperative." By the way, Riverview hired her anyway, so kudos to that APC. He has mentioned teachers who he considers unprofessional BY NAME during the spring evaluations of other teachers. I can't think of anything more UNPROFESSIONAL than that. He wrote a tacher appreciation letter to the staff thanking us for our "loyalty" to HIM and follows it up with a threat that we'd better be standing at our doors during passing because if something happens out there, we could be held legally liable!!! (BTW -- is that true?) He's a pure joke to a majority of the staff, but since he can make life miserable, we play the game enough to get by. We hope to outlast him since he's upwardly mobile, but it isn't easy. We've lost at least 4 excellent teachers to other schools so far.

Anonymous said...

The teacher who received the negative comments from Hutek had committed the unforgiveable act of writing to the governor about the 6/7 plan. It was kicked back to the district and she was called on the carpet for writing it. The principal claimed that it was because she had some errors like calling it "300 hours" instead of "300 minutes. That letter is what made her "uncooperative."

Anonymous said...

The teachers who were bullied into not speaking at the board meeting last week, were from PCHS and Durant. I came from the Area Director and filtered to the principal, then the teachers. I thanked my AP today for respecting my 1st amendment rights. But, I'm still signing this anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered a breakaway bargaining unit for Secondary Teachers only?

Based on what I have read it appears that (1) CTA is so heavily dominated by Elementary teachers that Secondary teachers cannot stop ratification of anything (2) negotiations appear to be strongly tilted toward what's best for Elementary teachers and the things that Secondary teachers need are left off the table, i.e. t-payroll, loss of accumulated comp time because of unit loss transfers, I could go on and on.

There are more than 800 advertised instructional positions open for next year. More than 500 are Elementary openings. Here's the breakdown of teachers in the pool and vacancies posted (as of May 8):
# Elem: 223
# Elem openings: 539
# Elem that must be assigned to Middle or High School: 0

# Mid: 220
# Mid openings: 167
# Mid that must be assigned to Elem openings: 53

# High: 259
# High openings: 138
# High that must be assigned to Elem openings: 121

# Elem openings that won't be filled via the pool: 142

I don't know if Secondary teachers should be a separate bargaining unit, but I think it's time to at least think about it. I think it's time that we look at the contract critically and identify the areas that are worded poorly or are heavily favored toward Elementary at the expense of Secondary teachers. We should begin with how escorting students to and from classes is included in the Elementary teachers' teaching minutes total (rightfully so, I might add), but homeroom and hall monitoring during passing time is not included in the Secondary teachers' teaching minutes.

The definition of teaching time, or lack thereof, is just one example how CTA has not bargained collectively for the good of all teachers.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone contacted CTA about the 6/7 plan? Any response?

Sisyphus - The Rock that Keeps on Rolling... said...

CTA has been contacted by me, nearly weekly. Add in the others, my guess is 10-20 a day.

CTA is screwing us, and it is no fun. I remained a CTA member this year, for the bi@#hing rights. No more. My $600 will go to the Teamsters.