04 May 2007

Under the Bus

It's no secret that I don't support The Union in this district. I am not opposed to the idea of unions...I even think that they have their place in education. I do not, however, support the concept of a "closed shop" where people are forced to join...and even if that were not the case in Washington, I could not in good conscience belong to this district's association. They do not represent the things I value as an educator. You might imagine today that I took no small delight in throwing one of their reps under the bus in front of the very teachers she was there to support. I like this woman and I realize that she was there to fulfill an obligation, but someone has to be there to speak for kids. So under the bus she went.

Believe it or not, the Free for All that started six weeks ago didn't come to a head until today. This was not due to me not caring or being too busy to mind this issue, but rather that I didn't have any backup at the ready. Today I did. The teachers who came to chat today don't want to do the new science kit because they do a unit on salmon. It's good stuff, to be sure, but it only has a couple pieces of content---and no process, which the majority of what kids are expected to demonstrate in order to meet the standards.

The Union rep was one of the people who selected this kit for adoption. I made sure to point this out in the beginning, because I have to say that my teachers who served on the materials adoption committee have scattered like cockroaches when teachers turned on the lights of their displeasure. I have let them run, knowing that they have to get along with others in their buildings. I don't mind taking any "blame," because the bottom line is that I'm not at fault. But as long as there was the one committee rep there...and not in a position to support the choice she helped make...then perhaps I should point that out to the teachers who were upset.

The bottom line? Teachers have to teach the kit. It's possible that the pieces they've developed can be integrated, but only as supplements. The backup I had today (someone with cajones...not Boss Lady 2.0) made it clear that (a) it is expected that teachers use the district adopted materials and (b) instead of complaining all the time how they have too much to do, they now have an opportunity to let something go and should take it. I'll work with them on putting some things together, but they do not get to trade one for the other.

I couldn't be more pleased. The kids win...and the only one under the bus this time is The Union.

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