Pages

March 18, 2010

Teacher pink slips have gone out: Are you concerned about favorite teachers or other school employees not having jobs next year?

The number is huge: 23,000.  That's the number of pink slips that have gone out over the past week to public school teachers and certified employees across the state, due to some pretty savage education budget cuts. Districts had until Monday to issue notices to teachers, telling them they may not have jobs next year.

But behind that number are many individuals working in public schools in Walnut Creek and surrounding communities. These are individuals who have the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of our kids. We've all had the experience of our kids dealing with the "bad" teacher. More often, we've seen what happens to our kids' confidence, learning, and enthusiasm for learning when they have a good teacher.

I've been hearing some pretty sad stories over the past few days. There is the husband and wife, who had some 10 years' or more teaching experience between them, who lost their jobs last year in one East Bay district. They relocated this school year to another district. But because they didn't have any kind of seniority with their new employer, they're going through the pink slip blues for a second year in a row.  They have two young kids.

I also heard about a popular shop teacher at a local high school who just received his pink slip. Sure, we live in an era that stresses high GPAs and SAT scores, especially in some of our more high-achieving school communities. I can see people making the argument that in tight budget times electives like shop should be low on the priority list. Better that shop classes get cut instead of AP math, right?

Not so fast. 

The thing is, not all kids are Ivy League-bound or fit that super-achiever mold. Some kids have other talents. The sort of technical education that kids learn in shop can be very useful in life and in the ability to get out and earn a good leaving--and to be a productive member of our community. I've also heard that this particular teacher was very good at working with those kids who didn't feel like they quite fit in. His class was giving these kids good reason to stay in school, feel good about themselves, and accomplish things.

I'm sure you've heard some bad news about a favorite teacher who may not have a job next year--and you're not happy about it.

Feel free to share, but don't post the teacher's name, or mention anything that would too easily identify them, as I understand not all teachers want this news broadcast. On the other hand, if the news is general knowledge ... Use your best judgment. Also fee free to privately e-mail me the name and school of the teacher.  I could follow up and see if that teacher would be interesting in sharing his or her story with Crazy readers.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are any of our children going to want to be teachers when they grow up? It's the enthusiastic, young teachers that kids take as role models. Year after year our kids form attachments to these wonderful young teachers only to see them brutally axed come March.

We're destroying our future on so many levels. My son suffered through this madness in forth and fifth grade. Now he tells me that his favorite teacher at middle school has been pink-slipped.

Deborah said...

I'd worry about the teachers except I'm too busy worrying about how my husband and I don't have jobs either.

Anonymous said...

During the Great Depression, most people worried about their neighbors and shared what they could.

Let's do it again. I don't have any income but I still worry about teachers that may end up in the same place. Makes sense to me.

It's OK to complain but try also to help creatively. Perhaps that does not require a monetary contribution but one of volunteering physically and/or intellectually.

Anonymous said...

Hey the teachers made their bed with the criminally corrupt teachers union and now they have to lie in it.

I don't feel sorry one bit.

Deborah said...

Who said we don't volunteer? And the real point goes far beyond any individual's job. The point is why does the government have billions to bail out banks and not our public schools? Why aren't our schools "to big too fail?"

Anonymous said...

8:06, Normal people can dislike the teacher's union but still respect and care for the teachers who bust their asses for our kids.

Anonymous said...

Hi Deborah,
Thank you for volunteering. Very sorry if you thought I was being disrespectful; that was not intended.
Let's go back to thinking globally but acting locally.
What we do as individuals accumulates to solve problems. So, what you do as a volunteer to solve problems is part of the solution. The higher-level mistakes are sometimes wiped away as we did with blackboard erasers in elementary school. Does anyone else remember that activity?
Anon 7:05

DodgerDog said...

Anon 8:06pm: The teachers don't get a choice- they are forced into bed with the union, by the union. There are many, many teachers that dislike the union as much as you do.

Anon 5:21pm: Even before the pink slips started being sent out several years ago, those "enthusiastic young teachers" you mention were not sticking around. Prior to our current economic woes, a new teacher was usually in another profession within 5 years; the job is not what they envisioned as a young idealogue in high school and college. The hours, the pay, the lack of discipline, the parents, the unions, the administration- some or all of these factors chased a majority of new teachers into another career.

Anonymous said...

Hate to burst the bubbble...

The majority of young teachers did not choose this profession, they couldn't find work in other areas or didn't know what they were going to do and always enjoyed school so they figured going back as a teacher would be the next step.

Anonymous said...

8:06 The Unions arent't the problem. If they were, then teachers would be making more money than they do. Living in CA, most teachers, especially the younger ones, can't even afford to live in the districts they work for. They can't own houses in this market. Some districts don't even pay medical. How is this any different than any other job? Teachers do not make more than the average Joe so I fail to see how unions can be the problem. Can you live on $40,000 a year in CA? in this area? and pay $600-12,000 for medical?
It's a very humble living, especially considering they not only teach the subjects to your children, they also fill the roles of guidance counselors, friends, role models, and sometimes parents all while maintaining order to a classroom full of adolescent minds. This is verses the non-union administrators/principals/superintendants who make $125,00-$250,000. Again, the unions aren't the problems, cuts need to be made from the top from the people who sit in an office all day and deal with paperwork.

DodgerDog said...

The teachers union IS part of the problem. I would suggest that the majority of public opinion right now is that the union looks out for what is best for the teachers, students be damned. Not a good way to garner support.

Why do teachers have to pay for their own medical coverage (at least in the MDUSD)? Because 10 years or so ago the union negotiated away medical coverage. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Very short-sighted. It didn't take a brain surgeon then, or now, to see that medical costs are going up much faster than the cost of living as a whole, and much faster than salaries.

Most teachers do not make $40,000 per year. After teaching for a few years, depending on the district, you are probably making in the vicinity of $50-70,000. Is that a lot? Absolutely not. Teachers deal have to deal with a lot of BS- from undisciplined children, to parents that either don't care, or can't believe their child would ever do anything wrong, or would ever NOT do their homework, etc., to budget cuts that mean they are paying for many things out of their own pocket- luxuries such as paper, pencils, kleenex, paper towels for the bathroom, etc.

And no, I'm not a teacher.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't the teachers union helping out. Can't they retire some of the teachers early and put them on that big fat pension fund they own?

Anonymous said...

It's fine to blame the Unions for the education crisis, but doing so won't keep or bring the favorite teachers to your door. There hasn't been a President that supports public schools in this country in years and the policies reflect that. You may all look forward to your school choice looking like your day-care choice. And as a parent who didn't work for a large corporation with a day care on site. We all know how lame those choices are in this country.

Anonymous said...

Teachers in my area don't make 50-70K after a few years, as one suggested. I have been teaching a core area for 18 years and just hit 50K. Also, most of the good teachers would prefer merit pay to unions; however, we our hands our forced.

One of the biggest problems with retaining good teachers is that people bash us as a group over and over. It's very demoralizing. I don't see why if we said something about all people in one race or religion it'd be scorned, but lumping us all into one lazy group of people who only go into the field because we can't get anything else is the norm.

I love the students, and I try to remember that that's the part of my job that matters, but it isn't always easy to block the rest all out.

Anonymous said...

Good for you! I am also a teacher of 14 years who has just got the ax. My students are pregnant and parenting teens who have been abandoned countless times. When do we start holding administrators and district "higher ups" accountable for THEIR salaries, and giving them pink slips!

Darlene said...

Quite useful information, much thanks for this post.