Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is GTA Scripting Its Members Again?

  
From SCATS' email ~~

I heard today that the GTA inserted a list of talking points into each union members mail box. Essentially the union is scripting the members response. What to say to your neighbors, what to say to parents, what to say if you encounter the press etc. I think it would be interesting if a copy of this stuff turned up and was published. My other question is was this produced using district supplies on district time. Last time I checked the union bulletin board was the only allowable place to post union communications my source says every employee member or not got one of these flyers in their district mailbox. Thought you ought to know keep up the good work.

SCATS ~~ I presume this happened last week before school let out for break. Anyone care to share a copy of this talking points memo? I'm sure GTA's reps would never ever use school materials or time to conduct union business ;)

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

"was this produced using district supplies on district time"

We already know about what time was used. Taxpayers have been flipping that bill right along.

SCATS said...

To 5:13AM ~~ It is possible that some time was used at each building by the building reps, yes. It's my understanding that the actual memo originated via NYSUT.

Anonymous said...

It is awfully hypocritical to complain about district time. Do you complain when teachers take work home and use personal time to plan lessons or grade papers? Of course not. Every professional takes care of personal business from time to time at work, but they also go above and beyond to complete their work duties when needed.
Now if you want to argue that unions block progress and the necessary changes that we must make to our education system, I completely agree, but don't complain about petty little things such as distributing a union newsletter. By complaining about the mundane and petty things you lessen your argument for the really important topics.

SCATS said...

To 10:41AM ~~ Perhaps you have no idea how people in the real world accomplish their work based on your muddled idea that union tasks are the same thing as conducting "personal business." Attempting to toss union work into the same barrel as making a doctor's appt. is exactly the type of crapple outsiders have come to expect within GCSD.

By the way, taking home papers to grade, etc. is PART OF THE JOB of a teacher, not some "extra" tossed in on unsuspecting teachers. That's why they a 12 month salary for 10 months (or less) of work ;)

Anonymous said...

"Now if you want to argue that unions block progress and the necessary changes that we must make to our education system"

Did scats say that? If so I don't agree with either of you.
Unions act to ensure job security for members and benefits and wages and pensions and working conditions. They work to make contracts that benefit their members. Members might, as teachers, have a personal code of ethics that strives to educate , but not as union members. If it is in the best interest of auto workers for people to buy American cars they will behave in a way that encourages that. But what incentive does the union have to improve education?
If there is an impediment to progress and improvement in education it is the teachers themselves that are not competent in their own discipline and just not too smart. We need more people as teachers that are very qualified in the subject they teach be it English Literature or Mathematics or Science. After they get that degree then they should take further courses in pedagogy and psychology and then do some practice teaching.
They send most teachers at the secondary level into the schools without any practice in how to make another person learn. Two sessions of student teaching are not enough. And the few undergrad courses in adolescent psych and "watch out for aids" do not make a qualified instructor.
And those few hours of courses that they require after they are hired only upset the students further having to deal with substitutes.
Teachers should be fully qualified to teach before they step into the classroom.
Try this. Ask any elementary teacher what would be the hypotenuse of a triangle that has 2 sides of 3 feet. I bet you would have to ask at least 5 before one would give you the answer.
Also ask what is the difference between mitosis and meiosis.
Then ask any of them what is the reason why "She gave him and I the gift" is incorrect. We all know that it should be "him and me" but why?
Yes we all could look this up on google, but this is information that a minimally educated high school graduate should know off the top of her head, let alone a college graduate with a masters degree that is responsible for teaching the young.

SCATS said...

To 2:14PM ~~ No, I don'r think I ever made that statement.

Anonymous said...

Dare I say that a lot of the Administrations are blocking so much change. I know for a fact that when teachers tell administrators that things need to change because some things are not in compliance or are illegal they are punished or are labeled a bad teacher and are harassed and punished.

Anonymous said...

While I think that it is a good idea for the NYS unions to look a concessions because of the economy, the unions have good reason to believe that concessions will not solve the problem.

From the Feb 23 New York Times:

http://tinyurl.com/4ckkvsh

Anonymous said...

What a great link! I believe that the Unions won't fix the problem with the State. Why aren't we looking at the tax breaks that the wealthiest section of NY are getting?

Anonymous said...

I've had three conversations with teachers in the last two months. I assure you they do need a script because these three definitely did not have any coherent message.

Charlie Hubbard said...

I have always said we should not blame the union for the do-nothing, worthless, give-away contracts our district operates under as they are approved by the school board. It is the school board who has the final say.

The latest fiasco in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana has shed new light on teachers unions.
Through the encouragement of the teachers unions we have teachers calling in sick (lying) and openly getting bogus medical slips (cheating so they get paid) all so they can go to the 'entitlement parade'
This sheds a whole new light on the integrity level of the unions and thousands of their members. To he## with the kids, close the schools, the entitlement parade is more important.

I have had the pleasure of knowing LOTS of teachers over the years - good people - impeckable character and I truly feel sorry for them that they have no choice but to be a part of this union that has lost their way. As the saying goes - too big for their britches.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher in Greece and completely agree that the union has lost its way. Many of the things that the union fights for I do not agree with. There are many teachers who are complacent in their jobs because they know the district will not go through the effort to get rid of them. But until the State figures out how they are going to effectively evaluate teachers I do not see the union budging on seniority based layoffs.
At the same time I do not agree that I should agree to a salary freeze or other concessions yet. The district waste’s too much money on things that have zero educational benefit (school of choice, they need to close a couple of schools, multiple education directors who make 6 figures but have no clue what they are doing, etc…). Should I have to take a pay cut simply because they do not know how to manage their money correctly? Now if they get their act together and there still is not enough money then I would be willing to take cuts if necessary.
Lastly, we agreed to health care concessions in our last contract approved this fall by the union but he board voted down.
The biggest problem is the pension system. We only pay into it for 10 years which is completely crazy. Yet I don’t hear a lot of complaints about police officer pensions which are even more lucrative (as they can rack up overtime to pad their pension) and they can retire way earlier than teachers.

Anonymous said...

TO 2:02
While I appreciate the work teachers do in our schools, it is foolish to think the districts finances can be fixed by ending school of choice and closing schools alone.
Simple understanding of math shows that more than 70% of the districts budget is made up of salaries and benefits. Without serious concessions on the labor side, no amount of savings from SOC closing will matter.
There is a $7 million structural deficit in Greece CSD, almost exclusively from year over year increases in salaries and benefits.
Exactly how is a $1 million dollar savings from SOC going to fix that?

SCATS said...

To 4:25PM ~~ I don't know how you came to believe that a $1 million saving would be had by CLOSING schools-of-choice, but you are ill-informed. The $1 million in savings would be realized under the proposals made by O'Rourke during the Feb. BOE meeting. You're correct that over 70% of the budget is comprised of salaries & benefits. If we were to close 3 buildings by eliminating schools-of-choice we would be saving on utilities, buildings & grounds upkeep, janitorial & cafeteria services, reducing administrators (fewer principals, VPs), reducing teaching staff as we absorb students into existing classrooms (but not by 3 buildings worth of course), reducing the number of counselors, psychologists, etc. in addition to that $1 million savings. And those savings are before consideration of selling the properties is figured into the equation.

Your other statements are basically on point.

Anonymous said...

And when we sell the properties they will be taxed probably at a multiple family apartments or commercial rate. Excellent!

SCATS said...

To 6:01PM ~~ That would be good news for all.

Anonymous said...

Simply- not true...

SCATS said...

To 8:21PM ~~ WHAT isn't true?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I should get upset or merely annoyed that some bloggers feel we can solve the problems by increasing the taxes on the "rich". Even at the same rate of taxes, the "rich" will pay more dollars in taxes because they EARN more. Why is raising the rate of taxation even higher "fair"? And how is it sustainable to increase taxes until everyone who falls into this category flees the state? Better to learn to live on a reasonable income an, define our expectations in terms of what can be supported. In the era of shrinking profits, industry and business have demanded that employees contribute more to their retirements and health benefits. Why do we believe that keeping these generous benefit packages are the right thing to do?

Anonymous said...

Charlie, the BOE has the final say? Then explain to me why we have yet to have a contract that meets the needs of taxpayers? Why did the changes not occur when you were on the BOE? I ma not attacking. If it is as simple as you suggest that the BOE has the final say, how does the BOE make the union concede to the demands of the district? Given there is no contract now...they still get paid under the last contract so again who hold the cards?

Charlie Hubbard said...

to 1:34 (anonymous)
Let me try to answer your question this way. We are now over 4 years beyond the end of the present contract as you discribe.
Have you ever seen the following?

Column A - what is being offered by the district.
Column B - what is being asked for by the union.
The 'cost' comparison of A vs B

The educational benefits of A vs B attached as recommended by the Comptrollers Audit 2008.

Ever seen any of these? Of course not. Why - you tell me? Do you think it might be beneficial for the community to see the positions of each party and the COST of each item.
Can it be done? Darn right it can.

2 more items - don't ever forget to look at item 17 of the Comptrollers Audit that has YET to be honored by the board.
#2 Lots of whinning about the Tribourgh and Taylor law aka state mandates. Ever seen a cost sheet for any of these mandates?
Ever seen a copy of correspondence from the board to our elected state officials outlining the effects of ANY of these state mandates? Go ahead ask to see them - as of last year none existed.
Keep in mind until 2006 contracts were approved by the board with NO idea what the cost was.

Anonymous said...

The last tentative contract for GTA that was presented to the board was rejected by the board. So the board does have the final say. Our present board is stuck with the hung over contract that keeps the same benefits and increases the teachers salary when they move up a step.

Anonymous said...

So if the BOE has the say then why not cut salaries, increase benefit costs, and change how many hours a teacher must be in a class teaching, ie lengthen the school day! If they have the say then why has not one board done it?
And yes I am anonymous also.

Anonymous said...

10:48 Because those items are already spoken for and about in the present teachers contract. In these United States we can't just stop honoring a contract when we feel like it. And the contract goes on in perpetuity until a successor is agreed upon. But the board gets to approve or not approve a tentative contract as well as the teachers union members.

SCATS said...

To 5:15PM ~~ Regarding the contract goes on in perpetuity ... or until the BOE gets the cajones to fire them all and rehire only what we really need ... like another town recently did ;)