After seeing how hard the SEA and our local employees fought for improvements all summer long, and now seeing that changes still haven't been made by the time school is starting, I feel inspired to voice my concerns as well.
I've served in a variety of positions as an educator for over 15 years: Express activity leader, substitute, classroom teacher, coach, mentor teacher for arts programs, college instructor...I feel blessed to have experienced education from many different angles and to have worked alongside some wonderful people. None of these jobs are easy. All of them require more hours than what people assume. One particular position I held was only paid for three months out of each year, and every year, I was told the pay would surely improve the following year…It was only after 8 years that I finally started getting paid for all ten months of that position. Sadly, broken promises and lack of support have become more widespread in recent years. And they seem to be perpetuated not only by the school districts themselves but also by some of the more vocal members in the community.
I recently heard someone suggest that the school districts just fire everyone and bring in "scrubs who won't strike" to finish the job. Do you really want your children's future to be in the hands of someone you'd consider a "scrub"? Another common argument is, "if you don't like the pay or the hours, get a different job." But what happens to your kids after all the best employees take that advice and leave for their different job?
The workers in our schools today care about your kids; they work hard for your kids; and they trained hard to earn the opportunity to be hired for these jobs. Just as importantly, they were hired because they were considered the best for these jobs--the best for your students. Why are so many districts and community members now willing to sacrifice that? Are people really so offended that employees are standing up for what they deserve, standing up for what YOUR CHILDREN deserve?
Instead of trying to stop the strike by insulting employees who already feel disrespected, we should be supporting their fight to improve the state of education. If you want to avoid a strike, AND bring about positive change, please help convince your districts to create better conditions for their employees and their students!