Monday, August 18, 2008

From a teacher's perspective . . .

This came to me today from a teacher. One who wishes to remain anonymous but is just as concerned as many of us about what the future holds. I will post it here, and invite any other teachers, parents or staff who wish to contribute, to do so here on comments, or email your letter or story and I will post it here anonymously (if you wish). Please comment. We have to rejuvenate interest now that school is upon us. What are YOU going to do this year to assure our teachers get a contract and we avert a strike? Will you be working on changing the board majority?

From my view……… a teacher’s perspective.

I have been working in my classroom the past two weeks. Like many teachers, I have been putting up bulletin boards, arranging furniture, putting together back to school packets, planning curriculum, and the list goes on and on. I have been a teacher at the elementary level for 9 years and I have children who attend these schools. I consider myself someone who wears two hats. Professionally, I am a “highly qualified” teacher. My other hat is that of a parent whose children are being educated by the Mt Diablo Unified School District team. Yes, our team starts at the district level, and then trickles its way down through many layers of administrators, then principles, then teachers, then to the students. I feel I have a unique perspective. As a fellow parent, I hope that my insight might help promote and encourage others to step forward and voice the need for change immediately!

Parents, we should be outraged that our elected school board has let one of the largest school districts in California fall to dead last in teacher salaries. Ultimately the school board was elected to oversee the superintendent, whose job it is to maintain a fiscally responsible district. It has been proven time and again in board meetings that our district is in a financial mess. The state budget crisis plays some roll, but this has been brewing for years.

Even if the medical benefits were up to par and offered by the district, our salary schedule is now far below the low average in 14 other areas school districts. For this reason, highly qualified teachers have left. It is outrageous that we have lost most if not all of our best and brightest math and science teachers. It takes a specially trained and dedicated teacher to reach and teach students in these fields. Our teachers are being drafted away for better pay, benefits and even signing bonuses. The district would never admit this but if you talk personally with these teachers, this is what they are saying.

Our current school board is a dysfunctional mess. Gary Eberhart and Paul Strange have stepped up and are trying to turn the district in the right direction. I want the public to call on Linda Mayo, Dick Allen, and April Treece. These three board members have done little to hold the superintendent accountable for the quality of your child’s education. Sure we hear these glowing little speeches from them in public, but what have they done really. We elected them…..they should be disappointed with the leadership of the district and calling for an end to the teacher contract dispute before a strike. Parents, do you realize that the teachers are not asking for the moon. If this is settled, it looks like a single teacher will get benefits immediately. That is it! The rest of medical will be phased in over the next few years. If I am not mistaken there is no salary increase with this contract (maybe 1%). So, since I have medical with my husband, I will get no pay increase at all. Not even COLA…the district has kept that for itself for quite a few years now!

I challenge all parents to take the time to be informed about the current school board and the teacher contract. The current leadership has clearly failed. Be a voice for your child! Be a voice for teachers! I am a passionate teacher who is working hard for your child. But, most importantly, I am a passionate parent who wants my child to have the best education possible. Thank you for the opportunity to share my opinions and the truth!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Board Meeting tonight LIVE on webcast!

Thanks to Paul Strange, MDUSD board member, we will be able to watch tonight's board meeting live on the web. Tune in at 7:30pm to and watch the meeting being streamed LIVE. Next, let's work on getting a call in question and comment system!

From Paul:

"Typically the district broadcasts on KVHS, but only until 10:00 and not in the summer. The broadcasting equipment for tonight is just one of my desktops and a webcam. This solution is zero cost to the district. It is still in “beta” and I am using a new broadcasting service tonight so bear with me if there is a problem. The webcast will be on the mdusd blog ( or starting at 7:30."

Thanks Paul! We appreciate the time it takes you to think of those of us who can't always make it live to the meetings ourselves.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Countdown or still counting . . .

The board agenda for tomorrow night's meeting is on the MDUSD website, you can see it here:


Somewhere around page 30 (out of over 150!) is the personnel information noting resignations since the last board meeting.

So far, 23 resignations over the summer, hopefully that is it for now and that we'll all be greeted with familiar teaching faces on August 26th. One of those resignations is Roger Bylund who went on to Paradise (literally), CA.

So who's next? I hope no one! BUT, there have been some changes at my son's school I don't see reflected here on this list.. I don't see the resignations I heard about, and I don't see the new hires I heard about... so.... maybe more is to come?

Above the resignations are the temporary teaching positions that had to be terminated at the end of year , being rehired. Thank goodness.. there are some favorite teachers on that list!

You'll see the blogs are coming alive now, please join in. We need change this year. If ever there was a time you thought of getting involved, IT HAS TO BE NOW! There's been no other time in this district's history that we've been at such a critical stage.

I DO NOT WANT a teacher strike. Do you? Let's work toward action - and change this year! It starts with YOU!