Friday, August 21, 2009

School Time!

It's almost school time! For most districts, school starts next week.

This school year has teachers and school employees returning to work with the imposition of 5 unpaid furlough days. (Pay will be reduced over 26 pays for the 5 days.) Many employees without a locally negotiated health stipend will see their health care costs go up 50%. Also, Short Term Disability has been changed to the point of being almost worthless. An ill employee must somehow survive 60 days without the disability pay. After 60 days, the STD pay of 75% of salary will begin. For school employees who accumulate sick days at 10 per year and who must fullfill the elimination period within the 10 month contract year; the STD provides little income protection for serious illness.

Additionally, there are decision makers with ideas for changing education that may not bode well for school employees. Unfortunately, some people believe that teacher rights and teacher input are obstacles to reform. In other words, what low performing schools really need are well intentioned dictators with well behaved employees. Moreover, pay for performance is a Juggernaut.

In spite of all of the above mentioned, teachers and support staff are enthusiastic about starting school. I hear it everywhere I go in the state; our people miss the kids, miss teaching, and are ready to get back to work. It speaks volumes to the commitment and undaunted spirit of educators in Delaware that morale remains high in the face of disrespect.

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