Teachers' advocate - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Teachers' advocate

Union is ‘the eyes and ears of the educator in the classroom’

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Posted: Sunday, February 13, 2011 12:00 am

Editor's note: This is the first in a three-part series of stories exploring the teachers union in Idaho. Monday's story will look at how the union impacts school officials and teachers, both union and non-union members.

COEUR d'ALENE - As lawmakers in several states consider education reform measures that seek to curtail collective bargaining and labor policies for teachers, state affiliates of the National Education Association, the nation's largest labor union, have been at the forefront, defending policy changes that would curtail some teachers' rights.

In Idaho, the 13,000-member Idaho Education Association is the state branch of the national teachers union. The NEA claims 3.2 million members nationwide, with affiliates in every state and Washington, D.C.

Most public school districts have local union associations - the Coeur d'Alene Education Association, the Post Falls Education Association, and the Lakeland Education Association - that their school boards have certified to exclusively represent that district's teachers during contract negotiations.

"The IEA is an advocacy organization. What we advocate for is public education, and for children and for the teaching profession, to make sure that we have a highly qualified, very effective teacher in every classroom," said Sherri Wood, the president of the Boise-based organization.

Membership is open to any educator who works in a public school, including charter schools. Members include teachers, as well as support staff, including bus drivers and janitors, Wood said. Student teachers and retired teachers are also IEA members.

"It is a three-tiered organization," Wood said. "When you join your local, you join all three organizations (NEA, IEA and the local)."

The IEA is split into nine regions, and has 30 employees statewide.

Some staff the Boise office, while others work out of offices in each region. The Region 1 office, in Coeur d'Alene, is staffed by two employees.

"Most teachers are extremely busy with the job they do in their classrooms and at their worksites," Wood said. "They don't possibly have enough time to watch what's happening in public education at the state and national level."

Staff members and the president attend various state meetings where decisions are made affecting teachers and students - state board of education meetings, PERSI (Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho), the professional standards commission - and sit on many committees that are set up by the Idaho State Department of Education.

"We are the eyes and ears of the educator in the classroom," Wood said, "because regardless of membership, we advocate for the entire public education process whether it's benefits, or professional development or what is the best practice for the folks working in schools."

Union members from throughout Idaho also donate their own money through payroll deductions to the IEA Children's Fund.

"In 15 years, we have given students across the state nearly $1 million when they're in need, when they need glasses, clothing, medication. The list goes on and on," she said. "We've purchased graduation gowns for kids who can't afford them."

Regarding the size of the budget the IEA uses to fund its efforts, Wood and other IEA staffers would not disclose any budget information.

The IEA's most recent tax return, a public record because the organization is exempt from federal income tax, was filed last April. The return covers the 2008-09 fiscal year, and shows gross receipts of $6.8 million, with total expenses of $4.7 million. Revenue from membership dues was $4.2 million, and $3.2 million in salaries, other compensation and employee benefits were paid out.

Roughly two-thirds of the union-eligible school staff in the Kootenai County's traditional school districts choose to be union members.

"This is a Right to Work state. Nobody has to join the organization," Wood said. "Our finances come directly from our dues-paying members."

The amount of dues individual members pay annually depends on several variables - the amount of time a teacher works, how long they have been teachers, and whether they are support staff members rather than teachers - Wood said.

"It's more complicated than I want to talk about," she told The Press.

The Coeur d'Alene School District, through staff payroll deductions, sends payments that work out to roughly $23,600 per month to the Idaho Education Association. The voluntary dues paid by employees include membership in the local association, the IEA and the National Education Association. The monthly amount sent to the IEA from Post Falls is about $13,300 and $10,500 is sent from the Lakeland district.

Dues tables from 2009-10 show an active, full-time teacher pays roughly $600 per year. Teachers in their first years in the profession receive discounted dues rates.

Instead of the teachers union, some Idaho educators choose to belong to the Spokane-based Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE), a group that bills itself as "the fastest growing non-union educator association in the region."

NWPE has 600 members in Idaho, said executive director, Cindy Omlin.

Unlike the IEA, Omlin said, NWPE does not report to the Department of Labor and the IRS as a union. NWPE is a 501(c)(6) professional association and does not engage in collective bargaining or contract negotiations.

NWPE benefits include advocacy and $2 million in individual liability insurance and legal protection benefits that ensure that members have access to legal counsel at the onset of workplace issues and defense costs related to liability insurance claims.

NWPE membership costs $16.50 per month, or $198 annually, and is open to any employee of an educational entity in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Student teachers and retired educators can join at a reduced rate.

The Students Come First education reforms proposed in Idaho by state public school chief Tom Luna include phasing out tenure for new teachers by offering two-year rolling contracts. School districts would be required to tie a portion of teacher and administrator performance evaluations and pay to student achievement.

Districts will no longer be able to use seniority as the only criteria in determining teacher layoffs.

The education reform bills now being considered by lawmakers in Boise would also limit collective bargaining in schools to wages and benefits only, and would apply the state's open meeting laws to school district teacher contract negotiations, requiring that they take place in public.

Should the Students Come First legislation be enacted, Luna believes there is still a place for the teachers union in education decision-making in Idaho.

"I think there is always a seat at the table for any group association, or any individual that has the best interests of students first, regardless of whether it's the union or a business group," Luna said. "I think the only thing that limits somebody's access and influence is what their priorities are when it comes to education. It depends on what their agenda is, what their motives are."

Wood said if the measures are passed, the IEA will continue its advocacy work.

"We believe that we need to be at the table when there is any change made to public education," Wood said. "We believe all stakeholders should be at the table."

Staff writer Brian Walker contributed to this report.

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61 comments:

  • nike posted at 1:58 am on Fri, May 4, 2012.

    nike Posts: 30

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  • Celeste posted at 8:43 am on Sat, Mar 17, 2012.

    Celeste Posts: 11

    Today we have the possibility to study for an online leadership degree and my opinion is that every school in the country should be connected to a single network where teachers would have access. That way the exchange of experience would be much easier.

     
  • Bowmann12 posted at 12:59 am on Tue, Sep 6, 2011.

    Bowmann12 Posts: 2

    A few of them are indeed, and they're running up the unwed pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rate like crazy. The statistics are clear, the most conservative areas of the country are in a virtual meltdown of increased abortion rates among teens. It seems the fundamentalist Christians, by restricting information, education, and rights of choice are driving their own children into the very behavior they condemn so loudly. Not to mention all of the sex and ethics scandals that seem to pop up among the most prominent "family values" figures. carbon saddle
    bike computer

     
  • jimb45 posted at 9:35 am on Sat, Jul 30, 2011.

    jimb45 Posts: 57

    There is so many teachers that do a lot of great work. This is why they need help with this in the future. They need more pay and a lot of other things. ormond business phone system

     
  • JBetts posted at 7:49 pm on Fri, Feb 18, 2011.

    JBetts Posts: 1

    Dear JWherley,

    I am not going to make any argument either way, but I just wanted to assist you in your credibility, as I have been taught by many of my Idaho educators, as a current student, that misspellings and lack of punctuation lead to losing credibility with your audience.

    I think instead of this:
    "As usual attacking the messenger because you Break the argument. Or come up with any better Ideas. Unlike you and the rest of "the experts" I am willing to listen to options, and work toward a better education for the kids. What are you willing to do? Or are you even interested in this topic, your normally just out Trolling for your random insults.

    you meant to write this:
    "As usual, attacking the messenger because you break the argument, or come up with any better ideas. (ACTUALLY, I ATTEMPTED TO FIX THE PREVIOUS SENTENCE, BUT BECAUSE IT WAS INCOMPLETE, I AM NOT EVEN SURE WHAT YOU WERE TRYING TO SAY) Unlike you and the rest of "the experts", I am willing to listen to options, and work toward a better education for the kids. What are you willing to do? Or are you even interested in this topic? You're normally just out trolling for your random insults."

    Now, please be nice.

    Sincerely,

    A Student Who Cares About Her Instructors

     
  • claudius45 posted at 9:56 pm on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    claudius45 Posts: 24

    @RavingRev - Now , that's entertainment. Do you fall down on the floor, kicking and twitching, shouting "Hallelujah! I believe!"?

    The ironic part here is that I'm not even remotely a Christian. I am, in every sense, a true non-believer. And yet I'm a better christian than you. Because I do believe in being a good person, I tend to follow most of the more compassionate teachings of the faith you claim. You, on the other hand, profane those same teachings.

    You see, it's possible to be a decent human being without being a good christian. But it's not possible to be a good christian without being a decent human being. You fail.

     
  • RadRevD posted at 8:39 pm on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    Claudius...you will be drinking your preferred beverage as the sun rises or perhaps it will occur as you stroll enjoying a sunset. It will seem like any other day filled with violent protests, news reporters getting abused, and teachers still wanting more - more - more. It could even occur in the midnight hour during a flash of northern lights. You won't have a clue as to what occurred other than the sudden brightening of the sky. You will sit at your computer for your latest slam on True Believers. You'll conclude that you are better. The ensuing calamity will put an end to public education and paychecks. You will search your cupboards for a bite and find little. Store shelves will quickly empty. Gnawing hunger will eventually set in and you will do what comes natural...blame God! In that day, perhaps Ted Haggard will explain what has occurred and what to expect. I hope to be gone!

    In the meantime, an agenda that is being revealed with compel COGs to lead the way for the children. They will serve the role of another brick in the wall keeping the masses distracted from the Truth. you will play a lesser role of crying 'stop thief' whenever someone reveals the struggle for the Truth.
    Enjoy your life while you can!

     
  • Meghan Ridley posted at 4:23 pm on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    Meghan Ridley Posts: 10

    I've been in touch with The Press about the content of this blog since Monday morning I believe. Wednesday evening, they offered to kill the comments. I didn't see much point in doing so after almost four full days of blogging and nonsense, so I declined their offer. Basically, I felt the damage had been done.

    Last night, this blog was up to 72 comments. I'm not sure why The Press chose to remove what I believe was 26 comments by this morning. It's not like it suddenly crossed the line last night. . .it'd been far over the line of decency since Sunday.

    And not just the unfortunately perverse and sexual comments were removed. Mine had been removed, as well as others who had shown support for me. I was especially disappointed to see the post regarding the definition of libel taken down, that had been posted by WEF. It is interesting how it takes three or four days to remove hateful, defaming speech. . .but an actual definition will be wiped away quickly.

    I'm thankful that the Spokesman Review picked up this story. It's refreshing to see a publication that takes the time to monitor their blogs carefully. The conclusion I'm left with regarding this experience withThe Press is one of two: either they don't monitor their online forum (which given the heated nature of their cover stories one might deem necessary), or they do monitor their online forum, and apparently felt that the words written repeatedly about me were okay for their blog. Either way, I'm disappointed.

     
  • Rogue Cop posted at 3:18 pm on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    Rogue Cop Posts: 2371

    esoles: Maybe Ms. Ridley requested that her remarks be removed. I don't think they were inappropriate or otherwise offensive so I can't imagine them being deleted unless she requested it.

     
  • esoles posted at 1:18 pm on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    esoles Posts: 6

    Mike Patrick, can you please give some information on why Ms. Ridley's comments were removed from this blog? I would appreciate any feedback you could offer.

     
  • claudius45 posted at 12:28 pm on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    claudius45 Posts: 24

    The RavingRev said, "contrary to what Progressives advocate, teens are rebelling and choosing to be conservative!"

    A few of them are indeed, and they're running up the unwed pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rate like crazy. The statistics are clear, the most conservative areas of the country are in a virtual meltdown of increased abortion rates among teens. It seems the fundamentalist Christians, by restricting information, education, and rights of choice are driving their own children into the very behavior they condemn so loudly. Not to mention all of the sex and ethics scandals that seem to pop up among the most prominent "family values" figures.

    Galatians: 6:7 - "...for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

     
  • RadRevD posted at 7:35 am on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    can't leave it alone, huh WEF!
    Perhaps a child will lead:
    ( http://www.cdapress.com/news/local_news/article_569d7352-9928-5f3e-8791-cb09a213f544.html )

    contrary to what Progressives advocate, teens are rebelling and choosing to be conservative!

    My sentiments remain for MS. Ridley: exercise WISDOM!

     
  • esoles posted at 7:31 am on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    esoles Posts: 6

    It appears that some of Meghan Ridley's comments defending herself have been removed. Why would this happen?

     
  • WellEducatedFemale posted at 7:10 am on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    WellEducatedFemale Posts: 90

    Wow, the press has finally cleaned up their act. It appears as though they have removed the libel content they were condoning by doing nothing about, after my last post. Well done. If anyone would like to see what other locally well known media outlets' (blogs) had to say about the situation, here you go:
    http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/hbo/2011/feb/16/press-trolls-slime-lakeland-teacher/
    That's all folks.....

     
  • Hayden Joe posted at 6:15 am on Thu, Feb 17, 2011.

    Hayden Joe Posts: 190

    All I know is what I know.

    I was a 10 year old schoolboy once and if I had an attractive lady teacher who dressed like that, I would have been distracted during school and a whole bunch after school.

    Not saying this teacher is evil or promiscuous, she is probably just the norm in her principal's eyes, and therein lies the problem.

    Tighten it up administrators.

     
  • claudius45 posted at 11:21 pm on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    claudius45 Posts: 24

    @RavingRev - Just for you - Proverbs:19:9

    Your practice of finding sin and wickedness where it is not reveals your own obsessions. Ironic, and typical of the self-righteous. Matthew: 7:5

    By the teachings of the faith you falsely claim, 1 John: 2:4

     
  • WellEducatedFemale posted at 10:16 pm on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    WellEducatedFemale Posts: 90

    RRD: I'm certainly no expert, but it seems to me that some on this board could be rightfully accused of defamation of character.

     
  • claudius45 posted at 9:46 pm on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    claudius45 Posts: 24

    @RavingRevD - Whatever room there is for wisdom, it certainly won't be coming from you. Your vicious ignorance is staggering.

     
  • Jgrover posted at 12:47 pm on Wed, Feb 16, 2011.

    Jgrover Posts: 1

    I am disgusted by the numerous comments made about Ms. Ridley’s apparel in this photo. I would first and foremost like to thank Meghan for her commitment to our special needs children and our community. For those of you who have chosen to judge based solely on a not so flattering photo, should be ashamed of themselves. I have known Meghan for several years know that she is very passionate about the special needs community. Meghan is a very bright, caring woman and I can only hope that you too one day can encounter someone with such heart and passion in your lifetime!

     
  • RadRevD posted at 9:02 pm on Tue, Feb 15, 2011.

    RadRevD Posts: 3333

    so much for your COP skills Rogue!
    Unless comments were deleted, just saying is your boy!

     
  • Rogue Cop posted at 8:08 pm on Tue, Feb 15, 2011.

    Rogue Cop Posts: 2371

    Ah just consider the source Ms Ridley. Most of it was brought on by the jackass formerly known as Jeffrey Wherley.

     
  • aoster posted at 6:19 pm on Tue, Feb 15, 2011.

    aoster Posts: 1

    Meghan Ridley has been a very dear friend of mine since we were in middle school together, 17 years ago. I remember being in aerobics our sophomore year when asked to pair up with a partner, Meghan immediately chose the girl whose days in school were spent in the Life Skills room. She considered her a friend and proudly helped her out whenever she could. I remember her saying (when she was 16 years old) she would love to someday work with special needs children and today she is fulfilling that dream. I've never met a more intelligent person or a more passionate one about the career they've chosen. She fights for those kids everyday. I am repulsed that people would go so far as to make this sexual. How about they pay attention to what was said in the article instead of how aroused they got when they saw the blonde teacher?

     
  • WellEducatedFemale posted at 6:11 pm on Tue, Feb 15, 2011.

    WellEducatedFemale Posts: 90

    Well put, Miss Ridley! I am proud to work alongside you and others like you in our beautiful state. It gives me confidence to know our children are in your care each day. I only wish there were more just like you : )

     
  • esoles posted at 4:08 pm on Tue, Feb 15, 2011.

    esoles Posts: 6

    Ms. Ridley is a good friend of mine. I am a professional in this community and I saw nothing wrong with her attire in this amazing picture of her working with a special needs child. If Meghan is guilty of instilling passion, it is only in the special needs children that she educates on a daily basis. Those that have tried to belittle her or discredit her over this photo make me sad. I like to think of our community as a place of values and family structure, but also as a place of tolerance and understanding. I believe we have a long way to go on the latter two values if we can look at a picture of a wonderful teacher helping a special needs child (you should hear the love and devotion in her voice when she talks about him and all her kids sometime), and we choose to attack her choice of attire rather then commend her dedication to one of the most undervalued and difficult jobs in this community. Shame on those of you so quick to pounce and so slow to appreciate. Eric Soles

     
  • Rogue Cop posted at 2:22 pm on Mon, Feb 14, 2011.

    Rogue Cop Posts: 2371

    claudius45 posted at 7:13 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.
    "@JWherley - I went back through all your comments here and didn't find a single fact, only uninformed opinion based on angry, contemptuous ideology. Sorry, but mouth and attitude are not substitutes for reason and fact.
    Grow up, learn something about what you're discussing, and present reasonable arguments based on factual information. Then you might contribute something worthwhile to the forum."
    ____________________
    That's asking a lot, claudius. The first thing you need to know is that Jeffrey Wherley is an expert on every topic including disaster preparedness, police officer involved shooting investigations, clandestine lab clean-ups, school evacuations, weaponless defense, the Constitution, contract negotiations, teaching methods, and apparently the entire scope of education in general. I'm going out on a limb here but I would just bet his expertise extends to animal husbandry and brain surgery.

    Don't be fooled by his inability to compose a sentence, or to formulate a cogent thought, or his total disregard for syntax and other rules of grammar. You don't have to know that stuff when you know everything else there is to know!

     
  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 9:20 am on Mon, Feb 14, 2011.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    Tjsandford,

    This was my first post on this topic, that was followed by personal attacks continually with no conversation about the article except from me. Please point out my " false accusations, ridiculous assumptions, and innuendo."

    Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE) seems like a good deal, professional liability insurance. I carry that in my career also. But No Union should be involved in any tax paid positions. If someone doesn't want to serve the public because they can't have a union, Nobody is forcing them, Someone always has and always will step forward to serve.
    And No tax payer funds should be negotiable outside of public hearing laws.

    The very worst you can say is they are my personal opinions, on items in this article, Are your opinions the only one that should be heard?

     
  • Tjsandford posted at 8:15 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Tjsandford Posts: 46

    Jeffrey. Can we please have a conversation doesn't devolve into false accusations, ridiculous assumptions, and innuendo. You obviously have something to say but your vindictive, resentful, and defensive retorts so cloud it that your message is lost. I do not mean to be disrespectful but it is like having an argument with a third grader.

     
  • local res posted at 8:06 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    local res Posts: 1165

    Randy great post. Can I make a few more suggestions? 1. Allow districts to merge. 2. Why do we need multiple layers of administration, make a change. When a teacher earns a Masters degree move the teaacher to the college level. 3. Allow all schools the opportunity to become charter schools.

     
  • Bigmoose posted at 7:35 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Bigmoose Posts: 117

    Jeffrey--Bla Bla Bla--it never ends. Bla Bla Bla

     
  • claudius45 posted at 7:13 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    claudius45 Posts: 24

    @JWherley - I went back through all your comments here and didn't find a single fact, only uninformed opinion based on angry, contemptuous ideology. Sorry, but mouth and attitude are not substitutes for reason and fact.

    Grow up, learn something about what you're discussing, and present reasonable arguments based on factual information. Then you might contribute something worthwhile to the forum.

     
  • hayden_guy posted at 6:04 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    hayden_guy Posts: 400

    Jeffrey,
    You are not willing to listen to other options. Anytime something is presented that differs from your opinion you shoot it down and attack it with your "expertise" in the matter. Just reading about something does not make you an expert, it takes 10,000 hours of experience in the subject.

    You are the definition of an internet troll and should not be fed.

    Tjsandford- you are spot on with your answer and analysis of the situation. No one is doubting that something needs to happen and change, the fact that Luna will not sit down with the stake holders should tell everyone something.

    If he wants to run education as a business, everyone knows that to have a properly run business the employees need to be happy. RIght now, the employees are not happy as they feel attacked and hoodwinked by these two bills. If a company does not have happy employees, I can promise you that there will not be happy customers (the students).

    The two proposed bills and how they were presented is not in line with a well run business. Luna knows this which is why there has been an attempt to fast track it through.

    No one wants to pay taxes, but they are necessary for a properly functioning society. The founders of the state, when making the state constitution, recognized the fact that education is a vital part of a functioning society/community. The proposed bills while still funding education, is not in line with the implied spirit of education. The US constitution is constantly compared to other countries and their high achieving scores. There is no online in other countries. Other countries pay their teachers on scale with doctors and lawyers to truly attract the best of the best into the classrooms. Educators are treated with respect and not trashed in public forums. Educators in other countries have huge parental involvement, something that is critical. I don't think any teacher would mind having 40 students in their class if they knew each one would behave, show up to class each day, work hard, turn in all assignments, be respectful, and if not the parents would punish the child worse than the school.

     
  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 5:36 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    claudius45,

    As usual attacking the messenger because you Break the argument. Or come up with any better Ideas. Unlike you and the rest of "the experts" I am willing to listen to options, and work toward a better education for the kids. What are you willing to do? Or are you even interested in this topic, your normally just out Trolling for your random insults.

     
  • greyhound2 posted at 4:59 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    greyhound2 Posts: 897

    The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that one exists. The first step has been achieved. Time to move forward with solutions. Hard to do. Things are moving faster than anyone is able to keep pace, as what was new yesterday is old today. And new today is irrevelant tomorrow. Some say we can not afford to take a break, and some say we can not afford not to. Letters, newspapers, telephones, television, cable, internet, email, satelite, facebook, twitter and smartphones; all in one generation. Too much, too fast. Time for a break. Better to control the technology, not let the technology control us. Globalization is not a grass root effort from the bottom up, and we can take care of ourselves just fine. Time to define what is important and discard the rest.

     
  • claudius45 posted at 4:06 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    claudius45 Posts: 24

    I see 'capnbutch' is present again with the usual bizarre accusations supported by vague, non-specific claims and innuendo. If even one tenth of the attacks and plots against him that he claims have happened were true it would be a genuine miracle that he survived. I don't think miracles explain it, though.

    I see J Wherley is present again with the usual ignorant blather, punctuated by insults and name-calling. It's amazing that he can get so many things wrong on so many different topics. That is truly an impressive display of multi-tasking.

     
  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 3:49 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    Bigmoose,

    Actually, the complainer are those opposed to the plan. The rest of us are very happy with the reform package being worked on. But nice try at changing the sides. NOT

     
  • Randy Myers posted at 3:48 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    The IEA and Unions really aren't the problem we are facing in Idaho. The problem is finances. Levies that were meant to be supplemental have become needed to go forward with cuts. Budgeting within the districts and in the state has been done a certain way for so long that any change is rocking the entire boat (system).

    Reality: There isn't the same amount of money available for education as there has been let alone anything to go towards INCREASES in salaries, tools, programs, etc.

    Tom Luna has advanced a plan in the legislature that most educators view as threatening at best......catastrophic at worst. I, myself, think the laptop and online bits of the plan are flawed beyond feasibility. However, a change is needed. Until someone comes up with alternative plans I think Luna's at least offers some room to do things differently. I don't see teachers resigning en masse because they see public education as NOT a place to be going forward. Instead they are worried about jobs being lost. This makes sense.

    Here are some radical thoughts that might save money: 1. Get rid of all assistant principals and reassign them to classrooms. 2. Cap administrator salaries at 60K. 3. Be like Wal Mart and hire a bunch of part time teachers that can't get health benefits. 4. Re-work all contracts to be 5 year "guaranteed" like is done in the sports world and at the end of contracts let educators decide to either opt out (with small "retirements") or continue either in the same district or get "traded" or sign with a new district (at the current salary or above). That way school districts can be more like sports franchises and trade for or sign what they need and let go what they don't need. 5. Get parents and interested parties MUCH more involved in facilities. Have Booster Clubs not just for athletics but also for music, art, math, you name it. 6. Get rid of school libraries. Use the space for classrooms, computer labs, and utilize the local libraries for research and projects. 7. Get rid of school buses and other school motor vehicles.

    Of course those ideas will require alternatives and have all sorts of problems to work out. They are just ideas for thinking about how to do things differently that we have always done.

     
  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 3:43 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    Tjsandford,

    It must have hurt to admit, "Schools CANNOT do this by law. In fact, Public Schools are required by law to have higher graduation rate every year. If schools don't they are labeled failing. NCLB requires a 100% graduation rate by the year 2012." In your "expert" opinion have we dumb down the curriculum enough to receive our Money back from Washington?
    "State law prohibits the associations from negotiating for anyone other than teachers." You even alluded to the legal loopholes that make that law impotent."If a District chooses to award employees other than teachers the same terms as the negotiated contract then that is a issue of School Board Policy." This is the problem with the administration and the unions being in bed with each other like they are. By the time the admin and the unions get done with negotiations their is nothing left for the classrooms.
    Your suggestion that we sit in on Negotiations is being addressed in this plan, we are excluded from them now. But soon they will have to follow open meeting laws by this plan (that must really scare you).
    Your assertion that the schools are more dangerous today and kids are more unruly, means either you were the doper sitting in the hallway unmoving all-day, or you went to school with the Brady Bunch, and even they had an episode or 2 about drugs in school. There were very few days that a blood drawing fight didn't happen in grade school or high school. there was smoke cigarettes in the hallways and most alot of school had smokers lobbies, Marijuana was smoked before and after school and sometimes in the halls, Flasks of alcohol were in every class. This I know from the 60's and 70's personally. The 50's and early 60's had sit ins that turned to riots and burnt down schools in some areas of the country, and Heroin, marijuana, smoking and Gangs were as common as air.

    "The number one discipline problems in the 60s was chewing gum and tardiness, now they are violence, absenteeism, and drugs and alcohol." Do you actually find people over 18 that believe that defecation on the truth?

    "Having students in, or having attended a school, does not make one an expert. You may comment, but please make informed comments. Otherwise you are just spreading rumors and personal bias that ultimately hurts our students." This just goes to show how much out of touch with reality you really are. If you think your care for my kids more than I do, or any parent does, you can stuff that idea right up your tail pipe.

    "under the guise of: "Put Children First" or some other similar platitude" ROFLMAO This has been the administrations & Unions Platitudes for decades every year with the next levy. You are feeling the frustration that parents and taxpayer have felt all these decades? GOOD

    In short with all your Expertise over my Experience, you have gotten only 1 of your platitudes correct all the rest was a pack of insults to intelligence.

     
  • The Truth posted at 3:19 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    The Truth Posts: 2193

    The local (?) group of cali-bagger immigrants don't want to have to pay anything for education because they don't care about native Idaho kids.

     
  • Bigmoose posted at 2:58 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Bigmoose Posts: 117

    How many of you complainers have actually been in a Coeur d Alene School District classroom within the last six months? I thought so. bla bla bla

     
  • greyhound2 posted at 2:50 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    greyhound2 Posts: 897

    With public schools, there is no correlation between the amount of money invested and the product delivered.

     
  • saxman_2k4 posted at 2:33 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    saxman_2k4 Posts: 25

    FWIW- here is a list of sources regarding merit pay and its efficacy within an education system. This is where my knowledge of the subject comes from

    Nickerson, C. (1984), Merit Pay-Does it work in education?, NASSP Bullitin, 68(470) 65-55

    Taylor, R. Hunnicutt, G. and Keeffe, M, (1991). Merit pay in academia: Historical perspectives and contemporary perspectives, 11(3), 51-64

    Ritter, G. (2007). Harnessing Private incentives in public education, Review of public personnel administration, 29(3) 249-269

    Ferrell, C. and Morris, J. (2009) Still searching for the evidence? Evidence-based policy, performance pay and teachers, Journal of Industrial Relations, 51(1) 75-94

    Just for clarification, the idea of Merit Pay in education isn't a new one and dates back (in America) to the 1930's.. other than a few isolated incidents, merit pay systems have failed in public education. Evidence does support that it has positive results in business, however, translating the same system across to teaching just hasn't had the desired effect.

     
  • Tjsandford posted at 1:34 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Tjsandford Posts: 46

    I stand with well educated female. The amount of misinformation within these blogs is incredible and very disturbing. So many of the adults within these blogs seem to do one of two things: 1) base their assertions on there own personal school experience from the 60s - 80s or 2) repeat tired worn out lines that someone said somewhere forcefully enough to convince you that it was true.

    Jeffrey. State law prohibits the associations from negotiating for anyone other than teachers. Any assertion that they negotiate for other groups than teachers is false. If a District chooses to award employees other than teachers the same terms as the negotiated contract then that is a issue of School Board Policy.

    Some of you have said that all the association is about is salary, benefits and days off for Union members. Have you been at the negotiating table? Have you read a contract? Negotiations does cover salary and benefits, and... working conditions, prep time, how the day is structured, joint study committees, transfer language, long term substitute procedures, communications, memorandum of understanding procedures, grievance procedures, and much more. There is as much or more about the learning environment in a contract, much to the benefit of students, as there is about salary and benefits. However, there is nothing about days off. The number of days teachers teach is set by the state. If the school year should be longer, and I believe it should be, then the state legislature and the state superintendent should take up the issue.

    Having students in, or having attended a school, does not make one an expert. You may comment, but please make informed comments. Otherwise you are just spreading rumors and personal bias that ultimately hurts our students. Much of what teachers, administrators, and school boards do is required by law. For example, some have suggested in other blogs that poor, disruptive or under motivated students should be kicked out. Schools CANNOT do this by law. In fact, Public Schools are required by law to have higher graduation rate every year. If schools don't they are labeled failing. NCLB requires a 100% graduation rate by the year 2012.

    I appreciate the interest education but I grow frustrated with the amount of uninformed statements made that are filled with misinformation. By the way, when you say the system has failed teachers do take it personally because they are the deliverer of the system. They work very hard to fulfill the mandates of legislatures and the state department of education that seem to pile on every legislative session without relief or gratitude. They grow frustrated with politicians who use education as a political football under the guise of: "Put Children First" or some other similar platitude, when in reality it is to further their own political future. Teachers are disheartened by a public that does not seem to understand that school in 2011 is far different then the school they grew up in. The number one discipline problems in the 60s was chewing gum and tardiness, now they are violence, absenteeism, and drugs and alcohol. Sit down with a teacher this week and have an open an honest discussion about the challenges they face. Read a contract, do some research into educational law, and visit with an administrator. It might change your perspective. My hat is off to the amazing teachers of Idaho who do so much with so little.

    As for the teacher in the picture. Really?!? Can we not have an adult discussion about something other than her attire?

     
  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 1:28 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    Haydenguy,

    I do work 80 to 90 hours a week, but only about 20 of those hours are away from the computer and I can multitask very well. There is absolutely now way to cut my hours to less, unless I did quit, and that isn't even close to an option in this economy. Why do you think teachers are so worried when so few are actually going to lose their jobs. less than 1000 jobs over 4 years state wide, attrition will take care of most of those. I would bet less than 200 will see a RIF in reality. All any of these teachers will see is a little heavier work load, and a switch incurriculfum to education and away from Utopia building.

     
  • saxman_2k4 posted at 1:09 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    saxman_2k4 Posts: 25

    Just Saying- I spoke in an over-generalization regarding all aspects of Merit pay, apologies.. I voiced my concern based upon my understanding of previous attempts and national uses. Regardless, it's still based upon ISAT testing and doesn't address the issue of poor teachers. Read the plan again... it talks of 2 levels of merit pay (State and Local)... the local level allows for the individuals pay to be based on a students achievement- Examples include: state or district-level
    assessments, graduation rate, students successfully
    completing AP or dual credit courses, increasing student
    participation in extracurricular activities, and parental
    involvement.
    The concern in this area is that if a teacher gains extra pay for students completing courses, or graduation rate ( and that poor and good teachers benefit alike) then it would stand to reason that poor teachers would pass on students to pad their pockets (notice I said poor teachers)

    I think I have repeatedly stated that if Merit pay be the direction that the legislation wants to go, make it based on an evaluation over time of effectiveness.. much as performance reviews are done in other careers.

    I find it ironic that I get challenged for sources, when others are repeatedly challenged to support their opinion and fail to do so...

    And yes, just saying.. I am an educator, and yes I made a mistake in my posting.. I'm human and it happens.. but I am not above rectifying my mistake. Regardless, my opinion of the plan in its current form hasn't changed. Teachers are already evaluated within the classroom.. it doesn't seem to much a stretch to use that as a basis for merit pay rather than using a singular test result (one that benefits the good and the bad equally)...

     
  • saxman_2k4 posted at 12:39 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    saxman_2k4 Posts: 25

    Your an idiot or an outright lier if you think we blame the teachers!- JW

    Name calling again Jeff? I thought we were beyond this... again an opinion is stated, rather than take it for what it is, you result to attacks..what does that say about you?

    As for my comment about teacher pay, it was in regards to greyhounds comment. I'm glad that we can agree that teachers are underpaid in Idaho.. my stance is, is that if the IEA were such a problem then it would stand to reason that Idaho teachers were payed more.. as in if the IEA's focus was on more money and benefits, then the strong arm tactics they are being blamed for would have resulted in better pay and benefits... as this is not the case, then the stance as to their strong arm tactics is baseless. I re-read your comment about tax dollars.. lack of punctuation lead to a misread...

    As for opinions, yours.. mine, everyone else's.. I stated that you had provided your credentials, and that you were entitled to your opinion... Yes, I said it was similar to armchair quarterbacking, much in the same way that being involved in school football (maybe some college) and then watching the sport for years doesn't make one an overall expert in the game. You have insight and opinions as to the workings, but do not have all of the background afforded the coach (or educator). I also stated that I find your enthusiasm for this topic refreshing and that if all parents were as focused on education as you perhaps we wouldn't have the sort of mess in education as we have, not once have I stated my own opinions as to your intelligence or character... that is something that I find within a good percentage of your posts.. and likewise, its when someone has a differing opinion. SO to sum up: FACT- I said you have just as much right to your opinion as anyone. FACT- you accuse me of not accepting an opinion that differs than mine- talk about the pot calling the kettle black

    I challenge you again to treat people here with respect and approach this forum in a civil manner and not resort to baseless accusations and name-calling.

    I agree with Hayden-Guy.. Jeff if education is such a cake walk, come join us.. by your reckoning, your 43 years of experience should qualify you.

     
  • just saying posted at 12:07 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    just saying Posts: 64

    Saxman:

    Read the plan. Merit pay is for WHOLE STAFFS of schools where students improve or perform well. NOT FOR ONE TEACHER. The actual wording is "every certificated member of the staff".

    Other merit pay in the plan is for teachers "who teach in hard to fill areas." Usually this refers to math and science. I think the idea is for schools to offer a perk to sway a science teacher to sign a contract.

    The third type of merit is for teachers who "assume leadership positions within their schools." A whole list of leadership roles is included on the state web site. It includes things like mentoring, curriculum design, etc.

    REAL problems include: even if it is for all teachers in a building, it's still based on the ISAT, a clearly flawed and limited test. I'm partially with you on that. It's what we have though, and it IS tied to established state standards. Also, even the cruddy teachers in an overall high performing building will get the merit pay, which should please the union.

    I highly recommend you read the plan before spouting off as an expert. Simply saying "merit pay in its proposed form" does not make you an expert. You would do well to know what you're talking about, unless your whole plan is to fool others into supporting your position. Here's a challenge: go to the SDE website, read the plan, and give us direct quotes that support your arguments. You will either have to keep lying like a child who insists on winning an argument, admit you have been wrong all along (I'm not holding my breath), or STHU. My money is that you won't bother to look. You'll fire back another uninformed retort. I hope if you're a teacher, you require your students to know what they're talking about and provide evidence. I REALLY hope you're not a teacher though.

     
  • hayden_guy posted at 11:58 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    hayden_guy Posts: 400

    Jeffrey Wherley- In another thread you stated you work 90+ hours a week. Perhaps if you laid off the message boards you could get the same amount of work done in 40 hours.

    If teaching is such a cake job and teachers have it so easy as you claim, why are you not teaching? Who wouldn't want an easy job?

     
  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 11:54 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    Saxman,

    Noone has contested that teachers are underpaid, can you say the same about the overpaid Administrators and their benefits also negotiated for be the unions. Maybe we should start demanding all salaried school workers to put in the extra hours during the year doing maintenance or bus driving to make up for the extra 6 weeks of vacation they get each year. (you notice I didn't say 10 weeks). But no we don't, we give a living wage and benefits and 10 weeks vacation that they can use to make more money or just vacation, that is fair by any private sector standard, Could we pay better? Maybe, but as long as the top feeder are uncontrolled we will never know. The Students then Teachers should be first concern, but everything is upside down.

    Fully supplied classrooms, with the hardest curriculum available, should always be first on every budget, then the teachers and support staff, then the leftovers to the administration. This would give incentives for money to be used wisely and efficiently. Right now the Dregs go to the teachers and then the classrooms. Your an idiot or an outright lier if you think we blame the teachers!

     
  • WellEducatedFemale posted at 11:50 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    WellEducatedFemale Posts: 90

    JW: So, in other words, yes...you would say it was her fault. And as for all of your garbage about miners in tunnels, have you ever watched the news? How many teachers have been gunned down in the hallways at their schools as a result of teen angst? Don't you dare try to tell me that they don't face occupational hazards. I come from a long line of miners, so don't even think for a second you can educate me on this topic, my grand father was a miner, and is a proud supporter of any union member, regardless of occupation. As far as the woman's dress being a symbol of what the union is protecting, I'd like to see you come up with some evidence as to the last time the union went to bat and had to invest in lawyers to protect a woman's right to wear a dress to work, you are truly laughable. Please do not address another post to me, as now I shall continue to be a part of the society to which I contribute, not this crazy online msg. board where opinions are misconstrued and largely uninformed.

     
  • saxman_2k4 posted at 10:57 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    saxman_2k4 Posts: 25

    The teacher's union is not about education or kids. It's about salary, benefits, workload and days off for union members. - Greyhound2

    Greyhound, sure the local chapters of the IEA are involved within teacher salary negotiations. Lets look at those salary's for a second though. If the IEA were such a monster wouldn't it stand to reason that teachers were overpayed with outrageous benefits? Wouldn't it also stand to reason that State funding for our school system be grossly disproportionate on the levels of excess? Yet Idaho has the lowest payed teachers in the nation, and has the least funding per student in the nation... Some strong arm politics there no? As for benefits, I'd encourage you to actually look at what teachers are offered in terms of a benefit package. My wife, while working as a bank teller was offered better than what I get. Finally, days of for union members? I'm an IEA member, (by choice) and I get no more or less days off than a non member, as the work that the IEA does is for the benefit of all teachers, not just members. In truth, the big advantage to IEA members over non is the liability insurance within the classroom.

     
  • WellEducatedFemale posted at 10:23 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    WellEducatedFemale Posts: 90

    SamuelStanding, I am sure you can request that information about percentage of union $ spent in N.Idaho vs. S.Idaho, if you chose to. Until you are certain of those amounts, you shouldn't surmise, that is unintelligent of you.

     
  • WellEducatedFemale posted at 10:21 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    WellEducatedFemale Posts: 90

    I am shocked at the level of ignorance an misinformation spread like a cancerous virus on this msg. board. Are all of you insane? Do you not remember the coal-miners who fought and died for the right to unionize? Why should it be a right reserved for some, not all? I am ashamed to live among you, espousing your uneducated opinions and views. If you want to have a voice about something, at least take the time to do your homework so you can present yourselves in an informed fashion. At what point did the teachers become the bad guys? Why are you discussing this woman's dress, rather than what she does or doesn't do for Idaho education and Idaho's kids? Why don't you look up her credentials? Her personal information is listed right there, I'm sure you can find out what quality of teacher she is that way, rather than by what she is wearing. I am sure that if, after she left work for the day, she got raped....many of you would have the mentality to claim it "was her fault", no?

     
  • saxman_2k4 posted at 10:12 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    saxman_2k4 Posts: 25

    CdAnative, jeff posted in other thread what credentials he has.. basically that of an armchair Quarterback.. 33 years of observation and sideline participation. The main issue isn't credentials, but purporting his opinion as if it were solid fact.

    Jeff, read the article, the IEA is funded by the individual members of the association. It's no more funded by tax dollars than any non-profit organization. I pay dues each month.. in return, VOLUNTEER, officials of the organization work for the betterment of teaching in Idaho. Be it better working conditions, duty free lunch, and yes contract terms. I am also covered for liability within the classroom. This was something I chose, and not something I was forced to do.

    TakebacktheUSA- I couldn't agree more. If there was one area of the proposed bill that really has me concerned its the portion dealing with the teacher contract and merit pay. The proposed system will eliminate experienced teachers from the equation because they simply cost too much. Did you also know that the bill allows a school district to change the terms (or pay) of a contract at any time without notification? This is an area I can't help but feel will become abused. If districts already take away or reduce funding mid year, what's to stop them from doing that to teacher mid-year?

    JustSaying- You seem to be just as clueless as to how the Merit pay truly effects teachers.. In its proposed form, teacher's merit pay will be based solely on student's achievement on a singular standardized test. If some students perform poorly, if a student has an anxiety attack, or any number of outside factors influence a kids performance, that said teacher is effected, regardless of how well they teach, or how good a teacher they are. Just as it can effect good teachers negatively it can also effect poor teachers positively, and the whole system is aimed at removing the poor teachers isn't it? If merit pay is the direction that the state is going then it should be done by a review panel of educators within the content area of the teacher being reviewed, and the review needs to be over a period of time to evaluate the teachers overall effectiveness within the classroom.

     
  • greyhound2 posted at 10:05 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    greyhound2 Posts: 897

    The power of any public employee's union lies in their monopoly power. When a government branch goes on strike, it shuts that section down completely. It isn't that you can go down the street and do business with sombody else. A private sector company has a disadvantage in that they can go bankrupt and go out of business if they get to far out of line, not so with a public employees union. They usually get what they want, as the only ones elected officials ever hear from are the public employee union members, who are quick to voice their disapproval in large numbers. The teacher's union is not about education or kids. It's about salary, benefits, workload and days off for union members. Elected officials don't care, as the tab is picked up by taxpayers.

     
  • cdanative33 posted at 9:47 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    cdanative33 Posts: 386

    Jeffrey, I've decided that your opinions aren't based on any real experience with the educational system since you won't answer my question; and the base of logic that you have built your opinions upon crumbles when you try to defend them. Since arguing your opinion online seems to be something you spend considerable time doing, you might consider taking a course on debate or logic and reason, perhaps of the online variety (I've heard they're a lot easier than the traditional brick and mortar type classes). Until then I will quit bothering you with baseless questions like "what is your background experience with the educational system?" because, although it's kind of fun, I'm starting to feel like a bully.

    My point is that a tax payed job is just a job, and the state of Idaho will get what it pays for. If Tom Luna and the legislators truly believes that bad teachers are to blame for the inadequacies of our educational system, then it doesn't follow logic that they would make this state a less favorable place for teachers. If you want to attract and retain the best employees for your business, you don't advertise that you're working hard to make the employees in your business less secure and to ultimately replace them at some point with a computer.

     
  • mister d posted at 8:31 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    Donating almost one million dollars to needy kids in Idaho, thats impressive. Seems to me the IEA works pretty hard for kids and teachers. Sad to see so many people bad mouth unions when they have no clue. Keep fighting to rid us of the Luna plan, you have many parents and tax payers behind you.

     
  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 7:42 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    cdanation33,

    By definition, the best do step forward to serve, that is what this great experiment is all about. Or do you not believe in the republics ability to survive, and peoples ability to self-rule?

    Your baseless question has been asked and answered go troll around and find in.

     
  • cdanative33 posted at 6:56 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    cdanative33 Posts: 386

    Who, then, advocates for the individuals in the tax paid position, Jeffrey? Would that attract the best employees for tax paid positions in Idaho, or the people that couldn't find employment elsewhere (the leftovers)? The question isn't "whether" someone will step up and serve, it's "who" will step up and serve. What is your background in the educational field, Jeffrey?

     
  • Jeffrey Wherley posted at 6:20 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Jeffrey Wherley Posts: 3969

    Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE) seems like a good deal, professional liability insurance. I carry that in my career also. But No Union should be involved in any tax paid positions. If someone doesn't want to serve the public because they can't have a union, Nobody is forcing them, Someone always has and always will step forward to serve.

    And No tax payer funds should be negotiable outside of public hearing laws.

     
  • capnbutch posted at 5:04 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    capnbutch Posts: 729

    Sad that any mention of a union creates suspicion and division. When my family and I lived in Mullan a local union boss decided to force me to a new point of view. His approach was to have his wife accuse one of my children of a crime that simply was not possible. Our lives were miserable then and the boy was hurt terribly. We all suffer these many years later although the union guy is long dead.

    Elsewhere, I had trouble with the SEIU, a seemingly benign union for people who help the crippled, elderly and mentally ill. That organization attempted to buy me with intimate personal services that were very hard to turn down.

     
  • TakeBackTheUSA posted at 4:08 am on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    TakeBackTheUSA Posts: 765

    Scenario: Luna's "Student's (really don't) Come First initiative" passes. The Idaho legislature now funds education based solely on a merit pay system. Kindergarten and Pre-K programs are eliminated due to business tax exemption largess. National norms are enacted and results tied to federal funding. Children in Idaho are not prepared for the running start expectations and lag in performance - which is then blamed on teacher quality. The legislature reduces funding because of the merit pay system. Since school district administrations are now allowed to lay off teachers based on salaries, they simply can't afford to have one 20 year veteran when they can have two new graduates for the same cost. The cycle repeats every few years until NO quality teacher will work in Idaho. Professionals, worried about their kid's future, leave in droves. And there we have Idaho

     
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