As a parent who has had four children go through Medford public schools, I am disappointed at the rhetoric from MEA Vice President Jones: "We are currently being held hostage by a board that cares more about winning than they do about our kids." Dishonest debate using the kids as pawns does not support the teachers case, particularly with most of the public who wanted to remain somewhat neutral. — Don Jeter, Medford
The union and the district are supposed to set an example for our children. Why did the district offer a contract with an unprecedented 118 changes? Were they truly using the Hungerford playbook in an attempt to break up the teacher's union? And why did they give themselves raises when the $11 million in funding came through last spring? This may have led to the rapid deterioration of the relationship between teachers and district members.
The current economics of the nation have been tough for us all, and teachers should be grateful that they have insurance and pension plans. The bottom line is that these negotiations should come down to what is best for our children. We need to end this strike for their benefit. Compromise may include increased school days without additional compensation. However, the district should provide paid prep time for teachers, limit class size and the number of courses taught per semester to three in order to help maintain a quality education.
We need to support our teachers as a valuable part of our education system. But most of all we need a resolution to come quickly. This will require compromise from both sides. — Dana Keller, Medford
What are teachers asking for? They want to keep what they have.
Safeguard preparation time means time to plan lessons and grade student work.
At my school we get one period of time equal to the length of a class period to prepare for one day's classes. If my prep time were chopped up, as the district is proposing, lessons would be poorer, less creative, and student work hastily corrected.
Cap number of classes means how many different courses taught.
If I have to prepare for courses A, B, and C, I will write three lessons. If I have more courses, I still have only one preparation period to prepare them all. More different classes means lower quality preparation and response.
When will teachers have time to:
- Communicate with parents?
- Implement (state required) proficiency grading?
- Comply with new (state mandated) common core curriculum?
- help individual students during office hours?
Salary: MSD's offered "pay increase" means more work days, and combined with reductions in medical and retirement benefits, doesn't even keep up with inflation.
Stop the strike now. Work with, not against your teachers! — Holly Johnson, Ashland
With some teachers getting paid over $100,000 salary and benefits after 13 years, and 14 weeks vacation not including holidays, and only a 67 percent graduation rate, maybe the teachers now need to be retested to see if they're up to the capabilities needed to be a teacher. I think they're being way overpaid and they should be held accountable and given raises only when they reach a higher graduation rate. Keep up the good work, Superintendent Phil. — Jim Garner, Medford