Sunday, September 21, 2003

Yet another week without school...

Sorry I've been so lax on posting lately, but I've been very busy and/or tired. I had hoped to get a lot done this weekend, but two big family events came up suddenly — one of them being a baby shower for my sister visiting from West Virginia, and the other being Laura's brother's wife coming from Maryland for a visit with our latest nephew. He's very charming. On top of that, I've been working hard at Sylvan, but fortunately they gave me Saturday off so I could get some badly needed rest.

"All well and good," I can hear you say, "but what about the strike?" Oh, lots of developments there! Thursday proved to be not much, just our usual picket line at the school. Friday was more interesting, as we finally started picketing the central administration office. This actually started Thursday, but they're rotating schools in and out, so our first shift was Friday morning. We were there for two hours, then as we left, many of us honked our horns to those still there. Well apparently one of my colleagues honked a little two eagerly, and too near the cop who had come to keep us all orderly, as he got pulled over and given a ticket. Of course, word got back to the line, and by the time the cop had written the ticket, over $100 had been collected to pay his fine! I really like the teachers in this district!

Talks continued for another six hours on Thursday, but it sounds like not a lot happened. The district is still offering the same money, just shifting it around so a different group gets their pay cut. The district has already cancelled school for all of this week, and talks aren't scheduled to resume again until Tuesday, so I doubt I'll be back to work any time soon.

Now the students are getting involved. One student at the high school, who wanted to go back to school, went to the district and got their latest proposal, and did some number crunching. Sure enough, he found that the teachers would be losing money. He's now in favor of the strike. And the ASB president at the high school has started organizing a sit in at the district headquarters to get everyone back to talking. I have no idea how effective that will be, but anyone who claims that the students aren't learning anything from this strike should think about what these students are doing.

The parents, meanwhile, decided not to try to meet with the school board yesterday. Instead, they've scheduled a meeting for Wednesday night, and basically told the board, be there or else. I don't hold out a lot of hope for that, however, as the board has made it very clear that they're not going to meet with anyone until the strike is settled. Yeah, that's a real mature way to handle conflicts...

One of the board members lives right across the street from one of the elementary schools, and seems to be cracking a bit. He called the cops to ticket teachers' cars near his house because they were blocking mailboxes! The police came out, took one look, and said there was no illegal activity going on.

The MEA's office was vandalized. Someone threw a brick through the window.

One of the district's latest tactics? They're accusing the strike of being all part of a conspiracy by the state union, the WEA. Uh-huh, yeah. I don't see how you can convince 98% of the teachers in a district to be part of a conspiracy. But if it is a conspiracy, I wish someone would actually tell me so that I can start denying that there's a conspiracy.

And finally, the one school board position that had no one file now has candidates. The incumbent, who told people how much she hated the job and didn't want to do it anymore, filed, along with two challengers. This all happened after the primary, so there will actually be three candidates on the November ballot. One of the candidates — not the incumbent — was at district HQ on Friday passing out campaign leaflets and envelopes for contributions. I'm sure she'll be getting some money from teachers for her campaign (I just wish I could contribute). For those keeping score, there are five seats on the school board, and three of them are up for election in November. If the results of the primary are anything to go by, there could very well be three brand new school board members come November.

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