Archive for Saturday, July 14, 2007

Teacher planning time issue on hold

Education association, district agree to study plan for one year

July 14, 2007


School District still working out details for upcoming school year

The start of the school year is just weeks away and the Lawrence School District and the local teacher's union are still trying to hash out details for the new year. Enlarge video

Elementary teachers may have to wait until 2008 to get extra time to plan their classes.

Negotiators for the Lawrence Education Association and the Lawrence school district decided Friday to put the issue on hold for one year in order to give each side more time to study the issue.

"I wouldn't say we're backing away from it," said Kelly Barker, LEA's chief negotiator. "What we're doing is we're continuing to take the plan that we have and we want to figure out how to implement it. We realize that's going to take a little bit more time than we thought."

The two sides drew up a "memo of understanding" that states they will continue to study the issue of giving elementary teachers at least five hours and 25 minutes of planning time per week, and that a plan should be implemented in time for the 2008-09 school year.

Negotiators also discussed getting rid of the district's early retirement program. The changes would apply only to those hired after the 2007-08 school year.

Kim Bodensteiner, administrator and chief negotiator for the district, said the existing early retirement system is too costly.

If a teacher's age and years of service add up to at least 85, he or she can get retirement benefits.

This year, 26 employees in the district took advantage of the early retirement system, while seven employees took regular retirement.

"We think that there are some other ways that we can craft a plan that would be more beneficial to employees and would help them build more funds for retirement in a different way," she said.

But money continues to be the sticking point for the two groups.

Negotiators for the district have offered teachers a pool of $1.2 million for a salary increase, health insurance costs and early retirement benefits. LEA, however, is asking them to spend $2.8 million.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 10 months ago

How much of your work do you do at home, after an already full workday, b3?

Martin_D_15 10 years, 10 months ago

what a bunch of WHINERS!!!

work 8 months, get paid for a whole year, wah, wah, wah!!!

then they also get Wednesday afternoons off, plan then!

stupid whiners.

mick 10 years, 10 months ago

They're bad and they're nationwide. They demand full time pay for part time work.

imastinker 10 years, 10 months ago

Bozo -

There are many people out there that do lots of work outside the office. At many offices it's expected that planning and organizing occur outside the regular workday. You come in early or stay late to organize yourself.

nell 10 years, 10 months ago

I really admire people who have the energy to devote all of their attention for hours to a classroom full of K-6 age students, and accommodate students with a variety of special needs such as autism, speech disorders, learning issues, medication schedules, accelerated programs, etc., and be sure to teach to the tests required by NCLB for fear of losing funding (even though students who didn't acheive last year have been pushed up a grade and trail behind), and, on top of that, try motivate students not just to attend to reading/math but to explore the world and learn how to be part of our culture. Personally, I'd run screaming.

Good teachers make a significant impact in their students' lives and they are not particularly well-rewarded financially or, these days, well-respected in the community.

Sure there are teachers operating who shouldn't be - the burned-out, the small-minded, the slackers - but I doubt we'll see a difference until we reform the system to make the work more reasonable and to attract better candidates.

The few hours of planning time mentioned in the article is a bandaid. Early retirement plans should be expendable - seems like this is how the system has rewarded burn-out for years.

Steve Jacob 10 years, 10 months ago

"If a teacher's age and years of service add up to at least 85, he or she can get retirement benefits"

Thats early retirement? If you start at say 25, and work 30 years, you deserve to retire if you can.

vegasartie 10 years, 10 months ago

Most of these comments are too transparent to merit comment. But I'm sick of people complaining that teachers work 9 months and get paid for 12. Teachers work under contract and are paid only for work days. Their pay is generally spread over twelve months rather than nine for obvious practical reasons. No teacher is ever paid for any day they do not work. Ever.

As for the idea of getting paid full time for a part time job, that too is a misnomer. Teacher's contracts specify the number of hours per day they earn money. They are only paid for those hours. If a teacher misses hours, the teacher loses money. Work a half day, get paid for half a day.

Most of these posters sound jealous of teachers. What's funny is that their jealousy is based on their own ignorance, and I imagine, greed.

Martin_D_15 10 years, 10 months ago

wah, wah, wah, what a bunch of whiners.

if you can read this, thank a teacher.

if you can read this in English, thank an American Soldier!

Soldiers are the REAL HEROES!!!

Michele Trompeter 10 years, 10 months ago

Walk a mile in a teacher's shoes before you comment about teachers working part time for full time pay, having Wednesday's off, whining about working at home, etc. If you haven't been there, and being a student in public schools does not count as being there, then don't make crass comments about teachers. Way to go nell and vegasartie!

Richard Heckler 10 years, 10 months ago

I support a tax increase for teachers for I believe education is a best bang for a buck investment.

Excellent public education services are good for economic growth which is why the city of Lawrence should consider choosing education as its' primary industry to invest tax dollars and forget about trying to become another shop till you drop town.

Why not build a Vo-Tech Campus and a Community College. KU would likely benefit. Education has been good for Lawrence business. Education provides a substantial payback. Education will always be necessary.

bhanson 10 years, 10 months ago

Most people have time to prepare at work for presentations among other things that are a part of their job. Teachers do spend a large amount of time planning, grading, and preparing to do their jobs at home. Teachers are paid per day for work and I like most expand this pay over 12 months for budgetng purposes. My wife has tried to convince me to leave the teaching profession for a couple of years because of the lack of pay and last year loosely tracked the hours that I spent at school either preparing to teach, teaching, coaching or doing other school related duties. My hours spread over 12 month equaled roughly a 50 to 55 hour work week. I have a masters degree and make about $13 per hour. For most teachers teaching is a labor of love, but if teachers are not rewarded for their efforts either through pay raises or increased plan time that will enable teachers to spend more time with their families or doing what they enjoy outside of the contract day then then good teachers who care about kids and work their tail ends off will continue to leave the profession. Also Lawrence will continue to lose good teachers to Johnson County Schools until they increase their pay and at least become competitive from a salary standpoint. When I hear what many of you believe teaching is like and what you think of the teaching profession it makes me wonder why I continue to work my tail off for your kids or siblings. I believe that I will enter the "real world" where I can eat lunch when and where I want to, have weekends off, be able to afford to take my families on vacations, and not have people scream at me for a child's educational shortcomings that are more than likely caused by genetics rather than a lack of teaching.

multiagelearner 10 years, 10 months ago

"The teaching profession was NEVER intended to be a high paying job!" Who do you think is responsible for the lawyers and doctors abilities? It was never intended--it still isn't a high paying job! Follow a good teacher around for week and see the different roles that he/she play in a child's life. Do you sit and worry about your coworkers getting to eat dinner everynight? Sleep in a real bed? Pray they get attention and someone who loves them when they get home? Comfort them when they are scared, fall or are worried?
Teachers choose the profession because they love children, but they must also support families, pay bills, and pay rent or a mortage. If you want to talk overpayed, check out what the "brass" at the district office make. Mr. Weseman is considerably overpaid for never finishing his doctoral program. Do you know how many districts in Kansas are paying 150+ to non-doctoral superintendents? Not many, and NONE are the size of Lawrence.
Oh, and when you are sick, do you spend hours writing plans for your job? NOPE. One of the few professions where is it is easier to go to work sick than stay home.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 10 months ago

A German surgeon informed us that doctors,lawyers and teachers are paid the same in Germany. Why? All make a substantial contribution to society.

How many Lawrence citizens with specialized degrees,masters or PHD's would feel rewarded at $13.00 per hour? Get real!

average 10 years, 10 months ago

If teaching paid somewhat better and we made it suck even somewhat less, more people would go into teaching and we could then talk about firing poor teachers.

As it stands now, there is a desperate need. It doesn't matter a whit how good or bad you are... if you are a certified teacher you will get a job and will have to screw up very badly to be fired. That's because teaching today is so awful that there are very few potential teachers to hire as a replacement. Some US districts now have recruiting trips to hire teachers from Russia, Argentina, or the Philippines.

storm 10 years, 10 months ago

Interesting article - too much water under the bridge - parents don't care anymore because their students are left alone every Wednesday afternoon. Why? Because every Wednesday, teachers dismiss classes. This is every Wednesday. They say it's for collaboration, whatev, other school districts collaborate once or twice a month. And they do it on a FRIDAY. Get it, a Friday, when working parents maybe take the day off early. No, parents have withdrawn support for teachers because of early dismissal. Try getting childcare in the middle of the week - no child care center operates that way.

sinkorswim 10 years, 10 months ago

Many of the responses here simply make me sick to my stomach. I am a teacher and have been with the district for more than fifteen years. The tone and attitude of most of the comments here are one of the reasons I'm seriously considering a change in profession. My education and dedication to the profession apparently aren't worthy of respect from some folks of this fine town. My love for teaching and watching children learn and grow just doesn't seem to be enough to make up for the lack of support. I know daycare providers with no college degree who earn more than I do. I'm growing weary of my own family having to sacrifice so I can be a good teacher. Those of you bashing Wednesday afternoon collaboration just don't get it. I welcome you to walk a week in my shoes. In reality, I think you'd run screaming after a couple of hours.

By the way, some seem to think teachers spend the summer laying by the pool or shopping. I 'm hoping for a day to do so! So far, not a day has gone by that I haven't spent at least 4-5 hours working on the upcoming school year. In addition, I'm taking five hours of continuing know, just for fun! The fact it will keep me certified and allow me to move on the salary schedule are just little perks I'm providing for myself.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 10 months ago

plumberscrack-- Your attitude towards teachers and education, if widespread enough, would pretty well insure that only those who really don't give a sh*t would ever become teachers, which is all too prevalent as it is.

BTW, when a teacher takes early retirement, the benefits they recieve will be based on the amount that they have paid into the system. So there is a penalty involved, financially, in terms of retirement benefits. However, if they are still young enough to stay in the workforce, they will likely see a significant boost in their income merely by getting out of education.

Kathy Gates 10 years, 10 months ago

Plumberscrack--your argument about continuing ed would be valid if it took into account the fact that teachers do their continuing ed on their own time and out of their own pocket. Then there's the doctors and the lawyers, who do their continuing ed during the work week on the company's time--often at a resort somewhere.

sinkorswim 10 years, 10 months ago

plumberscrack -

The 4-5 hours a day really isn't an exaggeration. You clearly have no idea what is involved in teaching. I can't say it's true of all teachers, but the teachers I know bust their fanny during the summer to prepare for the next year.

As for the continuing education, I wasn't complaining, merely stating a fact. Please don't talk to me about requirements from anyone. I'm very aware of ALL the requirements in the world of education today and fulfill these requirements as expected.

By the way, I am one of the "good" teachers you claim to respect. My students and their families have always known they could come to me for anything. I go the extra mile without being asked to make sure my students receive what they need emotionally and physically, in addition to academically. The kids are what keep drawing me back, despite the negative comments and attitudes that seem to come our way.

Do us all a favor and let the teachers who work your child know that you appreciate the time and effort they dedicate to your child. Everyone reacts positively to gratitude! It might even make you feel good.

I'm off now to (happily) do more homework!

Patty Buchholz 10 years, 10 months ago

We all make choices; some choose to go in the teaching profession, work 9-10 months at school, some choose to go to their classrooms in the summer, some choose to vacation for the months off and some choose to work second jobs. These are all personal choices, just like the rest of us make. We go to our 12 month a year jobs, take our vacation time for a child's track meet, to take parents to the doctor, maybe to do personal business, etc., once again, personal choice. We all like to make the most money possible and receive good benefits. My advice is be thankful if you are healthy enough to work - at any job- but especially one that you enjoy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 10 months ago

plumberscrack-- I fail to see why a teacher who is committed to their job shouldn't have and express the desire that their salary to be commensurate with the amount and quality of work that is required of them. Why do expect them just to shut up and be happy?

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 10 months ago

plumberscrack wrote: "GOOD teachers have my up most [sic] respect ...."

But, apparently, didn't have your attention in school....

perkins 10 years, 10 months ago

That early Wednesday dismissal does not help the Lawrence teachers in their plea for more planning time. I believe the teachers need several hours each and every day to plan, collaborate, get a cup of coffee before they pull their hair out or lose their cool with the kids. But the nearly half-day early dismissal on Wednesdays makes me less inclined to call up the superintendent or a board member to advocate for more teacher time away from the students. That Wednesday early dismissal was a blunder, public-relations wise.

manyblessings 10 years, 10 months ago

Government run schools should not be a taxpayer paid babysitting program. I think it would be great if public schools changed their time frame to a half day for students and the few hours after lunch devoted to teacher planning. Just go back to teaching the basics and cut out all social programs and health and P.E. and other things that children should be getting from home. If they want social programs let them go to churches or other non profit organizations. Seriously, when public education started in America it only took a few hours a day and only lasted a couple months out of the year, yet the students were much more literate than the ones today. They didn't waste time and money on all the nonsense we have now. The kids would probably appreciate it more if they didn't have to stay in an institution all day long and maybe we would see a lot less "ADHD". Let them have more time to run and play and get real exercise and have time to daydream and use their minds creatively. Of course parents would have to be willing to shut off their tv's and cut back on video games and maybe even to be around their kids more....

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 10 months ago

"Why? Don't we expect the city employees NOT get a 'cost of living' increase because we don't want to raise taxes to pay them?"

You can expect anything you like of them, but that doesn't mean you'll get it-- including that they will like it and/or pretend that they do. And you can expect that your kids will get a good education merely because of the selfless good will of teachers. Want a mediocre education for your kids? Then continue to treat the teachers like sh*t. In the end, you get what you pay for.

storm 10 years, 10 months ago

What day of the week does most teen mischief occur - including sex? Wednesday afternoon. What day is pedophile day on the computer? Wednesday afternoon. And even if the above were only conjecture and not really true, what day is the most unproductive day for employees who are parents in Lawrence? Wednesday afternoon. Oh, I appreciate the teachers' time, effort and dedication and I know they need collaboration with all the new laws and responsibilites - but children's safety is more important than all that. Refer to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

fliesinyoureyes 10 years, 10 months ago

plumber- 50% of teachers quit the profession after 3 years. Your rhetoric is the unfortunate reality. Teachers quickly discover that working in a public school is a sht job and they quit.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 10 months ago

The NEA will support merit raises for teachers if there was some way to do it objectively. Board members and administrators are human. They are mostly good, responsible people, but there are some who will use this power the wrong way. I knew a superintendent who raked a music teacher over the coals in front of her students, because she had given her daughter a detention. Do you think this teacher would have been recommended for a merit raise. She is an excellent teacher. If someone can come up with a plan to make the process fair, then I'm all for it. I think I'm a pretty good teacher, and would love to earn more. I came to teaching late in life, so I've held other jobs. The vast majority of jobs can be left at work. I never worried about taking a day off, because it wasn't as complicated teaching. Also, teachers are only paid for 9 (not 8) months. You can choose to divide it up by 9 months, or, like most, divide it by 12 months. For the family budget most choose 12 months.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 10 months ago

Oh, and to the person who talked about teachers in the past. They did not have to deal with all the bureaucratic crap the government is piling on schools, so they can destroy public education. Wait until you have to pay for private schools that need to make a profit. We'll end up a 3rd world country yet. A whole bunch of poor uneducated people, and a few filthy rich people. Everyone on this forum think they will be in the minority rich, but they will be wrong.

purplesage 10 years, 10 months ago

It is true enough that certain hours for an agreed upon rate of pay are negotiated and spelled out in the contract. Believe me, minutes matter, student contact days matter. Boards won't give a minute to a teacher and most teachers watch the clock like hawks. So, if they really don't have summer off, how about year around school?

While teachers may, on occasion, pay for a class, most districts allow and pay for attendance at workshops. Additionally, teachers receive several days of paid inservice each year. Salary goes up with completed course work. It goes up with years of experience. And it goes up substantially with a completed advanced degree.

Once they are "in the groove" they do the same thing, year after year, unless an administrator upsets the apple cart and makes them change grades. How much planning does that require? Drop by a teacher's lounge and see how much planning is going on!

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 10 months ago

plumberscrack wrote "We just can't quit a job because we don't get the raise we feel is right or do less work."

Sure we can. At least , we can in Kansas, which is a right-to-work State. We may not like the consequences of doing so, but we can quit a job for a good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all.

nell 10 years, 10 months ago

flies, ag (1:36), dorothy (3:15), and wilbur - thank you.

plumbers - you're more than just a crack.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 10 months ago

Going to workshops is not the only thing required of teachers during the summer, purplesage.

Continuing education, as in college courses, are required by every school district I know of. The cost of these classes every summer does indeed come out of the teacher's personal pocket. The district does not pay for them.

How many college courses do you think you could afford to pay for out of your own pocket every year?

A certain amount of in-service hours and continuing education every year is required for my job, too. However, the company pays us an hourly wage for all hours spent in in-service during the year. They also pay for the training. This is not true for teachers.

So, plumberscrack, teachers are supposed to be altruistic, noble people who care nothing about making money and supporting their families...but doctors don't have to be?

Tychoman 10 years, 10 months ago

Plan at home, teach at school, talk about lazy. Cry me a river. --Distinguished and obviously privately-educated poster b3.

what a bunch of whiners!!!

work 8 months, get paid for a whole year, wah, wah, wah!!!

then they also get Wednesday afternoons off, plan then!

stupid whiners. --Distinguished and articulate podunk Martin D 15.

They're bad and they're nationwide. They demand full time pay for part time work. --Distinguished jackass Mick.

My God, guys! Do you know the amount of BS from both students and administrators that teachers have to deal with? I honestly don't know where to start when it comes to dealing with idiots like you three.

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