Monday, August 21, 2006

Elmhurst Teachers Council Vs. Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205

We all went to school. We all had teachers. Some good. Some bad. Some competent. Some incompetent. But occasionally we have a great teacher. It doesn't happen often when you figure how many teachers you had in your life.

I consider myself lucky I had as many good ones as I did. Most were merely there to hand me tests, grade those tests and record that I had fulfilled the requirements of that class.

Some took the time to construct their class to maximize learning. Took the time to make sure I was learning. Took the time to make sure I understood the work. The ideas. Took the time to teach me how to teach myself for the rest of my life. The kind of teachers I hope The Boys have.

One of those great ones was Mrs. Joan Davis. My sophomore criminology and junior U.S. History teacher at York Community High School in Elmhurst. I learned more getting D's in her class than any A's I got. (I didn't get many.)

Joan, as she makes me call her now, has been in the news (here, here and here) a lot lately in Elmhurst. She is the Elmhurst Teachers Councils Chief Negotiator in the negotiations with the 205 School Board.

The teachers have no contract.

From what I understand the teachers want more money based on two reasons;
  1. To create an attractive job for better teachers to come to District 205.
  2. To properly compensate the teachers for rising living costs.
The School board claims the salary requests are at odds with the money they have.

Seems like a classic Labor Vs. Management debate. My sympathies lie with the teachers, but I also understand that there are limits to everything and a need to operate things with financial responsibility.

I'm going to try and find out more about this. I'm rather naive when it comes to these things. I've never been in a union. I've never been in Management. I've never been a teacher. I've never been on a school board.

But I have been a student. Not a good student but... A student of Mrs. Davis, and I'll tell you this. As a student, teachers like Joan Davis are worth it and don't come around often.


Joan said...

This is my first response to a blog - I feel old. Thanks for the kind words, Phil. Teaching is still as much fun as it has always been but negotiating a contract is NOT fun. You are right - teachers need a competitive salary but unlike big business, school districts don't have "big pockets". One correction-until we settle this, we are working under our old contract. As of now - all we want is for the Board to recognize that we are not replaceable, care about our students and deserve a little more.Keep you posted.

Adil Sardar said...

This might show my naivity, but I always wondered, do all the teachers get the exact same pay? If so, do they all deserve the same, given that some good, some bad and then the few all-star that are great?

Wouldn't it be better to take money away from the bad, to give to the good and even more to the greats? Paying them based on the quality of their work (which I wouldn't even know how to measure as an outside observer -- yet it is something intrinsic that you know when you experiencing as a student)

Phil said...

From what I understand, all teachers do not get the same pay. That seems to be based on how long they have been teaching though and not based on any "success rate" qualifictions. If you've been there 5 years you get paid more then a 3rd year teacher.

I have no idea how to define a teacher success or their lack of it. Since there success is directly related to how hard the student works.

Thanks for reading.