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newsflash

United States

#1 Nov 30, 2011
PART 1

Published:
Monday, November 7, 2011 6:26 AM EST
To the editor:
If you ask any teacher or teacher union official, they will tell you that smaller class sizes are good for kids. In fact, they advocate vehemently for smaller classes.
Two years ago, the Oswego school board found a way to decrease class sizes without increasing costs. We decided that we would require our middle school and high school teachers to teach six classes of approximately 20 students, instead of five classes of approximately 25 students. The logic of this decision is obvious. The teachers are already in the building; why not have them spend more of that time in the classroom?
Our teachers are some of the highest paid and benefited professionals in the United States. Their wages and benefits have grown to the point where they are barely affordable. They are in fact, unsustainable. By requiring our teachers to spend six periods teaching instead of five, the school board found a way to reduce class sizes and more fully utilize the skills of our teachers, and save money too. In plain language, we simply asked our teachers to spend more time doing what they are being paid for — teaching. We did not ask them to teach more kids. We gave them the opportunity to teach smaller classes.
The six teaching period day technically went into effect for the 2010 school year. The teacher union began fighting the six period teaching request immediately. We currently are in litigation with the union over their demand to be compensated an additional $5,000 to every teacher who taught six periods during 2010.
This year our teachers are back to a five-period teaching day. They fought with tenacity to teach larger classes, to the detriment of their students, in order to have an extra free period each day.
newsflash

United States

#2 Nov 30, 2011
PART 2

The school day in the Oswego City School District is seven hours and 10 minutes long, including lunch. Of course, if you do not consider lunch to be work, our teacher workday is slightly less than six and a half hours. The day is divided into nine periods of 43-minute duration.
When our teachers were teaching six periods, they were spending a whopping four hours and 18 minutes in the classroom each day. Now that they are back to five teaching periods, they are spending a total of 215 minutes in the classroom per day. That adds up to three hours and 35 minutes. The rest of their seven hour and 10 minute day is spent in planning periods, free periods, cafeteria duty, study hall duty and, of course, lunch.
Teachers in the Oswego City School District are unwilling to have parent-teacher conferences after school, so they also have as many as 10 half-days off for parent teacher meetings. They also have two nonteaching superintendent days for professional development. This results in a grand total of 168 full teaching days for the entire year, with only three hours and 35 minutes spent in the classroom on each of these days. A substantial portion of each teaching period is devoted to taking attendance and simply preparing for instruction. So, our high school and middle school teachers actually only spend around three hours a day teaching, and sometimes much less.
If you subtract the available 10 personal days and five sick days, the number of full days actually spent teaching can dwindle to as low as 153 per year. This multiplies out to somewhere around 460 hours of actual teaching time in an entire school year.
The Oswego Classroom Teachers Association (OCTA) president is also given an additional half day off every week for union duties. He takes this half-day on Friday afternoon on most occasions. In 2010, the OCTA president took 28 half days on top of his personal days, sick days, parent conference days and superintendent days. Out of a 180-day school year, the elementary school students being taught by the OCTA president had substitute teachers on 43 days in 2010. They also had no instruction on the two superintendent days. These elementary children only had a full day of instruction with their “teacher” on 125 days out of the entire school year.
Most of our new teachers are pulled from as much as 10 percent of their teaching time for “mentoring.” Their mentors are also pulled from teaching time in order to provide this additional professional development. For some reason, teaching time is used for mentoring instead of free periods, planning periods, cafeteria duty periods, study hall periods or lunch period. Mentors are paid extra compensation.
Last year, the school board asked our teachers to sign in and sign out every time they left the building. We spent more than $100,000 on a fancy time clock system to comply with our auditor’s recommendation that we keep track of where the staff is at any given time.
The teachers union immediately protested this requirement. The argument was that our teachers are salaried professionals and they should not have to be subjected to the indignity of flashing their time cards at the electronic time clock.(Private sector take note.)
Now our teachers are only required to sign in when they come to work. If they leave the building during one of their four free periods, they are not required to sign out or back in.
This year, at least three of our schools are on the “Schools in need of improvement” list.
Any questions?
Fran Hoefer
Oswego City School
District
Board of Education
Not an authority

Auburn, NY

#3 Nov 30, 2011
I can see you're not an educator, nor are you an authority on this issue. Those "free" periods are used for planning, grading, communicating with parents, photocopying, and sometimes even providing the role of parent, which is so often forgotten at home by the students' real parents.

Get a clue. And a life.
Also

Auburn, NY

#4 Nov 30, 2011
This is the Dolgeville forum, not the Oswego one.
oh mygoodness

New York, NY

#5 Nov 30, 2011
Also wrote:
This is the Dolgeville forum, not the Oswego one.
if you change the name i am sure the well written statement would still hold true for dolgeville.
goomba

New York, NY

#6 Nov 30, 2011
why is china kicking our a$$?
Larry

South Butler, NY

#7 Nov 30, 2011
Our teachers are quite an entitled bunch.Lining their pockets with money designated for the students.There is no way anyone can honestly justify the greed.
salisbury

New York, NY

#8 Nov 30, 2011
abolish the U.S. dept of education! put the education of our kids back in the proper hands, the parents, school boards and the states.

the retards in D.C. can't even balance the budget and you idiots want them running the schools and healthcare? LMFAO!!
Re Salisbury

Auburn, NY

#9 Nov 30, 2011
You're utterly offensive. I truly hope you're not one of the parents you're talking about who we should put their kids back in their hands...
In response to Larry

Auburn, NY

#10 Nov 30, 2011
Greed? What other occupation is there in which a person who MUST have a master's degree starts their career under $40,000 per year? Tough angle to take, Larry.
Unions

New York, NY

#11 Dec 1, 2011
Teacher's Unions (and unions is general) are the cause of ruination of our schools and everything else they're involved in.
You really can't blame the teachers themselves.
Unions hold hostage to the schools (or company) blackmailing them into doing what's right for the Union Leaders only, not the teachers, workers and especially not or kids or any company.
Funny how the union leaders become wealthy but the workers they represent are out of work half the year but still have to pay those union dues. The workers are content with collecting unemployment from the company while they sit on their a$$es half the year too.
Unions cause us to keep substandard teachers teaching our children. They force companies to keep workers that are lazy and incompetant.
The unions use Mafia like tactics. Heck, most of the union leaders ARE associated with the mob.
Unions are what's destroying this country.
I'm betting there'll be a bunch of union mentality morons replying to this. Out of work with with nothing better to do then cruise Topix while waiting for their next unemployment check.
What

South Butler, NY

#12 Dec 1, 2011
In response to Larry wrote:
Greed? What other occupation is there in which a person who MUST have a master's degree starts their career under $40,000 per year? Tough angle to take, Larry.
You just proved the entitled point.Basically a part time job starting at $40,000 and then a short time later a teachers salary doubles.When most of the budget goes to salaries you are hurting the students. Now that's a tough angle to take!
newsflash

United States

#13 Dec 1, 2011
Merge and give a raise that's all this garbage is about. Don't fix the problem just cover it up with money. In the end the kids suffer the most and those that stay in the area flip the crazy debt bill with outreagous taxes!
Setitstr8

New York, NY

#14 Dec 1, 2011
OK, so if you don't like teachers having time to do all the bs duties like lunch and study hall then take them out of the school schedule. We can trust our kids without adult supervision can't we? Don't like teachers to have time to plan lessons,correct papers, meet with parents and other professional duties that the STATE requires?- no problem. In the private sector people who perform work duties outside of their regularly scheduled work day are paid overtime. Can't afford all this? Ok- go ahead and lay teachers off. Oh wait a minute, then you would have to educate all your little Einsteins at HOME- all day-and be responsible YOURSELF for your kid passing a test. So if they fail,can we put you on a needs improvement list and fire you as a parent? And let's not forget that with all the teachers laid off and not paying into the system there will be MEDICAID and WELFARE reform because the teachers won't be paying for all the losers anymore. I'm actually liking this!
Green

South Butler, NY

#15 Dec 1, 2011
Setitstr8 wrote:
OK, so if you don't like teachers having time to do all the bs duties like lunch and study hall then take them out of the school schedule. We can trust our kids without adult supervision can't we? Don't like teachers to have time to plan lessons,correct papers, meet with parents and other professional duties that the STATE requires?- no problem. In the private sector people who perform work duties outside of their regularly scheduled work day are paid overtime. Can't afford all this? Ok- go ahead and lay teachers off. Oh wait a minute, then you would have to educate all your little Einsteins at HOME- all day-and be responsible YOURSELF for your kid passing a test. So if they fail,can we put you on a needs improvement list and fire you as a parent? And let's not forget that with all the teachers laid off and not paying into the system there will be MEDICAID and WELFARE reform because the teachers won't be paying for all the losers anymore. I'm actually liking this!
I would love to see a teacher work a real job.
oh mygoodness

New York, NY

#16 Dec 1, 2011
Setitstr8 wrote:
OK, so if you don't like teachers having time to do all the bs duties like lunch and study hall then take them out of the school schedule. We can trust our kids without adult supervision can't we? Don't like teachers to have time to plan lessons,correct papers, meet with parents and other professional duties that the STATE requires?- no problem. In the private sector people who perform work duties outside of their regularly scheduled work day are paid overtime. Can't afford all this? Ok- go ahead and lay teachers off. Oh wait a minute, then you would have to educate all your little Einsteins at HOME- all day-and be responsible YOURSELF for your kid passing a test. So if they fail,can we put you on a needs improvement list and fire you as a parent? And let's not forget that with all the teachers laid off and not paying into the system there will be MEDICAID and WELFARE reform because the teachers won't be paying for all the losers anymore. I'm actually liking this!
i'm sorry to say this, but you state that if teachers are laid off they will not be paying into the system they " won't be paying for all the losers anymore". i believe that you as a teacher are almost as responsible for "the losers" as are their parents. unfortunately thru whatever reason you teachers must teach, most of you are sorely lacking. it is a job and you are protected from any reprecussions by your union. perhaps if you gave up bitching and did the job to the best of your ability rather than whine about every thing the kids would be better off and maybe a few more could read and write. you are paid well and after a while have a guarenteed life time job. you have plenty of time off to do all your work and prepare for classes.
Audi

South Butler, NY

#17 Dec 2, 2011
Green wrote:
<quoted text>I would love to see a teacher work a real job.
Yeah, how do they manage the stress with their work schedule. Christmas,February,April.summe r vacation not to mention all the sick and personal days.I understand the teachers are calling in sick in droves but are spotted christmas shopping at the mall seemingly healthy.
abolish teacher union

Durhamville, NY

#18 Dec 2, 2011
Anyway to break the union up? If not, we should all be teachers. Private schools way to go.
proud educator

Brooklyn, NY

#19 Dec 3, 2011
If you have never taught students in a classroom don't make judgements. You have no idea how difficult it is. If you want to only work 185 days a year, then maybe you should go to college, for the 7 years that I did. Then you can also pay back the 60,000 in loans that I owe. My starting salary was 34,000! Far from all this MONEY that we are supposedly making. I have no clue where your getting your informaion, but it's not accurate. We pay to be part of the union and we pay for our benefits. I pay almost $200 out of every check for health insurance that doesn't cover dental or vision. We only receive 3 personal days, and 12 sick days per year. We don't get paid over the summer. We have lunch, roughly 30 minutes, and a planning period for about the same amount of time everyday. Most of that time is spent assisting students with extra help. So as I've said, your comments are completely judgemental. If you want to know what really goes on, I suggest you spend some time at your local school district, in some classrooms. Then maybe you will have a leg to stand on with your useless comments.
oh my

New York, NY

#20 Dec 3, 2011
proud educator wrote:
If you have never taught students in a classroom don't make judgements. You have no idea how difficult it is. If you want to only work 185 days a year, then maybe you should go to college, for the 7 years that I did. Then you can also pay back the 60,000 in loans that I owe. My starting salary was 34,000! Far from all this MONEY that we are supposedly making. I have no clue where your getting your informaion, but it's not accurate. We pay to be part of the union and we pay for our benefits. I pay almost $200 out of every check for health insurance that doesn't cover dental or vision. We only receive 3 personal days, and 12 sick days per year. We don't get paid over the summer. We have lunch, roughly 30 minutes, and a planning period for about the same amount of time everyday. Most of that time is spent assisting students with extra help. So as I've said, your comments are completely judgemental. If you want to know what really goes on, I suggest you spend some time at your local school district, in some classrooms. Then maybe you will have a leg to stand on with your useless comments.
i think before you start whining about your over educated/ underpaid vocation there is one thing you should remember-- YOU chose your vocation. i am sure you knew exactly what it included before you went to school for 7 years so you could whine about it. i think the sayng goes-- if you can't do - teach.

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