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RE: [teacherartexchange] Question about Working Conditions

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From: San D Hasselman (shasselman_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Feb 15 2011 - 05:23:35 PST


I see much to fear about legislation that will remove tenure for non-academic teachers. My husband however, thinks removing tenure is a good thing, so I guess it is a matter of perspective. ask him this question all of the time " if there are given percentage of bad doctors, plumbers and politicians in life, isn't the same percentage in teaching?" So why are we concentrating only on the bad teachers we can't "remove" in life because of tenure"?
 
My fears (again for non academic teachers) are the following, based on public perception:
 
a) Academic teachers can "prove" their worthiness through standardized test results.
b) We in the non academic world make everything look "fun, easy, pleasureable" for kids and the results are "pretty, nice, and useless".
c) We in the non academic world are not "preparing" students for "the real world".
d) Anyone's "daughter, sister, wife, brother, husband" can teach what we teach, and the "mayor, board members, et al" all have friends, relatives, and neighbors that can do better than you for less the money.
 
As for working conditions, I doubt anything will really change that much, removing tenure isn't reinventing the school system with it's quirky schedules. That needs a master planner. The reason we as art teachers have wacky schedules is because they don't care about US, but about the academic teachers and how we fit into their schedules. I doubt that will change much. I actually taught high school at one point where all non academic teachers taught 1 more period than everyone else. We fought hard to prove our diplomas were not PINK, but the same color as everyone else's and eventually got it changed to where we all taught the same amount of periods. And that was with a union in place.
 
Everyone that knows me would say (prior to me retiring) that I would have nothing to fear if they removed tenure because of my reputation and working habits. I probably would have been the first one they would have laid off. Why? I made too much money. (And the kid that replaced me now was a former student, a darling of the community, but waited for two years for me to retire). While the community liked me (I do believe) it would be one of these "nothing personal, but we need to save money, you understand" deals. I left at 61, still young enough to "engage" the students (again, I believe), but we have two secretaries at our school who are 79 and 73 respectively, and their young male bosses are circling in the "get rid of tenure" tank. It's a sign I might be right.
 
 
San D

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