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work to rule


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Jun 21 2001 - 11:09:59 PDT

K. Mack writes

> This fall may be a little different for me though. Our teachers union may
> be protesting some heavy layoffs with a work to rule starting day one. I
> don't know how I can get my room ready in one day. It usually take s me at
> least 3 or 4 days of organizing. before school begins. I am lucky to have a
> job. They completely eliminated Home Ed and Tech Ed in my middle school
> system. I hope art is not next.

The first year I started teaching in my district we had a strike. Because
strike days are limited, when we had to return to work still without a
contract, we chose to work to rule. Believe me it was very difficult -
coming in at the bell and leaving at the bell - but ultimately, if every one
participates, very effective. We went without a contract for many months and
I was prepared to not have an art show (the contract was settled only a few
weeks before it).
Work to the rule shows how much we give, shows what is expected without
compensation, shows what we do because we are professionals.

We have a strong association in my district with a long history of battles.
I am grateful that it exists and more than happy to participate. When I
look across the country, and the inequities in salaries and the non-discrete
ways programs are eliminated, I wonder why organization is so weak I so many

If your district votes to work to rule I urge you to follow.
And if your art program is threatened, immediately call upon the state and
national art organizations for help. There is a National Standard for the
arts. I hope there are advocates prepared to fight in districts where there
is threat.

Good luck to you
and I know how hard it is.