Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Our teacher team met tonight for a few hours just to recalibrate our commitment to proposals we have already made, interests still on the back burner, and to clarify not only where we stand on issues important to us, but why we are standing there as well. I am never disappointed by this team. While we have frequent reality checks concerning the 'world enough and time' we have to accomplish everything we want to accomplish, most often the discussion revolves around why our requests are more urgent than usual. We have a tremendous window of opportunity to make our contract a powerful tool to attract and retain a very high quality and sought after work force. In this economy, and with our typical level of education, SPPS is no longer competing with other school districts for employees. While that is still the case, that is only part of the story. We are now competing with other occupations for employees. Being mindful of that has lead to some interesting new contract language opportunities, as well as revisiting past contract language suggestions that are just as relevant now as they were when past bargaining teams first proposed them.

If we can be ambitious at the same time we address a healthy workload, we could be well on our way to leaving this career a little better than the way we found it for those teachers who will spend their entire careers in the 21st century. Having a conversation around a professional workday and the professional pay that goes with it is another opportunity to leave a legacy of respect and opportunity for our next generation of teachers. Opportunities like this remind me that in our union's history there were good men and women who believed I deserved to keep my job even if I got married, or believed I could keep teaching even though I was having a baby even in the middle of being denied those rights themselves. They thought beyond themselves, and now I am a beneficiary of their selflessness. That thinking is a perfect embodiment of what it means to work for the collective good in a union. I am profoundly grateful for those rights as well as others, and humbled by the opportunity I have, indeed our whole bargaining team has, to bring about rights for others in the same spirit.

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