Sunday, December 9, 2007

So close and yet so far

The teacher bargaining team spent all last week negotiating. It was hard to know what to post because after each meeting we would find ourselves on the verge of progress, but not enough to announce anything. After 2 marathon sessions on Thursday and Friday we still found ourselves on the verge of something, but you know close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, as well as the occasional bocce ball game, I suppose. We have 2 sessions planned this week: Wednesday 3-7 and Thursday 3-7. We will do everything we can to have something ready to share before teachers leave for winter break.

It is aggravating, to say the least, to try to wrap up negotiations and bring forward a settlement we are not just willing to show members, but are proud to show members, and to have 7 different program changes going on as well. Any sort of change, even if it is exciting, expected, and good, can be scary because it involves giving up some or much of what you know for what you don't know. Add to that pages of the contract that don't get read by entire staffs very often, programs and teaching methods that some members are absolutely committed to, programs and teaching methods that some members are being asked to give up, staff teams who have been told they and their work is extremely valued, staff teams who have been told that their ideas just aren't cutting it, teachers who want a say in proposed changes, teachers who just want to be told what it is going to be so they can commit or move on, and other school staffs quietly waiting for the other shoe to drop on them and you have a heckuva time talking about contract language in the abstract. SPFT is completely committed to getting our contract settled and getting questions about these program changes answered simultaneously. It reminds me of my favorite quote from the Marines: The difficult we do right away, the impossible takes a little longer.

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