Saturday, January 10, 2015
Reader: Why Joplin teachers need collective bargaining
If Joplin teachers have not walked off the job since the 1960s, they are to be commended, in light of what they endure. Missouri is 48th in the country for pay for teachers--only two states are worse, in other words--and Joplin teachers are paid way below the average for districts in this state. It is pathetic and a stark reminder of why collective bargaining is so vital to maintaining a learning community. Lack of pay, lack of respect, and lack of representation is why Joplin teachers have left en masse the last few years. There are far better districts surrounding Joplin.
Do not lef Huff or his team delude you with their statistics about the percentage of teachers leaving Joplin as opposed to the state or nation. That average also includes AmericaCorp teachers, who are only hired for two years, and it reflects the massive numbers of teacher flight in the inner-city schools. Some of that is attributed to AmericaCorp teachers, and some to difficult working conditions. The best comparison is the number of teachers leaving before Huff, after Huff, and after the tornado. Don't compare apples to oranges.
Joplin abuses its staff, from the top to the bottom, with the exception of those at the Administration Building and their pets who were willing to hurt others in order to propel themselves forward. Joplin Schools cannot succeed again until this mess is cleaned out and sent down the road. Teachers should demand this more than high raises, as we all know there is no money to be given out until the massive numbers of nonessential personnel are trimmed to a reasonable size. Collective bargaining can assist in driving that process, but it will take a new, stronger Board to ensure implementation. FEMA money could be as many as four years away. There are no reserves. The district is highly in debt. There will be job cuts. It's whose job, and what happens to the resources freed from those cuts, that will have to be the source of negotiation. You can rest assured that CJ, bless his sobbing little heart, will want to cut from the bottom of the stack and not the top, as the only support he has is his hired guns at the top. This must not be allowed to happen. It's time to make the voices of staff heard. All the staff. Not just the chosen few.