February 23, 2012

Letter to SDEA President, Bill Freeman

My Take On Our Budget Situation:

I’ve written an open letter to our school district superintendent as well as our board of education, which you can find at http://jrussellteacher.blogspot.com about the effects of my being excessed and my expectation of a pink slip. But, as those fairly unavoidable conclusions move forward, I am beginning to realize and fully believe that my outcry is going in the wrong direction.

The San Diego Education Association is, by its title alone, a union that is designed to support education. We are in an economic crisis in our country that cannot be wished away by hiding behind contracts and previous negotiations. I realize that we, as the teachers in this school district, have done our parts in order to keep this district afloat, but once again, it’s not enough.

It’s time for us to not only do what is right for individual members, but to do what is right for the group as a whole. Maintaining furlough days and extending the wait for our “fairly negotiated raises” is not a move by the school district to gouge its employees. It is a move to keep staffing and classroom sizes at reasonable levels. It is a move that will keep every single one of your card carrying, due paying union members in a job so they can continue to carry those cards and pay those dues.

When it was time for our wages to be cut, how did the union work to mitigate that loss? Did you decrease the amount of money you take out monthly for our dues? Did you work to solve the economic problems of the state that are really to blame for these problems? Or, did you stand back, upon your pedestal, looking down at those you claim to serve, telling us that we’ve done our part and it’s time for someone else to do so.

Stop encouraging others to act and do so yourself. Your union, and at this point I mean your and not my, represents the second largest school district in the state of California, something you pointed out to the board when you encouraged them to take political action. Now it is time to do so yourself. It is time to serve me as well as the students that I serve.

Please do not hide behind rhetoric or the status quo. I would like to believe that I’m here to stay, not because I need a job, but because I love what I do and I’m good at it.

Thank you for your time and your service.

-Jeffrey Russell
Thurgood Marshall Middle School
English and Theatre Teacher

No comments: