Saturday, January 19, 2019

Vacation Negotiations

So, how is everybody enjoying their extra vacation? All those teachers in Los Angeles who are taking an extra few days to march around in the rain instead of attending to things in their classrooms. We call this a "strike." It is an interruption in the services generally considered to be automatic in the United States of America. Public education is the stuff of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I work at a school named for the gentleman who is referred to as the father of public education, Horace Mann. Horace figured, way back when, that basic literacy and familiarity with the basic tenets of their government was vital to keeping a democracy alive. He said, "A republican form of government, without intelligence in the people, must be, on a vast scale, what a mad-house, without superintendent or keepers, would be on a small one." 
If you're wondering if there is some connection between "republican" and our current "Republican," you need not search long. It's there. 
Meanwhile, as my own teacher's union continues to support those who are striving for better pay and lower class size, I find myself on the cusp of walking out myself. What if my local votes to strike? What about all these kids that I work with every day? Their families and this community? How will they handle hearing that their children's teachers feel they are underpaid and overwhelmed? Having a salary to negotiate in the first place is a luxury tow which many of our parents can't relate. Their day-to-day routines will be fully impacted without a public school to tend and teach their kids. What sort of solidarity can we hope to generate here in urban Oakland?
Hypothetically, a lot. The "what if" discussions that have taken place over the past few weeks have been mildly encouraging. But when the second or third day comes around and finding day care for three small children who need someplace to stay while mom and/or dad head off to their paid by the hour jobs. Parents who are routinely challenged by the options of coming to school to pick up their sick or misbehaving child or finding a way to negotiate the situation so they don't have to leave work. 
Meanwhile, the government shutdown continues. As does the "vacation." 

No comments: