Monday, August 28, 2006

Teachers and the Administration

Detroit Public School (DPS) teachers rejected their contract presented to them yesterday. They have chosen to strike. The superintendent says a strike is illegal. A week or so ago, Northwest airlines flight attendants rejected their contract and also chose to, not strike but, create chaos. Northwest airlines says they can’t strike either. It all boils down to the same thing, delays going to work.

Here is my personal issue with both messes. First, with the teachers, the students will end up on the losing end. Yet, as a staunch union supporter and future teacher, I firmly believe the teachers have a right to fight for what they believe in, so too, the flight attendants at Northwest. Second, it is a shame that employers cannot seem to find common ground with their employees when it comes to working together. If all the cards are on the table, how hard can it be to reach a compromise?

That is where I find myself wondering if what I hear from both sides is the truth and nothing but the truth. Too many times in the past I have heard different explanations for conflicts. I hear more neighborhood type “he said, she said” garbage. So I ask again, what is the true story to these potential crisis?

When it comes to the DPS situation, the students will suffer. They are already behind the learning curve, nation and world wide. Anymore delays to their education would not be beneficial to them. Yes, I understand the teachers may be having a hard time teaching. With lack of supplies, space, and support, it is obvious to teach is daunting. But where is a line drawn when it comes to the students?

Over and over I find myself caught, as the old saying goes, “between a rock and a hard place.” In other words, dam if I do and dam if I don’t. I want to believe that DPS teachers are fighting for a just cause. But, I did not return to school to get a teaching certificate just to acquire it and not teach. The drama going on now is only a repeat of past years.

If the problems weren’t solved then, why is the system still operating using the same manual? As a lover of “more education,” I am now beginning to wonder about taking part in the educational system we have now. The current system in Detroit is broken and no one wants to concede to that thought. Reason being, it would require gutting it and rebuilding from the ground up, like a building. We all know that says “more money” which Detroit claims they don’t have.

It is said the population in the city is down, therefore, school needs are down. Tell that to the students who still live here. Somehow, I have a hard time understanding if the body numbers are lower and the costs are higher, whose paying for the decision makers and with what money? Maybe it’s time to get better money managers.

However long this battle goes on, I hope the students are not forgotten. We all know missed school days lead only to missed education. I think we’ve committed enough of that crime already.


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