Focus on Educators March 2010

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neighbors. Our educational system in California is experiencing a tremendous trauma. Cuts hurt. We all know that, but we need to tell the public just how serious these cuts are. As Open House approaches, I suggest that you make labels for items in your classroom that you paid for personally. When parents see the signs PAID FOR WITH MY PERSONAL MONEY it will open up a dialogue. Tell them that you subsidize a lot for your students, but with the budget cuts you don’t know how much more you can personally fund. D i d is waiting for us - educators - to tell them what is happening in our classrooms: Class sizes increased. The loss of intervention programs. The loss of summer school. The loss of support services. I recently sat in a staff meeting and we had the painful decision as to what to fund and what to cut. Why can’t we have it all? We are educating our future. How do you cut services for our future population? All certificated, classified and administrative personnel combined are not enough to strike a change. We need the community - parents, friends and family - to join in and be a part of the WE. To get there we have to begin a conversation. Begin this conversation with the opening line: “Do you know what these budget cuts are going to do?” and then take it from there because......they trust you!
focus on educators is an award winning publication of the Pittsburg Education Association/CTA/NEA _____________________________________________________________________________________
Volume XIX, Number 7
In this Issue
President’s Message & Informational Items… Pgs. 1-5 PEA Calendar………… The Last Page
PEA President’s Message
Thank you to all who participated in our March 4th We Stand For Schools day. This was the largest collective action that has ever been held for education but the action isn’t over yet. We need to make the WE bigger. We need to talk to people outside of our work environment. We need to expand our dialogue to our friends and families and to our
you know that 65% of the population in California TRUSTS teachers and what we have to say about how to educate our students? Regardless of demographics and what kind of community the surveying was taken, we are believed. People want to know what teachers think. Here is our golden opportunity. The public
Wag More, Bark Less!
Chris Coan PEA President
PEA Leadership 2009-2010 President Chris Coan
Willow Cove Elementary/ PEA Office
Elementary Vice President Cindy Joy
Parkside Elementary
Rep. Council Meeting Calendar
September 16 October 21 November 18 December 16 January 20 February 17 March 17 April 21 May 19 June 9 ******************
Secondary Vice President James Vaughan
Riverside High School
Secretary Sarah Mathias
Highlands Elementary
Treasurer Chris Rohde
Pittsburg High
Committee Chairs Grievance Committee Iris Contreras
Foothill Elementary
School Board Meeting Calendar
August 26 September 9 September 23 October 14 October 28 November 18 December 16 January 20 February 17 March 3 March 24 April 14 April 28 May 12 May 26 June 9 June 23 ******************
Richard Higgins
Pittsburg High
Negotiations Team Marc Sternberger - Chair Political Action Committee - Chair Elections Chair Jim Goble – Chair Human Rights Committee Ruth Foster – Chair Women’s Issues Committee Deborah Cummings PEA Organizing Team Leobardo Zamora - Chair CTA State Council Representatives Chris Rohde - Pittsburg High Denise James, Valorie Baca, Sandra Wilbanks - AEA Alternate Cindy Joy - Parkside Elementary CTA Director District C Eric Heins – Willow Cove Elementary NEA Director for California, District 3 Marc Sternberger – Special Education/MLK Technical Editor Susan Harrison – PEA Site Secretary Focus on Educators is a publication of the Pittsburg Education Association CTA/NEA 1901 Railroad Avenue #A & #B Pittsburg CA 94565 Phone: (925) 432-0199 fax: (925) 432-4854
Are you Getting your PEA Information???
Having the site reps attend their monthly meeting and then reporting back to you is vital in the communication chain of our Association. Roll call at last February 17th Rep. Council Meeting: Adult Ed. – absent Foothill – present Heights – present Highlands – present Los Medanos – present Marina Vista – absent Parkside – present Stoneman – present Willow Cove – present MLK – present Hillview – present Rancho Medanos – absent PHS – present
E-MAIL:[email protected] 2
Riverside – present
Communicating with Parents
Working with parents is an important and positive part of teaching. While it’s normal to feel a bit nervous when a parent asks to speak to you or to meet with you, there are some basic things you can do to make communication with parents enjoyable and productive. THE KEY IS TO ESTABLISH A PARTNERSHIP WITH YOUR STUDENTS’ PARENTS EARLY IN THE YEAR, AND THEN TO MAINTAIN IT THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. REACH OUT Start by sending a note to students and parents, welcoming them to your class. Or, have a letter ready to hand out the first day of school that introduces you to your class. It might include your goals for the year, and outline of the curriculum and/or your philosophy, a supply list, and some background information on you. A few days or a week later, you might send home another letter, describing your behavior management and homework policies. Be sure to have it returned, and signed by the parent and student. Cautionary note: most building principals will appreciate seeing a copy of any parent letter going home with students before it goes out. MAKE POSITIVE CALLS Too often, we call parents with a complaint about their child. How about a “just thought you’d like to know how well so and so is doing” call? It makes everyone – parents, students, and teachers – feel great! PROVIDE ENCOURAGEMENT Urge parents to provide their children with a quiet study area, a good breakfast, a time to read together, and guidance and supervision of TV viewing. WELCOME PARENTS INTO THE CLASSROOM Consider having parents come in as “special guests” or as speakers, or ask them to help with projects at home that require their assistance, while setting realistic limits at all times. TAKE CALLS AT SCHOOL You don’t have to give out your home number; it’s okay to “draw the line.” You can return calls when mutually convenient, either right after school, or in the evening. LETTERS You’ll get complimentary letters from parents, but you may also get inquiries that are based on misunderstandings, which can almost always be ironed out with a phone call.
ELECTRONIC MAIL If you’re “on-line,” and your students’ parents are too (just ask them), this can be an excellent way to stay in touch, answer questions, and communicate at everyone’s mutual convenience.
Professional Development Hours
When it is time to renew your credential, you may be asked to verify that you have completed 150 hours of professional development. Not everyone will be asked to show proof of this verification. The teacher credentialing department randomly chooses teachers to audit and so you may be asked to show evidence of completion of these hours. As a precaution, it is advisable to keep your own records. Have presenters sign statements verifying your participation. Be ready and prepared.
If You Have A Crisis, Here Is What To Do Until Help Arrives!
Every member has the right to representation any time he/she faces the administration concerning job related incidents. These tips are not intended to provide a substitute for competent staff and legal assistance. Rather, the information and suggestions provided could serve as a “first aid kit” about what one should know and do to protect one’s rights and interests until help can be summoned. A Site Rep should advise a member to act in accordance with these suggestions until staff can be contacted and fully apprised of the situation. By following these suggestions a member can protect himself/herself from undue job pressures.  DON’T RESIGN: Once you do, and the school board accepts your resignation, it generally cancels any rights you might otherwise exercise.  DON’T SIGN ANYTHING UNDER PRESSURE: Don’t be led into signing anything when you are under a time demand or otherwise pressured. Politely refuse and indicate you need time to think it over.  GET IT IN WRITING: Any agreements you reach with the school district or any proposals, statements or utterances received through the district’s representative(s) should be reduced to writing. If the district refuses to provide written documentation, you should write down the understanding reached and deliver a copy to the other party.  CONTACT THE ASSOCIATION: Involve the Grievance Rep immediately when doubts arise on contract questions. You should keep the Grievance Rep fully informed of the situation as soon as it occurs.
If a member is faced with an employment crisis, have him/her remain calm, don’t knuckle under pressure. Ask the member to take some time before a commitment or making a final decision. Contact the Association.
about resolving a problem should welcome a union’s participation. The choice, then, remains with the employer.
5. The employer has no duty to bargain with the
union representative at an investigation interview. The representative is present to assist the employee, and may attempt to clarify the facts or suggest other employees who may have knowledge of them. The employer, however, is free to insist that he is only interested, at that time, in hearing the employee’s own account of the matter under investigation.
The Weingarten Rule
This is a private sector rule that has been made applicable to Pubic School employees under the EERA. (See Redwood CCD v. PERB (1984) 159 Cal.App.3d 617.)
Budget Crisis
The Legislative Analyst’s Office recently reported that California will likely need to address another $20 billion shortfall in coming months, including a projected $6.3 billion deficit for the 2009-10 fiscal year, and a $14.4 billion gap between projected revenues and spending in 2010-11. Schools have already been decimated by the cuts sustained in the past two years. Additional cuts would be devastating. It's time to end the undemocratic requirement that a state budget needs a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to pass – and to overturn corporate tax breaks given this year to large companies by state lawmakers.
THE COURTS GUIDELINES: 1. The employee must request the representative. The right arises only in situations where the employee requests representation. The employee may and will forfeit this right if he/she goes ahead and meets with management without an Association Representative.
2. There must be a reasonable belief that discipline will
result from the investigatory meeting. Regular “run-of-the-mill” conversations with management such as review of job requirements or training will not be covered. However, the right to representation exists even in cases where no discipline does result from the interview. The right to representation is based on the reasonable belief of the employee, not anyone else in the situation. 3. The employer is not required to interview the employee. The employer may decide not to interview the employee, if the employee requests the presence of a union steward, but may continue the investigation. The employer does not have to justify his/her refusal to allow union representation. The employer is free to carry on the inquiry without interviewing the employee, and thus leave to the employee the choice between having an interview unaccompanied by his representative, or having no interview and forgoing any benefits that may be derived from one. If the employee refused to be interviewed without his/her Rep, the employer would then be free to act on the basis of information obtained from other sources. 4. Though this appears to leave the union and employee a choice to make, there is, in fact, nothing to be gained by meeting with management without one’s union representative. An employer who is serious
Close Corporate Tax Loopholes
Tax loopholes require no review for effectiveness. While public education and health care programs have been devastated by state budget cuts, big businesses have been handed tax breaks that will cost California taxpayers billions.
Complaints vs. Grievances
DEFINITION OF A GRIEVANCE: A grievance is defined as a claim that the district has violated an express term of the Agreement and that by reason of such violation the grievant’s rights under the Agreement have been adversely affected. All matters and disputes which do not fall within the above definition of a grievance are excluded from the grievance process. NO Contract is perfect. NOT EVERYTHING is included in the Contract.
The Contract ONLY covers those items agreed upon by both the Union and the District. A person can have a legitimate complaint which is not grievable. Other methods can resolve complaints.
MARCH 2010
3 PEA Executive Board – PEA Office – 1901 Railroad – 3:45 PM 17 St. Patrick’s Day 17 PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 7:00 PM 17 PEA Rep Council – PEA Office – 1901 Railroad – 3:45 PM 28 Palm Sunday 29 Passover begins at Sundown
APRIL 2010
1 2 4 14 PM 14 PM 21 22 April Fool’s Day Good Friday Easter PEA Executive Board – PEA Office – 1901 Railroad – 3:45 PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 7:00 PEA Rep Council – PEA Office – 1901 Railroad – 3:45 PM Earth Day
28 PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 7:00 PM
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