Monday, May 1, 2017, 5pm
North High School
Sandoval Lecture Hall (B243), 2nd Floor
The Tom and Susana Road Show, Part 2
Last night, with Superintendent Tom Boasberg and Deputy Superintendent Susana Cordova in attendance, DCTA and the District met to discuss the issue of teacher and SSP workload. On April 3, DCTA presented a proposal to the District to address the issue with lower classroom caps, establishing caseload sizes for SSPs, and guaranteed planning time each week. This session was the District’s opportunity to bring a proposal of their own.
The District’s response to workload issues? Take away guaranteed planning time on a weekly basis. The District’s proposal would change the guaranteed minutes* of planning each week to an average over six weeks. DCTA Bargaining Team members and teachers in attendance immediately rejected the proposal – and then proceeded to clearly demonstrate why it is unworkable, through personal stories from parents and teachers, alike. First and foremost, planning is a necessary part of EVERY school day, teachers said. Long-term planning may be possible in sporadic concentrated blocks of time, but day-to-day classroom planning must be conducted daily in order for lessons to stay current, relevant and targeted to individual needs.
The DCTA Bargaining Team continued to push for solutions to lower classroom caps and caseload sizes or easing teacher workload, but were met with the responses, “That is subject to ongoing discussion,” which translates to, “We don’t have an answer.” Unfortunately, the District has met the DCTA Bargaining Teams attempts at creative solutions with an unwillingness to think outside the box.
This is the second public bargaining session that has been attended by Superintendent Boasberg and Deputy Superintendent Cordova, and the two seemed to have completely different strategies on what their role would be at the table.
Tom, for the second time, failed to engage in the discussion at the table, and often appeared disinterested. He entered the session late, sat down, stayed about an hour, and then proceeded to leave. At no time did he say even one word to the DCTA Bargaining Team or crowd of community members and teachers.
Susana, however, did stay the whole time, and was quite vocal, especially on the subject of innovation schools. DCTA has proposed a formal process for innovation school votes to ensure that teachers and community members get a voice in the process, as the law intends. Susana met those efforts with open hostility and disrespect toward teachers. Repeatedly, Susana made the claim that teachers who sign employment contracts without knowing the details of an innovation school plan, which is usually over 100 pages long, and are not openly shared at the time of hire, lack integrity. She also claimed that teachers’ accounts of innovations school plans being pushed through with threats and untrue statements from principals lack credibility. The District is famous for talking about its values, but only on their terms. They expect teachers and students to follow them, but not their own principals and administrators. The District does not want to address that issue, however. Instead, they believe that teachers, who work long hours and take home much of their work, should be responsible for reading and understanding complicated, sometimes 100-page plans, on their own time.
This is why it is so important for teachers and community members to attend bargaining and hold the District accountable. We need them to know that they have to come to the table to help create solutions that address problems and hold everyone working in the District to the DPS Values.
The next bargaining session will be held at North High School at 5pm. The topic of discussion will be DCTA’s proposal around the Whole Child concept. Please join us and support wrap-around services for all DPS students.
*the current contract guarantees elementary teachers 300 minutes of planning per week and secondary teachers 345 minutes per week.