Story from Jerry Freedman
The unions of course blame the system for treating teachers badly, but often it's their own crazy bureaucracy that's to blame. For example, here's a story sent to me by a long-time exceptional teacher, Jerry Freedman (firstname.lastname@example.org) (shared with his permission of course). This is what he posted after reading Class Warfare:
I just read the article in the New York Times about Steven Brill and his new book "Class Warfare...". I was moved to write this comment because of the article. I have been teaching at the Los Angeles County H.S. for the Arts for the past 25 years. I have been selected as the "Teacher of the Year" by the county of Los Angeles, one of L.A.'s "Most Inspirational Teachers" by the Mayor of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, an "Educational Hero" by the Los Angeles Dodgers, honored by Claes Nobel for my "academic achievement and excellence, and was the first academic teacher ever to be a finalist in the Los Angeles County Music Center's "Bravo" Award teacher competition in arts education.
Since I have been "on loan' to the county from the Los Angeles Unified Schools, all of my seniority is with LAUSD. For most of the past 20 years, the union representing county teachers has been trying to have me sent back to LAUSD to be replaced by any warm body with more seniority from another county school. Student walk-outs, parent and alumni letters and emails have not stopped the effort to remove me. I have been forced to retire from LAUSD and compete for a part-time job at the arts high school. State law prevents a retired teacher collecting a pension from teaching more than two classes (six classes is a full-time position). I have offered to teach additional classes for free, but have been told that the union will not let me. Mr. Brill has made me feel that I am not fighting the battle to improve our schools alone.
I checked out Jerry's story and confirmed it – see: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/15/local/la-me-teacher15-2010feb15 and www.latimes.com/news/opinion/letters/la-le-sunday21-2010feb21,0,6864120.story