22 August, 2014

Wise Words Indeed

I don't have to tell anyone who lives in the Galesburg area that the teachers are on strike and negotiations are going no where. I want to say that I stand completely behind the teachers. This strike is not about money at all, although the Board of Education has tried to paint that picture. This thing is getting ugly, and the cold, hard truth is that the Board is not being honest with the general public about just what the sticking points are that are keeping them from reaching an agreement with the GEA. They are using family members to spew legal mumbo jumbo in the online version of the newspaper and Facebook, but they are comparing apples to oranges and the facts simply do not line up to this current situation.  I'll write more about this situation later, but I wanted to share the following; an email sent to the Board of Education that was by Cameron Line. Cameron attended Galesburg Schools with my kids and then attended Monmouth College. Writing as someone who grew up in this town and knows the values of this town, his thoughts are absolutely on target and brilliant. Proud of you Cameron! Really proud of you. I hope others will follow your lead and contact the board as well. 

I just emailed the board members and the administrative team an email in support of the GEA and I hope anyone who hasn't yet will do the same, or call or send snail mail. The following is the email that I sent.

Board Member and District Administration, 
I write this letter as a K-12 student of Galesburg public schools, family member of District 205 teachers past and present, a former paraprofessional in the district and a Monmouth College graduate.
I write this to you in dismay and shock. I'm in in disbelief that a board of education in a town steeped in the history of civil rights, quality education and fairness for workers is attempting to negotiate away just protection for one of our community's most valuable assets, teachers. You give excellent lip service to how much you value teachers but you seem determined to lay a foundation upon which you can fire proven quality teachers at your whim. I understand you also represent the taxpayer and you are woefully letting us down as well by not ensuring that our best teachers are safe to do their job. Like goes the teachers of Galesburg, so goes the community. If you see it necessary to word the teacher's contract so "proficient" teachers can be RIFed, you at the very least owe it to the taxpayer an explanation as to why you're insisting on a provision this medieval. You've given this just cause clause to paraprofessionals, cafeteria workers, custodians and aids and to not give it to teachers is at best an insult and at worst an attack on their livelihood. You're a fighting a battle against justice and common sense that you cannot win. The public may have sympathized with your veiled "piggy bank is empty" cry before but now it's not a matter of dollars and cents, it's a matter of common sense. Please give teachers rated as "proficient" recall rights and get students and teachers back in the classroom where they belong before the public loses it's faith in you. I personally can say that this is a school board and district office that I have great respect and trust in but these latest events have eroded that trust. The weight is now on your shoulders to end the strike. Do it now, so District 205 and Knox/Warren Special Ed can once again focus it's energy where it belongs, the students.

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