They’re Like a Mob
I wish more parents and townspeople attended these school committee meetings, because were more to witness the behavior of the unionists (one hesitates to speak of them principally as teachers), I’ve little doubt that support for them would evaporate even more rapidly than it is currently doing.
The committee discussed volunteers for various extracurricular activities, and just before the meeting moved on, teachers started taking the podium with somewhat related statements. The first (the woman who referred to a committee member as a “twerp” at the last meeting I attended, I believe) cited a press release in which a member of the committee had stated that teachers are not writing recommendations. “There are 63 recommendations in the file in my office,” she said.
In the back and forth, it wasn’t clear when the letters had been written or whether students were aware that they had been completed. (Indeed, the mob took the opportunity to jeer at Committee Chairwoman deMedeiros over her asking whether they’d been handed to the children, which apparently is not how it’s done.) Personally, I’d have liked to know whether they were recommendations that predated the union’s “work to rule” action or perhaps whether a bunch had just been filed since the media mentions.
Unfortunately, discussion didn’t get that detailed, as the teacher noted that two of the recommendations in her possession were for deMedeiros’s daughter. Hoots and laughter again. Ms. deMedeiros noted that her daughter and a friend had both been told that their teachers weren’t sure whether they were allowed to write recommendations.
At that point, the committee attempted to bring up the pertinent person for the next item on its agenda, but additional teachers took the microphone and refused to step aside. (If I were the requested Mr. Alves, I believe I’d have stayed away, as well.) Seeing no progress — in fact, hearing an escalation of the shouts to “stop lying!” and “do your jobs!” — the committee moved to adjourn, and everybody began filing out.
Memo to the teachers: the school committee is the group whom the people of Tiverton have elected to conduct the town’s business vis-a-vis the schools. You don’t run these meetings. You oughtn’t be attempting to intimidate the people with whom you’re negotiating for increases to your already-generous remuneration packages.
I know the Bob Walshes and Pat Crowleys have encouraged the teachers — most of whom took up their vocation for more noble reasons than to be paid for days of striking — to see this behavior as appropriate, but they have been deceived. This is not how professionals act. It’s how thugs act. It might be appropriate if union members were being forced to work under hazardous conditions. It might be appropriate if all salaries (or the number of positions) were being cut to a disastrous degree. As the circumstances exist, informed citizens would surely be astonished to recall that these are people with enviable salaries and benefits for rewarding work in a comfortable atmosphere.
And to be honest, speaking strictly as a parent, it sparks anxiety about my children’s experiences as they (possibly) go through the school system over the next sixteen years.