Over the last two decades, the sellouts
, consisting of Presidents Randi Weingarten
and Michael Mulgrew
, has traded time for money and our school day was lengthened from 6 hours and 20 minutes to 6 hours and 50 minutes, while receiving puny raises that barely kept pace with inflation. At first the union claimed that the extra time would be used as "office hours"
like colleges do. However, the union lied to the members, and the extra time was used for teaching.
At first, the extra time was used to teach or tutor an extra class of up to ten students but some devious principals took advantage of the extra time and made an almost full class lumping together two teachers per classroom and treated it as a class with an attendance sheet and giving an academic credit, while observing the teacher for evaluation purposes. After numerous complaints by the members to this abuse, the union negotiated with the new De Blasio administration in 2014 to use the extra time for professional development. The exception was for multi-session and District 75 and 79 schools who were allowed to simply extend the extra thirty minutes in classroom periods to accommodate the extra time.
The problem was that few school administrators were collaborating with the staff on the professional development activities. Worse. the DOE imposed their own professional development activities that were a colossal waste of time. It was so bad that many teachers wished they were teaching an extra class that sit through this torture week after week, with no end in sight. In some schools the 80 minute Monday professional development lasted so long that teachers did not leave the school until it was already dark. Even the Tuesday 75 minute professional activities portion were simply another form of professional development.
By contrast, in the suburbs, most school districts have a six hour and 30 minute school day and the teacher is usually excused from the classroom for the day to attend professional development at the district office. Moreover, when the school does professional development in-house, students are either dismissed early (half a day) or its defined as a non attendance day with no students present.
In my many years of teaching, I have never, yes never, been to a school based professional development activity that made me a better teacher. Our union should renegotiate the contract to eliminate the school-based professional development activities and simply extend the classroom periods or go to "office hours"
that were originally intended to be. Maybe, the union should follow the lead of the suburbs and do what they do when it comes to professional development. Then again, the union leadership does not have to suffer through relentless professional development.like we do