Addressing education in our state | Letter
March 7, 2012 · 11:43 AM
The article by Rosemary McAuliffe and letter by Camille Brady in the March 2 Bothell-Kenmore Reporter deserve a response.
I suggest Rosemary and the legislature watch the documentary movie “Waiting for Superman” to understand the union's opposition to charter schools and know how superior they can be and stop the rhetoric. Let parents choose.
Our system is broken and Rosemary and other legislatures will not acknowledge the elephant in the room, the teachers union, protecting by seniority and tenure poor teachers and bad teachers who are retired on the job. How many Northshore teachers have been fired in the last five years? Zero? One? Two? Parents of junior-high students can give you a list of 12 or more that should be gone, probably more than 100 in the district. Nowhere in the article has Rosemary addressed this major problem, which should be a No. 1 priority, but is ignored due to the powerful Washington Education Association.
In Washington state, education is politics and the kids are in the middle suffering. It is not about enough money like the politicians state, but about union domination of Washington’s education system. They hold it hostage with the legislature's support. It is time to change representatives if they do not fix this problem NOW. It is why we sent them to Olympia.
In the Northshore district in the last school board election, the union contributed more than $5,000 each to B-Z Davis and Janet Quinn to get them on the board to maintain a pro union status. Davis indicated she would spend $10,000 on her campaign, for a no-pay job!
• Camille challenges Richard Pelto to get the facts. I would ask her how many of the teachers earning "$65,469 per year” (180 days of teaching or $363 per day) with advanced degrees have them in the discipline they are teaching. Studies indicate having master or doctor degrees do not make better teachers.
It is a ruse to get higher salaries and retirements perpetuated by the union. Northshore has the second highest average teachers' salaries and first staff salaries in the state. With benefits, Northshore teachers average $78,400 per year ($435 per day) not $65,469, Camille. Spending more money per student also does not improve performance; it is caring, committed, superior teachers that make the difference.
Utah is a right-to-work state, which has much lower teacher salaries. Salt Lake City has higher student performance results and a more efficient education system. Why? They do not keep poor teachers and strive for excellence and do not accept mediocre performance; teachers are challenged to maintain performance and compete to keep their jobs. I think Camille needs to get the facts and know who the good teachers are and not defend the poor ones. All teachers are not equal.
Superior teachers need to be identified and paid more and the poor teachers need to be replaced. Teachers should not receive more money if their advanced degrees are not in their field of teaching and the money used to reward superior teachers. Students/parents need to evaluate their teachers and teachers their principals for merit pay so the district can know how to evaluate the effectiveness of each teacher. Parents need to be a part of the evaluation process.
It is time to challenge the union (that is not for kids, but teachers) — they are the problem and our legislature lets them do it because they buy their support through political donations to electing them. They need to cut the department of education in Olympia by half and use the money for incentives for the best teachers. We need excellent teachers, less staff and more bang for the buck (results).
It is past time to get tough with the legislature to fix our broken education system or replace them, our kids' future is too important.
Bob Terry, Bothell