Vigilant Vigil


Hayward teachers are riled up over the prospect of Superintendent Dale Vigil leaving town during a work stoppage. A rumor has spread that the superintendent will spend next week’s spring break vacation basking in the sun of Mazatlan, Mexico.

The two sides have entertained the possibility of meeting during the break to resolve their differences over compensation, and teachers question how a settlement can be reached if the superintendent is out of town.

Vigil, who shot down rumors of crossing the border but indicated he will be spending time with family, said a deal can be reached without him.

“I am not part of the bargaining team,” he said. “Our team will be here and is ready to go back to the table whenever the union is.”


  • another tired teacher

    Yes, in California 2nd graders do currently take the CST test but this is supposed to be their last year. 48 states in the US already do NOT test 2nd grade, including Texas. I really believe that the pendulum is swinging away from all of this testing and people are realizing that it is taking away from real teaching and learning.

    Each state has its own set of standards, and its own standardized tests so when there are comparisons made they are not even real. They are comparing applaes and oranges. California has the highest standards and the hardest tests. Dale Skinner, the test prep. guru from Texas that HUSD hired a few years ago even admitted to a group of teachers he was training that California’s standards are a half year to a whole year higher than other
    states. It makes you wonder who and why this is so. Who is benefitting from us looking bad.

    It will only be when we have a national set of standards and a national standardized test that things will be fairly evaulated. But then the arguement about local control comes up. With the high stakes involved I think that we should go national on this issue so that society sees for certain how our kids are really doing in comparison to other children across the country. I also think we should back off from the test hype however and get back to basics. We are expecting kids to learn too many things, and things that aren’t even developmentally appropriate, and then wonder why they do not know the basics. they need a solid foundation. There is no excuse for kids not to have the basics. We get spread too thin and so do the kids with all the crazy stuff in the curriculum nowadays. Fractions, division, and probability in the primary grades when they should be getting a strong handle on number sense. They do not know
    their basic math facts because we have to cover so much material and spend all this
    time on things that are way beyond them like graphs and charts and statistics, or lecture at them in teacher directed mode and not let them experience learning in the way that they learn best. Now I am getting way off topic I know, but the educational system here is running amok not because teachers are lazy and incompetent as some would believe, but because we are being asked to do impossible and even inappropriate things and our kids suffer because we aren’t allowed to do what we know is best. The more parents get involved the more all of these things will come to light.

    I agree with you elm. teacher. It is so sad. The joy of learning is being taken out of school.

  • another tired teacher

    my favorite time of year is after testing is done because we get to do some REAL
    teaching then. the kids feel it too.

  • Ms. Teacher

    I agree w/ tired teacher–I love the weeks after STAR testing.

    Fernando: You know, there was a lot of maintenance done at my school during the strike too! My tired brain hadn’t gotten as far as you in making the connection, but to hear what happened at your wife’s school to and put that together w/ the maintenance done while we were away–it does make you wonder if your theory about the district’s motivations is right. What duplicity!

    Also, I just want to point out. I did my finances today. It will be January of 2008 before I make back all of the money I lost during the strike and actually begin seeing my COLA raise as money I didn’t have before (does that make sense)? As far as I’m concerned, I don’t get a raise until January of 2008–and then we’ll be 7 months away from bargaining again.

    I wish, wish, wish that HEA gave a little more credence to HUSD’s bargaining strategies. Seems to me that HUSD outsmarted HEA in a lot of ways–and that makes me sad and very nervous about the next round of negotiations. I would also like to point out that the other unions in HUSD (AOTE, and there’s another one too) generally wait for their “me too” clauses to kick in for raises. So, basically, whatever raise HEA bargains for the teachers, counselors, and nurses, the district agrees to pass on to the classified personnel in the district. Which has always seemed quite odd to me.

    Finally, I wish that SOMEONE in the press (Ms. Santos, are you listening???) would get ahold of the STAR testing conditions at Hayward High last Mon-Wed. Students were taking the test in the bleachers, helping one another with the questions, calling people on the phone, talking, text messaging one another. There are students who took pictures of all of this w/ their cell phones. Frankly, I think that this would be a GREAT story for the Daily Review. And the kicker is that students were told there would be no makeups after this past week–and yet HHS is giving the STAR test to the rest of the students this upcoming week.

    Talk about invaldidating your test scores!!!

  • Leslie Cienega

    I was more concerned because of the way my girls teacher descirbed it to me how alot of teachers were hurt but they had to take the deal! To me i think no one should have to settle or be forced to accept!

    I was told that they did not want 11 percent ! But that is what they got…it is still not right that they will see the difference until january. that is a long time to wait!
    About all the renovations i guess the district figured that markham was a lost cause because there is nothing new about it! It is the forgotton school because it is closing but it seems that they forgot the kids too! On monday i am going to bring in some supplies it is things needed that the district is not providing! So if they can afford paint then why not 20 dollars for a pack of paper? I will go and ask that along with other things! I know the district people will get tired of me but thats okay at this point they need to see that they are not doing a good job!

    It seems some schools get alot but others geet very little ! like east ave. i walked in and it was filled with school things and arts and crafts and art paper for the teachers to take when they want and at markham i have not seen any of that. It is not fair.

    As for the district and their plan with the strike and saving money .. that is a shame that they would intentionaly disrupt childrens educations to save a few dollars..I see who is greedy and selfish now not the teachers but the district and that needs to stop.. but recalling them would cost us more money that the district dont have?right? So really are we stuck or should we press for the board to be recalled?

    I hope the board is happy with their STRATEGY because the only thing it has done is make parents like me pissed and people like me dont go away …..We bother and bother until we get answered or see changes…So like i said before they better get used to me coming in and out of the district office because i wont give up! I know the guard already soon everybody else too!

    Thats why i ask you all alot of questions because i really want things to change for the better. but besides bothering them i want to know other routes incase they dont listen! As for reciepts i still have the one from the begining of the year when i bought supplies for the class and i will keep this one too..incase they say anything.

    The school district had so much money to spend then why did they not fix the bell in the class(our teacher never knows when shool is over cause the bell dont work in the inside). I am going back to the district on friday afternoon to express my concerns in person again!!I cant wait there is just too many thing wrong even the sub that pinched my daughter is again back inside the classroom i seen her friday! How is that possible when i turned the paper work in again cause they lost the other ones..they are putting other kids in danger..i say they the district because i was told that once i turned in the paper work she would be transfered to jr. high or high but no longer elementry..That was a direct lie to my face. From the district!

    what a world we live in……I bet the board has plenty of pencils,pens ,and paper.

  • Fernando hernandez

    An interesting,I should be inbed thought Kim Santos:

  • Fernando hernandez

    Sorry for the Schimmel folks!,
    I will take my own advice and go to bed


  • elm. teacher

    The district usually settles with AOTE and SEIU (I think thats right) after we (the teachers) settle because we are the largest portion of district employees . A few days before we went on strike HUSD did settle with the above two unions. They did this I think because before they settled those two unions were with out a contract. While they were with out a contract their no strike clause was not in force, and they could of struck with us. Therefore by settling the AOTE and SEIU they could not sympathy strike.

  • elm. teacher

    No Leslie:

    Replacing the Board would not cost us money, At least not in “settlements” like it would cost us to fire Vigil and Schimmel.

    Two supserintedents ago, when the Board “let Go” Superintedent Kowal (They hired her too!) I believe It cost us $230,000 to make her go away.

    If this is any indication of the kinds of contracts they have been signing with this administrators, it would cost us roughly 1/2 million to replace Vigil ans Schimmel.

    But the Board could change thier prioriries and DIRECT the sups. to change their behaviour. The Board sets the policies, they are the Superintendan’t bosses, and can approve or not their (the sups) recomendations.

    Unfortunately, the real cost of a strike should not be measured in dollars and cents, it should be measured in damaged relationships, which in many cases will take years to heal.

    Did the Board take this into consideration?

    The damage to the relationships between the teachers who crossed the line and those who didn’t.

    The damage to the relationships between our teachers and their principals.

    The damage to the relationships between the community and both the District AND the Board.

    Was there a line for THIS in their equation for how to get back in the black?
    Some how I don’t think so!

    When the big one hits and your principal leaves you a message telling you the children are OK, can you believe him?

    I was told by my principal that the schools were safe and education was ongoing.
    If he was ordered by his superiors to tell us that lie, and he didn’t object this time…

    Will he have the intestinal fortitude to take a stand next time and tell us the TRUTH, or at the very least give us some actual INFORMATION so we can decide?

    What about this, Mr./Mrs. Principal:

    Hi Parents: This is your principal. We have four subs to cover for 30 teachers. It’s up to you to bring your kids to school. We will do the best we can under the circumstances.

  • fernando hernandez

    Correction: The last post from elm.teacher was not from elm.teacher, it was from Fernando

  • Ms. Teacher

    Geez, I hope we don’t buy out the current district admin–I think they should suffer the last year or two (I know Vigil has one year, not sure about the others) of their contracts. They certainly don’t deserve any more of our money!

    It is interesting that ALL the principals I’ve heard of played along w/ the district’s lies. My school was even telling students they’d get history or English grades and credit from the worksheets they completed during the strike.

    I’m not sure about being able to trust my principal’s judgement. And I’m really not sure about the relationship my colleagues and I will have with the teacher who crossed the line during the strike–particularly because she was telling students that they were going to fail this year of school if they didn’t do the work during the strike! And because she jumped a curb and tried to run me and other teachers over when she came into the parking lot (she did this two times–both times we were standing down the sidewalk from the parking lot entrance; she had to go out of her way to try to hit me and the other teachers standing with me).

    And what about the parents’ trust of district admin? I mean–hinting that teachers had settled and that kids must be back in school is downright vile! And then pretending that it never happened!

    I’ll be interested to see how the district and our schools approach the healing process. I know that several principals met with their staff the morning we returned to work. Mine didn’t. I know several schools have already held staff meetings to begin to work out some of the myths and realities of the strike. Mine didn’t. Heck, one of the assistant principals at my school hasn’t really even spoken to ANY of the returning teachers or counselors. Isn’t that interesting?

    So, I do agree w/ Fernando that more than just dollars/money was lost.

  • elm. teacher

    I too have not met with my principal. He has asked me to do several things, and as a staff we are figuring out what we will do, and how to the “contract only” we want to be. In jepordy at the moment are the Multicultural dinner, science faire, and spring concert. We are going to hold open house. He wants to schedule a regular staff meeting on Next Wed, but contractuarally he can’t do that and we are not going to bend.

    As for the three teachers who crossed at my site. One never went out, but she picketed with us at lunch, and before school. She has a problem with her retirement, and if she missed days it would have been bad for her. However, she supported us in many many ways. The other two, I do not understand. One is hiding in her room, and not coming to the lunch room etc. But she was always like that. The other one, I can’t talk to. We have never really gotten along, and it is going to take a while to get back to where we were before she crossed.

    That being said, I am a professional, and one of these ladies is in my grade level, and we have to work together at times. I will be polite, and collaborate, I’m just not going to go out of my way to talk to her.

    The teachers that were on the line had a party on Friday night, we burned most of our signs. It was fun, and good to do. I know our principal is planning a bonding experience for the fall for the staff. In someways we probably need it more than ever now, except for those of us who were on the line everyday. We shared an experiance that we will never forget, conversations that we will never forget.

    I wonder if the district understands what was lost, probably not.

  • Leslie Cienega

    You all forgot to mention the relationships betwwem some students and kids!
    My daughters teacher went out of her way a little bit to talk to her but my daughter wanted nothing to do with her. The damage has been done. But with time things will go back to the way they were!

    Really the strike has caused alot of problems i agree with everyone on that but mostly what i heard was about money . Some teachers are happy with the deal others are not! As a parent i am happy it is over but worried that it is going to start right back up! I do not want a repeat of this year . I want to take my kids to school knowing that everything is fine,safe,teachers wont hurt their students,ect..ect.. But i dont feel that way. I know their teacher is good and i feel safe leaving them there with her but as for others I dont know!When there is a sub i rather just take them home which the principle already knows that. As for our principle the first day of the strike she told me what was going on and was very honest about it. so i give her alot of credit for that we also were able to pick up work packets for the kids the first week. even though it was preschool work at leat she did it or had it done.

    As for the people who crossed the picket lines my opinion is that everybody has their reasons..maybe a single parent, in debt, or is both. If i was in a tight spot like that then i guess i would be a scab….but i would have done what the other teacher as someone mentioned done…picket at lunch,before school,rallies,called in sick a day or two. You cant hold a grudge against someone when you really dont know their reasons for doing what they did. trying to or almost running someone over now if i am wrong then tell me cause i am thinking that is close to i believe attempt with a deadly weapon! I could be wrong with that but i think i am right!

    Fernando , i thought that it costs extra money to recall the board to because someone else said it did on here so thanks for giving me the correct info. How long is the board usually in office and also the supers?

    one more thing about the principle she did tell us that at that time there was no subs and she didnt know how many was going to come..so she really did a great job with that. AND to think this is her first year as principle and she was more honest than others ..

    Back to business:

    1. how do we get the board to put the supers in check?

    2.how can we get permission to get copies of the budget and where the money went to ,to take home?
    with that one then we can take our time looking at it carefully. instead of being rushed.

    3.how can we make sure this does not happen again?

    4.how can we make sure that we get to decide in what the schools need (as in maintenance)?
    some schools can wait to be painted ,and use the paint money for materials needed to teach or repairs. cosmetics should not come first to me a phone system that expensive could have waited until curtains ,bells ,floors, desks,chairs,and other things were repaired. As for computers i am lost as to why the teachers in the classrooms have a computer at their desks but the students do not have one at least for the whole class to use. In livermore there was one to two per class at the school where my girls did pre-school.

    Those are some things that i would like to help change. And what i think needs to be changed!