From Oakland’s Carla Schick:
The other day I saw an ad for entry-level diesel mechanics for Golden Gate Busses _ the starting salary is $71,000 with benefits. An entry-level teacher in Hayward earns about $48,000 a year, with benefits paid for out of that salary. No one wants to get on a bus that is poorly serviced. Yet we allow our teachers to be undervalued and underpaid, although the safety of our future is in their hands.
We must be willing to pay salaries that will attract and retain the best teachers, counselors, nurses and speech therapists. In Hayward, the money has been given to the district by the state, but the school board and the district administration have chosen to pass it on to high-level administrators rather than those people who work directly with students. Communities need to reclaim their public school system and take a stand in support of teachers.
From Hayward resident Lisa Brunner:
When the HUSD teachers announced a strike, I fully supprted them; I consider the 3 percent increase offer from the HUSD an insult for how hard our teachers work. The teachers are the stabilizing force within our school district. With barely 52 percent homeownership districtwide, we have a very unstable student base in some of our neighborhoods, causing a high turnover of students. Our teachers are dedicated. Over the past seven years, our teachers have worked with the district to keep it out of bankruptcy; in seven years they’ve received only a 7 percent raise against a 22 percent COLA increase from the state. The worst of it is our teachers have no health care benefits — they pay out-of-pocket. The cost of health insurance alone more than negates the 7 percent over seven years.
When the HUSD said they were offering 8.6 percent, it sounded like a good offer, and it would have been if it was offered under the same conditions as the 3 percent.
The HUSD has not shown that they value or respect the teachers who have made teaching a long-term career within this district. Like most parents, I would like to see the strike end, but until it does the teachers have my support. Please make an offer that shows our teachers are valued and quit playing numbers games.
From Hayward resident Eileen Samuelu:
I have three children, one in each level (elementary, middle and high school) who are now being affected by this strike. Due to this event, I have had to make last-minute arrangements with family and friends to care for my children.
As a parent, I have elected to keep my children at home during the strike because I don’t believe that, due to the strike, the schools are able to provide a safe and nurturing educational environment for my children. They are moving children into cafeterias, lunchrooms, libraries, or doubling up in small classrooms due to the shortage of substitutes who are acting more as babysitters than educators; they have lesson plans outside of the already in-place programs set by the qualified teachers and educators who now line the outside of the schools with picket signs. These teachers/educators for the past eight months have been preparing my children for college, for their future, guiding their education, but now they are not and my children are paying the price. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!
After calling each school to inform them that each child would not be attending due to the strike, the attendance person at my son’s high school (Mt.Eden) told me she would put down that he is taking a personal day. This, by definition of the school’s manual, is considered an unexcused leave, which is counted against him. She went on to say that because the school is still “open,” it is “his personal choice” not to attend. Yet in an earlier article, a student who did attend was told by the same administrators to go home. How is a teacher strike my son’s personal choice? Please tell me how she can have the nerve to say that it’s my son’s “choice” to remain at home because the conditions at school have changed and are currently unsafe and noneducational? Please explain to me how it is any parent’s choice to have their child stay home due to a strike we had no say in or control over, a strike that we had no part in negotiations for, a strike that now costs parents extra money that we don’t have to pay for day care because our priority is to keep our children safe?
These elected officials are there to prevent these situations from escalating to these levels, yet here we are placed in a position not of our choosing. Now my children have to pay the cost and I have to pay the cost. I do not appreciate these administrators who tell me that this strike is my personal choice because if it was up to me, if it actually was my choice, there would not be a strike on right now because I would have negotiated high enough that the teachers would have gotten an actual FAIR contract and not some ridiculous low percentage like 7 or 8 percent that the district has been offering after giving themselves a more than 16 percent raise. I’d throw in a supply expense program that would refund teachers for supplies they paid for out-of-pocket, which they do constantly to help stimulate the minds of our children.
These officials say our children are the future, they claim “no child left behind”, they say that education is top priority, but did they mean that “their” children are the future, that “their” children’s education is top priority and that the children, parents, and families of Hayward, outside of their own, aren’t so important? If they really do care about the communities in Hayward, then PROVE IT! Prove it by settling the teachers contract negotiations so that teachers can get back to what they love doing: teaching. Prove it by settling the teachers contract negotiations so that my children’s education and future are not jeopardized and can get back on track. Prove it by settling the teachers contract negotiations so that our children and our families are not penalized fir a situation we have no control over but have to pay for. DO IT because that’s what you are paid and elected to do.
My faith in California’s education system is diminishing quickly. We as parents and as voters tend to remember these things, especially around election time. I encourage them to settle this quickly as they may not be around next term to get the chance.
From Nicholas Halatsis of Hayward:
I have four children. Two have graduated from Hayward schools and gone on to college
This is a tribute to Hayward teachers. I will stand next to myteachers in the picket line.
Teachers deserve our respect and support.
Teachers deserve fair pay.
Schools … less jails.