More HUSD strike letters

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.


  • angela

    maybe i was confusing u with someone else but in an earlier blog during the strike i was insulted becasue of me posting and being a teacher they did not think i was supposed to have the time , their point was that correcting work and setting up lesson plans took several hours of their evening , i apologize if I mistaked you for another teacher but your posting name is very similar,
    the minority blame game is not cool ,
    every one is human , the poeple who crossed the picket line could have had very good reasons just as some could have been only greedy , it is not fair for all subs to be judged due others behavior we are all individuals
    and yes freedom of speech- enjoy away , again if i mistook you for the other teacher from a few weeks aga my apolologies, but if you are the same one I was only trying to make a point

    our careers do not last until all hours of the night , oh and by the way it being 10:00 my children have a decent bedtime , You really cannot do anything by way of child bonding when they are asleep

  • teacher

    Thank you Angela. I think you are mistaking me for another blogger. I would never suggest that anyone not have the right to free speech. I think we may have to agree to disagree on the ethics of picket line crossing. While I disagree with you, I will always defend your right to express your position. Yes, we do spend countless hours on work related tasks. We do, however, like to break away sometimes to do something a bit different 🙂

    I honestly didn’t see any minority blame game going on. A blogger implied that I couldn’t understand some things unless I was a member of a minority group. While I don’t believe that is true, I thought it pertinent to let her know that I am a member of a minority group.

    Angela, I think I am ready to put the negativity behind me. I think it’s time to move forward and work on strengthening the Hayward community. Are you in the same place?

    I hope that we can all move on and put all of this to rest. We don’t have to agree, but I think we can find that common goal and work together to achieve it.


  • Leslie Cienega

    teacher if that was ment towards me (about calling a teacher trash) then fine guilty as charged. no excuses! AND I APOLOGIZED FOR WHAT I SAID ! I DID IT HERE ON THIS SAME BLOG!

    The difference is i was an angry parent who was angry with the situation, and angry with the education that has been givin , angry that the district refused to hear my cry for help, angry that as a parent and tax payer (for your salaries) Us parents were not informed of anything!

    Sooo that being said …i never posted anyones picture on the net and wrote bad things about them nor would i ever ..probably because i am an adult!! Which is more than a few teachers are!

    My opinions were mine..they of course are not the same anymore..which is better for me cause now i use my energy into helping the teacher. But you tell me this…since you know it all..why is it that someone like myself who does not have degrees from a college whom is not a teacher or lawer or doctor BUT WHOM IS A MINORITY, MIDDLECLASS,GREW FROM POVERTY, RE-ENTERING COLLEGE STUDENT ,WIFE ,MOTHER OF FOUR, AND WHOM IS ONLY 28 YRS. OLD PERSON ….WHO HAS MORE LIFE EDUCATION AND KNOWS RIGHT FROM WRONG AND KNOWS HOW TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HER OWN ACTIONS! tELL ME TEACHER WITH ALL YOUR DEGREES WHY DONT YOUR COLLEGUES DO WHATS RIGHT AND SAY SORRY FOR HURTING PEOPLE…THAT IS ALL IT TAKES. IS THAT TOO HARD?

  • Leslie Cienega

    People should stop fighting. Apologize it can go a long way! Work together to make hayward one of the best districts in the state. Scabs were there to do their job even though it might have been done half *** still they showed up! Let it go! We are all supposed to be recovering now. Bigger issues are that we might see this type of thing in eighteen months lets all relax say sorry and start working on what we can do to stop this thing in the future!

  • teacher


    I didn’t know who posted that comment, I just remember reading it. Like I said in my previous post…I am ready to put all of this negativity behind me. I think we have to agree to disagree. I hope that you can understand the anger of many teachers. You may not agree with the tactics, but I think you can understand the feelings of betrayal by their colleagues. Maybe the folks that posted the blogs will someday feel differently about their tactics. Maybe it will take some time. I don’t know. But think back to how you were feeling when you posted those comments about the teachers. You were angry. You’re allowed to be angry. You expressed their anger. Those teachers expressed their anger in a perfectly legal way. It may be unsavory, unpleasant, hurtful or unkind. Maybe in time the bloggers will change their minds. Until then, please try to understand where they are coming from.

    Leslie, people are people. We are all humans with human emotions. Degrees don’t change that. I hope that we can all move forward. We need to make peace with all of this. There were many hurt feelings here…on all sides. It’s time to heal. I have been responding to the accusations of “hate crimes” and “libel”. I wanted to clarify some things on that topic. I believe I have said everything I wish to say on that. I’m ready to move on from this. I hope that you are too. It seems that you are. I have gone back and read some of your previous posts and I thank you for all of your time and effort during this whole thing. I think we have all learned a lot. I wish you luck in all of your endeavors and hope that you can be at peace with all of this. I’m going to try my best.


  • Leslie Cienega

    oh i am at peace..and about hate crimes and libel i really dont think those things were commited. Maybe privacy yes but the other two no. I just feel that in order for bothsides to get along and for all of us to get together to make a change then eceryone needs to apologize to try to make things better so WE can all fix this mess. My point is that i did it and now look i am trying to do as much as possible and before when someone told me no (teachers and the district) i listened but now i see that i CANNOT except no as an answer that i have to push and push until i get my answers.

    Apologies is what is needed so everyone can get together as a team to make a change! that is my point!
    Maybe it should go for both sides .

  • jennifer

    teacher: I was angry during the strike. Maybe I should post your picture up so you get the message if I post your picture that it was wrong to take kids out of school??

    Wait…you mean that if the ‘scab’ have different political beliefs they should be taught a lesson? hmmm I am scratching my head.

  • jennifer

    paolo I agree with most everything you say.
    You see what scares me is that the teachers have been speaking with an arrogant tone- through the entire strike and beyond. People who feel they are great teachers (refer back to your statistics Paolo 🙁
    are less likely to try to improve their education.

    Money is supposed to motivate teachers to stay- yes I understand this.
    but if the scores don’t go up in these schools it won’t be a shock
    because teachers (as many are prevailing) aren’t able to budge in their communications- they aren’t open to change which makes them unlikely candidates for improvement.

    by the way teacher: you made joke as to how you should sue b/c people have attacked the teaching in this community:
    the difference is that you are anonymous- and your political beliefs (unlike the subs) won’t affect your job status

    it honestly scares me how inflexible in thinking teachers can be
    as they can look at my history of posts- I have tried to see each persons point of view- the more I agreed with teachers the more they attacked me

    I am worried for the well-being of our students of Hayward

    many have potential- but how are they going to meet this when teachers think like the teacher who has been posting?

    awww. and by the way teacher- the buddhist scab…..that is a political stab…eh?

    I have been concerned for our children because even if a teacher doesn’t agree- they should be able/willing and open to other peoples points of view. Teacher: that’s wonderful your a minority ?? but just because you weren’t offended by the scab post doesn’t mean I am not. You aren’t Asian….it did offend me.
    You are not buddhist…it did offend me.

    stating that it doesn’t offend you…so you discredit my being offended?

    your thinking is faulty and immature at best.

    please teachers- open your eyes- be aware and work on insight folks please.

  • Jennifer wrote about studies that showed how even the best-intentioned teachers discriminate against girls constantly in the classroom; there is an excellent book about this called “Failing At Fairness: How Our Schools Cheat Girls” by Myra & David Sadker.

    If you have not read this book, I STRONGLY recommend it. You can buy it through Amazon for just a penny (plus $3.49 shipping): http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/068480073X/timstore06-20

    I observed a classroom teacher today, and noticed some of the exact same issues that I’d read in that book (and which I’d observed and experienced myself when I was teaching).

    My advice to ALL teachers: at least once per year, set up a video camera in your classroom and film yourself for one class period. Then watch the video. I did this several times and felt that this one simple strategy gave me more useful feedback than I’d received from several different classroom observers. (I first used this strategy to critique my seminar presentations as an attorney, and my feedback for those seminars went from “okay” to “great” to “fantastic”.) (Of course, you MUST disclose to students that you are videotaping yourself, and the camera should be aimed at YOU, not at your students, which can be a problem if you move around the classroom a lot, as I did.)

    Finally, on the issue of the “union” being biased or the district not being allowed to lie: they both lied during this strike, and they both acted in extremely biased ways. As you’ve all noticed, I am most outraged at specific lies by Dr. Vigil, Mr. Peterson, and Mr. Cook, who pursued an aggressive strategy of false communications “to and through” the media (specifically, the Daily Review and TV stations). The respect which I had for Dr. Vigil, Mr. Peterson, and Mr. Cook before this strike are now completely depleted, and I now view them as absolutely incapable of performing the duties they were hired and elected to do. Of course, they are proud of everything they have done, and they intend to continue to engage in a continuing pattern of improper conduct in order to ruin this district.

  • angela

    mark ,
    that is a great idea (the camera) it would be a great tool in determining fairness and howeffective teaching methods are . especially if the videos are taken over a matter of a few days that way you can see yourself at different times.
    a very good idea indeed!
    again in wake of the pictures of the picket line crossers , we will agree to disagree
    I just want to tell you something , I have a friend who is a Jehova witness and striking or picketing is against their religion , it would break my heart if we would be in the same situation and if she was treated like some of the
    scabs were , like I said some were just greedy , others may have had good reasoning.
    but again we agree to disagree .

  • angela

    Teachers are also learning constantly , things change so very often , some teachers are good some are bad, as it is in every day life wth everyone , a blog is for people to post their opinions be it good or bad, our constitution has given us freedom of speech lets be grateful for that also since some countries do not have that . respect others and others will respect you

  • another tired teacher

    paolo if you know anything about the tests then you would know that every state takes different tests and every state has different standards. Califormia happens to have the highest standards and the hardest tests. You really need to take a look at your statistics; who they are being put out by, why they are being used, for what purpose, who benefits and who loses. When I bought into all that, and then I did more research and after over a decade I have learned that the right wing benefits from discrediting poor urban school districts. This helps their campaign to get the whole Voucher Initiative” to pass, and have more corporate run charter schools created. These schools create a low skill and non critical thinking work force for corporations. This may sound like a conspiracy theory, but the whole history of standardized tests in this country is totally racist and classist. Do some digging.

    Also, I would really like to know where you got those statistics about HUSD students in college.

    I hate to say it, but unfortunately, the VAST majority of the best and brightest students from the elementary school
    where I teach leave HUSD for a variety of reasons (that the district should research and do their best to curtail!) before they even get to 4th or 5th grade, so you are not judging my handiwork when you speak of high school scores.

    To reply to the people saying that teachers who think they are the best do not grow, I am not that teacher either. I believe that when you stop growing you die. I am always reading and trying to do what will help my students. The best teachers are always open to new ideas. I know that I for one get tired of being blamed for everything and lumped together with all teachers though.

    Unfortunately, prepping kids for the tests is not teaching them to think Paolo, especially when they are in the early grades. Have you seen the tests for elementary students? They leave much to be desired. They are not a fair
    measure of my kids, especially English learners and newcomers to the country.

  • another tired teacher

    Here are a couple of good articles to start you off Paolo and anyone else interested in the truth about the Standardized Tests:



  • another tired teacher

    Mark, that actually used to be the thinking about girls and I believe that many many teachers have actually overcompensated to cater to girls, but it really isn’t the true problem anymore. Most teachers are female so girls are actually usually are receiving instruction from someone that understands their learning style, at least in the elemenatry years. Maybe as they get older perhaps there are more male teachers. If you look at the publish date of that book though you see it is 12 years old. There have been many more studies out lately that show that girls have surpassed boys in academic success. I was shocked to see the ststaistics on boys and realize that they are in DEEP trouble. I am also the mother of a boy so I am acutely concerned about this.

    These are some recent statistics:
    Boys receive up to 70% of the Ds and Fs given all students, they create 90% classroom discipline problems, 80% all high school dropouts are boys, millions of American boys are on Ritalin and other mind-bending control drugs, only 45% college students are boys, and three out of four learning disabled students are boys.
    For every 100 girls diagnosed with a special education disability 217 boys are diagnosed with a special education disability
    For every 100 American women who earn a bachelorís degree from college 73 American men earn a bachelor’s
    degree per the National Digest of Education Statistics.
    For every 100 American women who earn a master’s degree from college 62 American men earn the same degree
    per the National Digest of Education Statistics
    For every 100 girls ages 15 to 17 in correctional facilities there are 837 boys behind bars per the US Census Bureau
    For every 100 females ages 15 to 19 that commit suicide 549 males in the same range kill themselves per the CDC
    There are more young men in prison than ever before and there exists an incredible pressure to be gangster like and thug like amongst young men of all races and cultures in this society.

    More statistics here:http://www.boysproject.net/statistics.html

    There have been some more recent books written about this: “The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life” by Michale Gurian. He also wrote “The Wonder of Boys”, and “The Wonder of Girls” which you may really enjoy as the dad of a girl. Of course as teachers we must study how ALL of our students learn. I know for me, that the boys have been my greatest frustration and challenge. I see as time goes on that even my brightest boys seem to succumb to peer pressure later on and do not continue to be strong students.

    Anyone else concerned with this here is a good website: http://www.boysproject.net/

    Our prisons are filled to the brim and we must do something EARLY to prevent this. School is our best chance. If we do not figure out how we are all going to be in BIG trouble. I am fighting the good fight as they say, but I can’t do it alone.

  • another tired teacher

    What I meant to say is that our prisons are filled to the brim with males. Even the Alameda County Jueveline Hall last I knew had something like 22 girls and over 200 boys.

  • Kary Loredo-Welch

    Celebration Teacher and Family Picnic
    At Kennedy Park on Wednesday, May 9th starting at 4:00 pm

    Please come and celebrate together as a community!
    Celebrate our teachers on “Day of the Teacher”
    Celebrate that our children are back in the classrooms!
    Celebrate the unity in our community!

    “The picnic is at Kennedy Park starting at 4:00. It’s a barbecue. The picnic is celebrating Day of the Teacher and also a thank you to our wonderful Parents and Community for the support we received during the strike.” Kathy Crummey, HEA President

    Bring a dish to share. Bring your entire family for food and fun!

  • monica

    What about the HUSD administrators, teachers and other staff that live in Hayward and choose not to send their children to Hayward Schools? Any comments? That might be a good place to start the research.

  • fernando hernandez

    Kim Santos:

    Is there any way for the newspaper to announce the picnic at Kennedy park this wed.

    I would be glad to write a letter to the editor about it if necessary, but I really feel we need to let the word out about this…

    We should do all we can to make sure this grass roots movement (families in action) doesn’t fade away like others have.



    I passed the info along to Kris. -Kim

  • paolo

    One thing admirable about you is your excellent use of Euphimsms: Difficult Exams for teachers’ Ineptness
    (senior exit exams are 10th grade level & SAT should be easily passed after 13 years of education);Name Calling
    For Hate Crimes (Insulting an individual for ethnicity & religious orientation)…Peaceful Rally For illegal
    Trespassing (entering the Private Residence Of Dr. Vigil and causing horrible chaos in the entire neighborhood)
    and Feedom For Blasphemy( disrespect for those who fought and died..and Americans dying on the other side
    of the globe right now for what the context of “TRUE FREEDOM”;FOR ALL AND NOT TO BE ABUSED BY A

    You can write a narrative essay of excuses and win the Pullitzer Price; But you can’t deceive the Fact that
    Furthermore, in the game of golf they call it”HANDICAP” FOR YOU “INCOMPETENCE” !!!!!

  • fernando hernandez

    Hey Paolo:

    I’m a Hayward parent and I have to disagree with some of the staments from your last post:

    If you knew anything about Hayward, you would relaize that many many of our students have NOT been in ther HUSD for 13 years before they graduate.

    Many have just moved to the US from other countries and in many cases these students have had very little education, if any.

    The tests you mention are administered wihtout taking into account the fact that many of these students are just learning the English language. Even students who have been in this country for just one year are expected to perform at grade level? Get real!

    I don’t know how long you have been in this country, but I can tell you, as a person who came to this country as a teenager with practically no English, you do not become proficient in a language in a year or two.

    Also, I WAS at the peacefull rally in Vigil’s compound and I can tell you, as somebody who WAS there, there was no “horrible chaos in the entire neighborhood”.

    Your over the top characterization of the nature of that rally makes me question the bulk of your statements and opinions.

  • monica

    Thanx to everyone that attended the Cinco de Mayo festivities! See you at the Thursday night street fairs.

  • Bias isn’t something you “have or don’t have” — it’s something we ALL have.

    Another tired teacher: Women have always been the majority in the teaching profession (at least in the past 100 years in the USA), but the Sadkers clearly explain (in the book) why female teachers engage in most of the same behavior as men, and why female students accept and expect biased treatment.

    Statistics about raw performance (such as the higher dropout rates, frequency of low scores, incarceration rates, or college-degree rates) don’t prove that the “higher-performing group” were not victims of bias; indeed, one could argue that because teachers treat girls differently from boys in the classroom, the boys act differently in ways that result in these problems.

    Some of your cited statistics actually support the “bias” suggestion. Does it make sense that 2x as many boys as girls are diagnosed with a “special education” disability? Not intuitively. Why might boys be diagnosed more often, and why do boys get IEPs more often? Perhaps because teachers allot “more or different” attention to boys than girls, and because teachers react differently to the same behavior based on the student’s gender.

    Of course, teachers in 2007 are probably more “aware” of gender-bias issues than in 1995 (when the Sadkers wrote this book), or in 1979 (when I graduated from high school).

    Of course, most people believe that anyone who observes a teacher and then points out apparent biases is himself “biased” or “over-critical” or simply “misinterprets” classroom events. That’s what I thought, when I read the book, but for weeks after reading that book, I noticed gender-bias while observing a number of different teachers (male and female, old and young).

    Let me ask:

    (1) Have you read this book? (“Failing At Fairness: How Our Schools Cheat Girls” by Myra & David Sadker. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/068480073X/timstore06-20

    (2) Have you tried the “camera” technique to evaluate your own performance? [Set up a camera in your classroom to film yourself teaching for just ONE CLASS PERIOD, and then spend two hours watching the tape twice — the first time, just watch and make general notes; then watch it again while specifically considering whether you treated the female students differently than the male students. Try being objective: how many times did you make eye contact with female vs male students, how many times did you call on each gender, how often did you ignore similar behavior by students of one gender but not the other?

    I do NOT want to single you out here (thus I’m glad you are posting anonymously), because I certainly don’t have any reason to believe that you are less sensitive to gender-bias issues than other teachers — in fact, it seems pretty clear that you are quite aware of gender-bias issues. But I do strongly believe that you are mistaken about teachers “over-compensating” — it’s entirely possible that many teachers have changed some aspects of their behavior or reactions based on gender, but I’m not at all sure that those changes have removed bias or even improved the situation.

  • another tired teacher

    I am very aware of the camera technique, and yes I have done it several times. This was taught to me my first year teaching. That was how I noticed that I treated boys differently. I have tended to be harder on them than girls. I have asked them more closed ended questions and cut them off more often. Also I have not let them “help” as much in the classroom. I have conciously worked on these things. I will definitely read this book this summer. Thank you for the rec. I am always looking for ways to better my teaching.

    As an undergrad in Psychology classes they were always talking about the ways teachers treated girls differently so I was always looking for ways to reach out to girls more, especially the quiet ones. And especially when it came to Math and Science which I struggled with, so of course I always have strived to prevent that from happening to my girls. After more than a decade teaching, and many strong female students, I still struggle with some boys being poor readers every year that I just cannot reach. They just don’t like to read. It feels so much harder than dealing with the girls. That is my challenge. I cannot speak for other teachers.

    I still stand by my opinion that the sheer number of males in prison and the fact that the number of boys dropping out, the pervasive thug culture, the huge number of boys not going on to college is extremely alarming to me, and to me constitutes a state of emergency. I feel very strongly about that. Girls on the whole are doing a lot better than boys. I am not saying that we as teachers don’t beed to look at our teaching, I am saying that our boys are in a serious
    crisis, and our girls are not going to have husbands if we don’t do something to save them.