"Board Majority Lacks Common Sense”

The following was posted in the Darien Patch "Speak Out" section. We are reposting it on Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Patch. Readers who wish to weigh in the Dist. 86 teacher contract negotiations may send letters to the editor at lorraine.swanson@patch.com. 

By listening to the new board majority and its supporters you'd think that the teachers in District 86 have little or nothing to do with the district's tradition of excellence. After all, Mr. Skoda talks about how overpaid the teachers are and how many applicants the district gets and Mr. Corcoran says that teachers should be so honored to work in such a prestigious school district that they should be paid below market rates.

I wonder how this logic would be viewed if applied to coach Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff of the Chicago Blackhawks. 

I'm sure Quenneville and his staff are really dedicated and do a fine job that we all respect, but let’s not forget he has a slew of all-star players on the ice that he is fortunate to coach. It’s not like Hossa or Toews or Sharpe or Kane need coaching! Anyone could coach guys like that. It's the players’ dedication and talents that win the Cup, not the coaches!

Besides, the performance of the Blackhawks has been rather flat of late. Quenneville and his staff only won the Stanley Cup two of the last five years. That's only 40% - how can they justify paying such high salaries for coaches without showing continued improvement!

If Quenneville and his staff left, there would be tons of quality applicants for their jobs. They should be paid well below market rates as people would do their jobs for free given the storied history of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Sound ridiculous? Not to the new board majority when applied to the district's award winning teachers or their consistently high performance.

Emily Polacek
Darien, IL

Patricia Orler June 29, 2014 at 04:10 PM
I disagree with the premise that D86 teachers are overpaid. The Board compares the median resident salary to the average teacher salary, median and average are not the same thing and this comparison is not apples to apples. D86 is fortunate to have teachers who have continued their educations and spent time and money attaining a masters degree or PHD so it would be more accurate to compare teacher salaries with residents who have attained a masters or PHD level of education in our District. Also, anyone who has taught knows that teachers work longer than 8 hours a day and 9 months out of the year. The Board majority makes broad assumptions that are unfounded in fact and presents them as objective, actionable facts. Unfortunately these 4 people are in the driver's seat for the near future. I hope the teachers know that there are many parents who do not share the values of the Board majority.
Mary Buddig June 29, 2014 at 04:43 PM
Patricia, thank you for pointing this out and being another voice of reason. Our teachers spend a lot of extra time to help out the students at HC and HS. Many of them come very early and stay late to help students. They care about our children and their success.
Dick Flesher June 29, 2014 at 08:20 PM
The June 24th District #86 press release makes mention of the fact, according to Dr. Skoda, that "we know that the District's offer is rational, fair, respectful and sustainable in every way." The very same can be said of the proposal put forth by the HHSTA. Every faculty member understands fthe need for the these elements in a contract.
Carol Park June 29, 2014 at 10:11 PM
Thank you, Patricia. It is a myth that most teachers have 8-hour work days and work for only 9 months a year. I have known many teachers who arrive at school at 6 or 6:30 a.m. and many more who are working with students on extracurriculars or sports teams until 8 or 9 at night. Many teachers also teach summer school, because they need the extra income to support their families and be able to help their own children to go to college. Let's acknowledge that high school teachers are highly educated professionals and compensate them accordingly!
Ken Wilson July 02, 2014 at 03:07 PM
Yeh, go check the faculty parking lot at 6:00 AM or even 4:30 PM like a ghost town. FACT most educators work their contractually required 7 and a quarter hours a day and cut out, supposing Lunch is not to be considered compensated time. Those that coach or lead extracurricular or chair a department are paid extra for that time to stay late. Any one with children in the schools or recent graduates known many are outstanding educators and there are a few that should find other employment. Ask the students ask their peers who are the great educators and who is falling short, they will tell you both extremes as they do exist. It is hard pressed to argue the current compensation, work environment, mandated work hours and mandated work days in a year (180 - 15 sick and 5 personal = 160 days in a year:7.25 a day back out lunch) is a pretty good gig and fairly compensated. To strike in the face of these facts prima facie seems petty. Now I don't care much about how many highly educated advanced degrees someone has from the University of Phoenix, I am more concerned about an educator's effectiveness in the classroom and their ability to partner with parents. Statistics show very little correlation between educator's having highly educated "advanced degrees" and children learning more in the classroom. After about 5 years up the curve experience also flattens out in terms of its impact on and educator's ability to teach more effectively as the years go on. These are fairly widely accepted facts supported by quantitative data. Teachers are highly appreciated and instrumental, we need to figure out a way to incentivize and reward those that excel at teaching and perform at higher levels than their peers and break away from the antiquated entitlement philosophy.


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