Mar 21, 2013

Teachers Should Share Sacrifice, says Armstrong

For some time now, many Allentown teachers have appeared before this board to express their concern for Art, Music and Physical education in the ASD and their commitment to its importance as a core subject for learning and intellectual growth. Being on education’s front line they are the experts on what motivates learning. Likewise, they see first hand the detrimental effects of cuts in Arts, Music and Physical education. However, they also have the power to rescue these at the elementary level for the children of the Allentown School District by simply agreeing to extend the pay freeze. In the face of dire economic circumstances/times, the taxpayers will be doing their part to balance this budget. They will be directed by this board to makea sacrifice, their tax bill will go up, and more money will be taken out of their pockets. If ASD teachers would make a similar sacrifice, Arts, Music and Physical education could be continued in the district’s elementary schools. If the teachers wanted to save more positions then they could consider a small salary decrease. The amount of salary reduction necessary to save positions could be quickly calculated by the district. The teachers are not powerless in this budgetary crisis. They could choose to do the right thing for the district’s students and their fellow teachers facing furlough. They can provide an example of selflessness and demonstrate their commitment to public education.

Scott Armstrong

UPDATE:  The Teachers Response
Here is the unions response to Mr. Armstrong's ideas
This email is for all members.

Dear Mr. Armstrong and Board members,

Thank you for your belated request to negotiate with the AEA. I will gladly forward your email below to our members today.

Is Dr. Mayo aware that you have made this request? If this is a formal request to negotiate with AEA, it is the first such request made of the Association, to date. Ordinarily, we receive requests to negotiate from the Superintendent.

Our teachers demonstrate their "selfless commitment to public education" every day. I don't know if you realize how dedicated they are to their work, their students and the Allentown School District.

I would like to remind you - and I have said it many times recently - our members chose to enter into a three-year contract with the district just last year. They agreed to a complete freeze this year and two more years of concessions, for the duration of the contract. Had the board or the district needed more from us, in anticipation of future financial difficulties, those needs should have been addressed before January, 2012. To vilify this Association after the fact is disingenuous.

Debra Tretter


monkey momma said...

By teachers, I assume he means the union.

Anonymous said...

It is not a decision by individual teachers. Collectively they decide what is best in the long term for the union.

Giving up salary in one district impacts negotiations in other districts.

I don't doubt some teachers would consider a reduction, but it's not likely in collective situations.

Not saying it's good or bad, just the way these things wprk.

Anonymous said...

Once a teacher joins a union, they run by mob rules and each one stoops to the lowest common denominator. There is no logical argument with a mob.

Anonymous said...

get rid of the union and you can then pay your childs' educators 7.25/hr.
or do your kids go to the Moravian Academy?

michael molovinsky said...

the response by debra tretter, president of the teacher's union, was contained in a comment sent by mrweiss

Anonymous said...

Debra Tretter,

You will remember I voted against that contract. I said at the time it was more than the district/taxpayers could afford. I was prover right.
My statement is mere common sense, something in short supply at school board meetings.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

It's more the Lavish pension of the Teachers union, that is causing the tax burden. If it was more in line with the private sector, the taxpayers would be better served.

ironpigpen said...

The state has $ 177.1 million dollars for a minor league ice hockey rink I affectionately call "the Palace of Sport".

BUT the state does not have enough money to give to the Allentown School District, who had to cut 144 teaching and administrative positions.

Is this right or am I missing something?

Thanks in advance for your guidance, as always.



Anonymous said...

Nobody with school age children and the ability to choose another place moves into Allentown now.
This place is finished.

Anonymous said...

There are good teachers and administrators at ASD, but the union is poison to the system. Add to that overpaid administrators who lay low and want to keep their jobs and you've got a failing school system.

The more parents and community members who get involved, the more accountability there will be. Most of the schools do not have functioning PTO/PTA organizations, which is evidence of the disfunction.

Stop pointing fingers and figure out what you can do to help an ASD student. Volunteer with the Scouts, read a bedtime story to your kids and talk to a teenager about career choices. There is a lot regular citizens can do, besides moving out of the district.

Anonymous said...

Look to Philadelphia (school district) for a hint of where ASD is heading.


Anonymous said...

Source: NY Times (MAR 2013)

"Philadelphia is one of a number of major cities that have been closing schools because of falling enrollment, poor academic performance and budget deficits. New York, Chicago and Washington have closed dozens of schools in the last decade and have recently published plans to shutter dozens more.

Public school enrollments are falling as more students migrate to charter schools. In Philadelphia, the proportion of students attending charter schools jumped to 23 percent in the 2011-12 school year from 12 percent in 2004-5, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

School districts are also being hit by state budget cuts. Pennsylvania cut Philadelphia’s financing by $419 million this year. Meanwhile, the federal government has provided incentives to close schools that do not measure up to national performance standards."

Sound remotely familiar?

I would say that Allentown is fortunate to have at least one outspoken school board member willing to tell the truth, whether special intersts like it or not.