In order to understand the negotiations between teachers, support personnel, and school districts, citizens must recognize that the educators’ proximity allows for an informed evaluation of the efficiency, distribution of resources, and politics within the district.
We can’t assume that the conflict with teachers, administration, and boards is a result of self-interested, money-hungry teachers versus stewards of the public trust. Such divisions are never that clear.
Consider the following example of the proverbial “speck” and “log.”
Let’s take, for example, health insurance. Access to this resource and its associated cost is cause for considerable anxiety for many.
As a result, when teacher organizations seek to maintain this benefit, some in the community may bristle at what seems to be an unfair advantage as they struggle to secure health insurance. Teachers must empathize with this response and create unity.
However, this susceptibility to outrage can be readily manipulated by unscrupulous board members, superintendents, etc. Boldly they barricade the rabble (non-administration) from robbing the community blind.
Health insurance is just too expensive for the community to support at the level proposed by the teacher organization.
One can almost hear cheers of approval for the self-sacrificing champions of the public trust.
But wait a minute.
In many local school districts, administrators have their insurance completely covered, or covered at a higher level, at the public’s expense with board approval. Teachers with many years of dedicated service in the community may be told, by someone who pays less or nothing, that their benefits for health insurance or contributions must change dramatically.
Are administrators taking the position they do toward teacher benefits basically to protect an enhanced benefit package for themselves and their select cohort? At a minimum, this is a gross double standard.