Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!
It’s official! “Mr. David” Wierhake has taken the plunge into the blood bath of local school politics.
And his platform is so simple that even the most ‘English language-challenged’ HT commentator could wrap their mind/heads around it — The Three R’s: Review. Rethink. Revise.
No stranger to being placed ‘on stage’, actor/musician/songwriter “Mr. David” Wierhake (a.k.a. dwBrykalski, the recently adopted stage paying tribute to his Polish ancestry and his recently deceased mother, Irene Antoinette Brykalski-Wierhake) welcomes the input and opinions of citizens of Monroe County. And, he promises to give each and everyone more than “three minutes” of his in-person time, to hear your ‘monologue’ on the important issues we face as a community regarding the future of public education.
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!
In March 2009, I addressed the Board regarding substitute teacher compensation, noting that there had not been increase in the pay rate for over a decade and that the national average day rate for substitute teachers was $105/day.
The 2010-11 school year—sub teachers worked a 6.5-hour day at $60/day or $9.23/hr.; The new extended-day 2011-12 school year 1st semester sub teachers worked a 7.5-hour day at $60/day or $8.00/hr.; 2nd semester 7.5-hour day at $63/day or $8.40/hr.
The recent ‘retro active 5% raise’ that the Board boasts as “incredible or above and beyond what everyone else received” is nothing more than a slight of hand or “We’ll buy you a three dollar school lunch; Are you happy now?” gesture.
‘Even money’ e.g. stay even with hourly pay rate of the last decade would require a $70/day rate. I grow as tired talking about this injustice, as I’m certain you do listening to my non-stop mantra.
Now, I could change the subject and talk about the over 200 jobs I’ve applied for since being forced to resign a MCCSC special education position in 2008 because somehow someone in HR didn’t’ feel it was necessary to include “must change the diapers of a moderately disabled student” in the job description.
I could talk about how one ‘enlightened, unbiased’ principal could objectively assess and pass judgment on a person’s classroom management abilities and style—without even being present in the classroom to witness the challenges a fill-in teacher might encounter!
I could talk about bullying—not between students—but institutional bullying within the administrative halls of MCCSC, where the powers-that-be rear the collective, ugly head of authority, sneering and snapping in hopes that they might discourage a committed and talented teacher of children by suspending him without cause.
But I won’t. The school year is almost over. It’s past time to retire the past.
Plato said, “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”
I’ve never been apathetic about my charge as a substitute teacher. Nor have I been apathetic about lobbying on behalf of all MCCSC sub teachers—not just for a living-wage e.g. the national average pay rate, but for training and professional recognition. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that this method of advocacy has its limits.
Mark Twain wrote in Following the Equator; Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar, “In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made School Boards. ”
So, what I’m about to announce must make me truly an idiot. I would like to officially announce my candidacy for MCCSC school board. I look forward to representing the parents, students, and community members of District Five. And, I look forward to collaborating with the administration and other school board members to create the best the public educational system possible.
My platform of Mr. David is simple—borrowing from the slang of education, the four Rs, if you will: Review. Rethink. Revise. And Reduce.
Thank you for your time.
If a school board president engages in bullying, is he required to go to ISD or just sit out recess?Posted March 1, 2012 by nowchangethis
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!
Innocent until proven guilty, correct?
Those on the frontline within the halls and classrooms of today’s schools know how challenging a trouble student’s out-of-control behavior can be sometimes. A thrown chair here, a slammed locker door there; a chemistry lab beaker thrown in anger or even a physical assault of a teacher or fellow student, all spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
The question one has to ask is, “Do we in this day and age require a principal or assistant principal to police our halls of learning?” Where was the school’s security officer during this disturbing interchange?
I attempted to address our school board this past Tuesday in hopes of raising the issue of security within our schools. But, I was told that, “You got three (3) minutes” to discuss any or all of the topics you’ve signed up for by the ringmaster of the Board. Yes, the MCCSC Bylaws suggest that, “The School Board recognizes the value of public comment on educational issues and the importance of allowing members of the public to express themselves on Corporation matters.” And yes, these published policies state that, “Each statement made by a participant shall be limited to three (3) minutes duration…No participant may speak more than once on the same topic.”
Are we now as citizens and members of this community experiencing a surly unwillingness on the part our Board and Administration to live up to its policies and bylaws? To quote the honorable Jim Muehling (who obviously had the support of Superintendent Judy DeMuth, as she visibly nodded her head in agreement) “We don’t have to take any comments whatsoever at anytime in a board meeting. We are giving public comments. You have three minutes and you are welcome to choose any topics as long it is not personnel.”
One might say that this was nothing but a form of bullying in the public forum by an elected official who sits high on his perch much like Dr. Seuss’ “Yertle the Turtle.”
And how many people stood behind me ready to take their precious three (3) minutes? Zero. That’s right, not a single soul.
As I was invested in again enlightening the board (it was the one year anniversary of sharing with the Board that subs never got an incremental pay increase as other support staff do on an annual basis) to the fact that the recent ‘raise’ for substitute teachers was really no raise at all in light of the extended day schedule, but an inching towards the hourly pay rate we’ve enjoyed the years prior to 2011 e.g. get us back to square one or even. (Sub teachers, and I say “teachers”, as that is the function we perform on a daily basis, are nothing but glorified babysitters in the eyes of ‘downtown’. FYI sub teachers took the hit during the first semester in that they got NO ADJUSTMENT to their daily rate for that extra almost hour worked.) So, the other couple of equally important issues fell by the way side.
One of my ‘three (3) minute’ topics was school security. In light of the recent school shooting in Ohio, I would have thought this might be something worthy of discussing, correct? I mean, we are about to spend a quarter of a million dollars ($225,000) on a security system for all schools, so my question to the higher-ups was to be, “What value do you place on human life and are you willing to leave it up to technology to ‘control’ our school’s hallways rather than hiring and training certified security personnel who might know how to anticipate and prevent random violence, or even wrestle a troubled youth safely to the ground?”
I’ll put my money on a person over a television monitor. And if you want to see some of the finest school security foot soldiers, stop by Fairview Elementary School. And had Binford’s principal had an extra hand ‘in the matter’, perhaps this situation might not have gotten so out of hand.
And what about the bullying behavior of our distinguished school board president? What say ye, “ISD (Immediately Step Down)” or “sit on his fanny during recess e.g. let someone else run the meeting who has an modicum of decency and respect”?
Let’s let the Superintendent DeMuth decide. That’s why we pay her the big bucks to make these calculated executive decisions.
NO SUB LEFT BEHIND 2012
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!
Bloomington IN — Having attended last night’s MCCSC Board Meeting, I witnessed/experienced what appears to be a surly unwillingness on the part of Board and Administration to live up to its policies and bylaws.
As I took the podium for the Public Comment portion of the meeting, I was reminded that I had only three (3) minutes to speak on the five or six topics I had signed up to address. I wanted to clarify the Board’s policies (something I had emailed them the day before, so they were more than aware of the language in question). Quoting their official bylaws:
0167.3 Public Participation at Board Meetings
The School Board recognizes the value of public comment on educational issues and the importance of allowing members of the public to express themselves on Corporation matters….To permit fair and orderly public expression, the Board (shall) may provide a time for public participation at those public meetings of the Board during which action may be taken and (shall) publish procedures to govern such participation in Board meetings…Each statement made by a participant shall be limited to three (3) minutes duration…No participant may speak more than once on the same topic.
Having several topics that I felt needed to be addressed or shared with the Board, I assumed (falsely it appears) that one could devote up to three (3) minutes on EACH TOPIC.
Here’s how it played out:
I’m introduced by President Jim Muehling, who states that Mr. Wierhake as several topics to discuss and he has three (3) minutes to discuss any or all of his choosing.
I respond with a ‘preemptive comment’ quoting the above bylaws, but I’m immediately and sternly stopped in my tracks.
“You’ve got three minutes.” Meuhling said calmly.
“You mean you are going to suspend the by-laws/policies of the Board at this time?” I inquired.
“We don’t have to take any comments whatsoever at anytime in a board meeting.” Muehling snapped back. “We are giving public comments. You have three minutes and you are welcome to choose any topics as long it is not personnel.”
Dr. DeMuth sat alongside Muehling and shook her head in agreement.
I thanked Mr. Muehling for both the clarification and allowing me the public stage.
Anyone can go online to the MCCSC website and review the Board’s bylaws/policies. What you will find is a mixed up document with deletions and additions, bolding, type in red, etc. It is a ‘work in progress’ no doubt; something that they can change willy-nilly to fit their needs and whims. Do they really value public comment? Or is it merely a disturbance in their happy-go-lucky board meeting where everything is coming up roses and we can celebrate this, celebrate that, and somehow gloss over important issues.
What was I going to discuss beyond unceasing request to get a pay increase for sub teachers that takes into account the extended day? (See Joe Lee cartoon and my recent HT GUEST COLUMN.)
Oh, the rather unimportant issue of school security for one. In light of the recent school shooting in Ohio, one would think this might cause Mr. Muehling to make another ‘pre-emptive comment’ to reassure the public that MCCSC is taking immediate steps to insure that our school kids, teachers, and staff are safe! (As side question here would be: Would the proposed quarter of a million dollar security camera system prevent a shooting that occurred in Ohio? Or would $225K be better spent on hiring and training ‘security foot soldiers’ who could man/woman the entrances to our public schools?)
Another topic I wanted to bring up to the Board was the recent ‘redesign’ of its website. I’m no stranger to website design, having worked with some very creative designers at htInteractive Media in the mid-1990s. This was the ‘hey day’ of website design. I still am friends with some of my co-workers and I share my concern about MCCSC.edu (Or is it MCCSC.net or MCCSC.info? There seems to be so many versions still up it gets to be rather confusing.) and its functionality and design. My friend is losing his eye sight yet he still is employed at IU on a web design team. That brings into question the “accessibility factor” e.g. people w/disabilities and standards that are out there regarding making websites accessible to ALL people. The cookie-cutter template MCCSC has developed that is transferred to all schools takes the life and soul from those individual schools. BHSS looks no different than BHSN other than the color scheme. The main page of MCCSC uses “frames”–three actually–where one must scroll down continually to gather content.
These are a few important issues I wanted to share with the Board. But, one can’t really state one’s case in three (3) minutes, can they. Or am I just a slow talker?
“Substitute educators perform a vital function in the maintenance and continuity of daily education…Substitute educators throughout the United States are seeking to be recognized as the professionals they are…They are seeking professional compensation and development; they are seeking support through collective bargaining; they are seeking partnership with their full-time colleagues in the classroom.” —National Education Association NEA.org
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!
Tags: MCCSC, MCCSC School Board Judy DeMuth Jim Muehling WFIU David Wierhake Substitute Teachers Budget Extended Day Bloomington Indiana Indiana University
February 27, 2012
Is it not the responsibility of the MCCSC to provide the public with a complete and clear list of agenda topics for each monthly school board meeting?
If anyone had been tracking the issue of substitute teacher compensation post-president Jim Muehling’s “pre-emptive comment” delivered in December, where he said “Peggy Chambers would be reviewing not only substitute teacher compensation but compensation of all nonunion support staff” in the near future, they would have, like me, been caught unawares by the announcement at a board meeting last month that Ms. Chambers was recommending a $3 dollar per day “raise” for MCCSC substitutes.
And where was this breaking news listed on the agenda? Conveniently hidden within the agenda topic of “SUPPORT STAFF HANDBOOK.”
To the casual observer, one might think, “Gee, that must be topics related to dress code, maybe computer use, ‘code of ethics’ and policy statements, or even rules regarding safety on the job or the annual employee picnic,” but not a “meat and potatoes” discussion of employee pay scale review!
A clever “smoke and mirrors” dodge by the administration and/or our school board, wouldn’t you say? The hot topic of substitute teacher compensation has been with us for almost a year now. For the past decade, the pay rate for MCCSC sub teachers has been flat; they have never been privy to the annual incremental pay increases awarded to other dedicated support staff members.
Plus, with the new (and questionably popular) extended day, these essential and educated individuals took a 15 percent pay cut, e.g., no pay adjustment for the extra hour per day they log.
Consider this: Your child during the course of their K-12 education will spend one (1) year under the guidance of a substitute teacher. And our school corporation feels that such a responsibility warrants the same compensation as a McDonald’s fry cook or roughly $8.25/hour; a rate that Peggy Chambers feels is in line with what other corporations pay their guest teachers with the exception of Richland-Bean Blossom, which, according to Chambers, is our “greatest competitor” for acquiring educated “fry cooks.”
The national average pay rate for substitute teachers is $105/day. But living in what appears to be a less-than-average community with less-than-average school leadership, that extra $3 a day will at least pay for a cafeteria lunch. So, count yourselves lucky, sub teachers — MCCCS is picking up the check! (Gratuity not included.)
By David Wierhake
Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2012
Categories: MCCSC Sub Teachers Unite!
Tags: MCCSC School Board Judy DeMuth Jim Muehling WFIU David Wierhake Substitute Teachers Budget Extended Day Bloomington Indiana Indiana University
December 17, 2011
Pay for substitute teachers is up for review at Monroe County Community School Corp.
MCCSC has a pool of 260 substitute teachers and uses an average of about 75 per day, according to Peggy Chambers, MCCSC assistant superintendent for human resources.
The district pays $60 a day for noncertified teachers, $70 a day for certified teachers and $80 a day for retired MCCSC teachers.
After discussion initiated by MCCSC subs, Chambers said the district decided to take a closer look at the issue.
Additionally, the district takes an annual look at all support staff salary and benefit packages this time of year to coincide with the expiration of unionized support staff’s contracts, she said.
Unionized support staff includes bus drivers and monitors, custodians and food service employees. Nonunionized staff includes a number of groups, including substitute teachers, teacher aides, secretaries and coordinators, security guards and custodial supervisors.
“We are trying to address several employees,” Chambers said. “Almost all employee groups have expressed a concern about wages.”
One substitute teacher who has been vocal about a pay increase is David Wierhake, who is also a former MCCSC employee. Wierhake has addressed the school board a number of times asking for an increase in pay, particularly after the district made school days longer but did not increase substitute teachers’ pay.
“Essentially substitute teachers this year have taken a 15 percent pay cut,” Wierhake told the board.
Wierhake is asking the board to increase sub pay to the national average of $105 a day.
Chambers said the district’s pay rate is in line with similar districts. “We feel what we are offering our substitutes is comparable to what’s being offered to substitutes in the area,” she said.
Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corp. pays $65 for subs with an associate’s degree and $80 for those with a bachelor’s degree/teacher license.
Martinsville School District pays $64 for certified teachers and $60-$62 for noncertified; Eastern Greene Schools pays $60 for certified and $55 for noncertified; and Lafayette School Corp. pays a flat rate of $65 a day.
Indianapolis Public Schools has one of the highest pay rates at $125 for certified teachers; $75-$100 for noncertified and $150 for retired IPS teachers.
Chambers plans to make a recommendation to the board early next year.