Comments about ‘Hundreds rally against new Ogden teacher contracts’

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Published: Thursday, July 14 2011 1:00 p.m. MDT

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On the other hand
Spanish Fork, UT

Here's what I gather from the comments so far: one teacher's as good as another, so when it comes to your children, any old teacher will do. If we just throw them a few scraps of bread and order them to get to work, surely they'll produce the results you want (and be grateful for the chance you generous taxpayers offer them to be the lowest-paid teachers in the nation). And if they don't perform, you'll just throw them out and find others who will do the same work for even less.

Brilliant plan, folks.

(And no, I'm not a teacher.)

Hurricane, UT

What I find interesting is that someone who is GIVING a grade based on performace does not want to BE graded based on performance.

Tremonton, UT

I understand that these teachers are upset because they feel they were not included in writing this contract. But when both sides of this story are included, it is clear that the union failed to negotiate a contract that was agreeable to both parties. It's not like they didn't get a say. In actuallity, they chose not to. Or at lease the union chose not to.

And the Weber County teachers have hired the union to represent them. So they were represented in contract negotiations.

As for performance based pay for teachers, I am all for it. Any professional job I have ever had is based upon performance. Not only my employment but my pay increases are all based upon performance. Work well and be rewarded. work poorly, and end up on an improvement plan. That is real life for all of those who do not work on a gravy train.

Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

So, let's make them teach 40-50 students. Not only must they reach each one, they must make sure that these students can pass their tests so that this teacher can keep her job.

It sounds like a recipe for failure. Instead of lowering the amount of students in each class so that the teacher can make a difference and really teach each student, they say your career is now based on how well these students pass tests.

Who in their right mind would ever want to be a public education teacher in Utah? Especially if they are a good teacher and can land a job in a private school or move out of state for a state that values educating their children.

Who is leading this mess? Where are the leaders willing to step up and change this situation so that each child has a chance?

Murray, Utah

Sounds to me like the school board isn't bypassing the teachers, but bypassing the union.

How does offering individual contracts to teachers bypass them? They can agree, disagree, or attempt to negotiate individually. My experience with the teachers' union is that they're the ones that don't want districts working directly with the teachers.

I love teachers. Married one. They're awesome and deserve to be paid and treated like professionals. Professionals don't need unions negotiating on their behalf.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

And when the last union is gone, then what? When the American worker has zero voice, what then? Management will grow a conscience and suddenly class war will end? It's a global market, baby, and the cry of the right is more for the top, less for the masses. Keep the tax subsidies for the oil companies, send jobs out of the country. Balance the budgets on the backs of the next generation. FYI, the "great recession" ended two years ago. Big business is flush with cash, enjoying record profits and the lowest taxes in 60 year. If job opportunities are gone, why look to the low-paid public employees for relief?

"there began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and boasting because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions; for there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers, and many officers. And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty ... thus there became a great inequality in all the land"
3 Nephi 6:10-14

Salt Lake City, UT

@VA Saint
Since when is the UEA or the OEA not a union? The UEA, together with its statewide affiliates, is one of the most powerful unions in the state!

West Haven, Utah

Rational -

Teachers fight merit pay and think everyone should get paid the same? Really? I guess I can't speak for all Teachers, but my wife literally spends hundreds of dollars every single year that aren't reimbursed to her to help educate your children/grandchildren. She is an outstanding Teacher (has won awards). Do you think she's afraid of 'merit pay'? Absolutely not. But how would you like it if your employer told you 'Rational, we don't have a contract, so you either sign this contract that says you'll get paid less, and the rest might be made up in merit pay, or I'll fire you.' So, you ask your Boss 'What are the details about Merit Pay? Will my overall salary be the same'? Then your Boss says, 'Well, I haven't worked that out. But it doesn't matter anyway. Sign or be fired'. Yeah, I'm sure you'd be happy with that, wouldn't you?

If it weren't for the fact that I make a very good wage in the Private sector, I'm not sure how my wife could afford to educate your children.

Salt Lake City, Utah

The facts are important to any discussion, and have been left out of this one. Fact-Ogden teachers have continued to work for two years while their leadership attempted to negotiate a contract. Fact last fall the school board and teachers association reached impasse and then hired a fact finder and agreed to be bound by his recommendations, the Ogden School Board bailed out when the fact finder's recommendations where not what they had expected (the board selected the fact finder). Fact The Ogden Education Association was ready and waiting to negotiate in April and May, the Ogden School District was not. Fact the Ogden School School Board summarily decided in June to institute a new contract with over 100 changes from the previous contract.

Reality, anyone who thinks this is the way to treat someone you expect work miracles in a district that lacks every indicator of success is crazy. These teachers face the most challenging student population in the state. By the districts own words, this was an economic decision based on a way to lower spending and control the budget not improve education.

West Haven, Utah

People commenting on this board:

It seems that I am unable to put together a comment on this board that the Editors will allow. Many of you are posting things that are simply not true. Since I can't get a post through that directly references the website, I would encourage you to go to Google and enter 'Utahs Right To Know Salary'. As a Utah taxpayer, you have every right to know what Teachers, Superintendents, Principals, etc. make. When you do this, I think some of you might just change your mind on who is stonewalling the negotiations.

Provo, UT

I'm not seeing the "power" of the UEA or its affiliated members.

In the last 5-10 years:

Teachers have larger class sizes
Small raises and sometimes no raises
Many districts have not given their teachers their steps and lanes
Increases in insurance premiums
and now in Ogden school district, the contract offered teachers with no teacher input
new teachers have to work 35 years for pensions (don't worry not too many will make that long)
the loss of seniority in hiring/firing

This sounds like a powerful union to me. I mean, these union leaders are regular Jimmy Hoffas. I mean "fight the power" literally. I mean if the trend keeps going teacher unions might demand for teachers not to have 50 students in their classes and get paid minimum wage, that would be outrageous.

West Valley, UT

@VA Saint: Welcome to the real world. I've not had a raise or cost-of-living increase in years either. In fact, most of us haven't. Our health insurance goes up every year too. Stop trying to act like you are under some sort of hardship, you are just having to deal with the same things that the rest of us out here in the REAL WORLD deal with.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

@The Rock

"Public employees labor unions should be illegal."

So, now public employees are no longer Americans protected by the Constitutional rights of assembly and speech? How a public employee chooses to spend the money they earn from working is none of your business. If they choose to pay union dues with their income, that is their choice.

That being said, I wouldn't teach in Ogden School District for any amount of money. Their dictatorial style of "sign this or else" tactics is just plain stupid. Every worker in their district will eventually leave to work for Davis, Weber, Box Elder, Cache, etc. Just because times are tough, doesn't mean you get to treat your workers with contempt.

Ronald Uharriet
SWun City, Ca.

As a retired teacher in California, I cant urge teachers in every state enough, to join your local and your state, and your National Professional Organizations that represent you. Unions are important when you need them and not appreciated enough when you think that you do not need them.

Everyone should have the right to belong to a union and be represented by the Union.

My school district in California, pays $89,000 per year with 15 years of service and a Masters.

Without the power of the Union, we would still be working for $75,000 per year or less.

Dont forget the National Organization that is not controlled by the politics of any state, or district politics.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Although Madam Union boss claimed, "This is about bypassing teachers," this is actually about bypassing the Union!

As noted above, the Ogden district's performance is dismal, measured by the education of their students. That despite all the wonderful stuff the Union has always claimed to do for the children, but in reality more for the union itself and dues paying members, not necessarily the best teachers.

Bravo to the school board for daring to try something new and eliminate one disruptive part of the difficult process they manage.

Bravo also to the good teachers who will be teaching there again. And, for any not so good teachers, you may want to start looking for a new career.

Children, and Taxpayers, deserve better!

West Haven, Utah

eagle -

I enjoyed your post. Interesting. I know a teacher who recently applied for a teaching job with the Federal Government. This teacher has a Masters Degree plus 60 hours of further education. This teacher has been teaching for 14 years. The Federal Government offered her the job - at minimum wage!

DeltaFoxtrot -

Let's see if you mean what you say. You want to live in the real world? Okay by me. See the note to eagle above. Go to the College of your choice. Get 7 years of education (paid by no one other than yourself). Then take a teaching job at the Federal Government for minimum wage. Health Insurance will cost you half your paycheck. The rest can go to pay back your student loans. You want the real world? Let's see you deal with it.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Again, teachers are in the real world just like everyone else. They pay taxes like everyone else. They haven't had raises like everyone else. And guess what, they have to right, like everyone else, to fight for something better. THey also have the right to fight for something better for your children...

CHS 85
Sandy, UT


I have it bad, so my kid's second grade teacher should have it bad, too.

So when times are good, you'll be all in favor of teachers getting raises again? Somehow I doubt it.

ogden, ut

Doug R. Stephens makes $59,815 from the Ogden School District and $5,446.00 from Weber State. I would say that $65,261 for 36 weeks ($45.32 per hour) is well above average for Utah and the current state of the economy not to mention the great retirement benefits and pension he will get.

Magic Pog

Public School is not a business.

One big problem with this is people saying "They will get more money in the long run" - Where is this money going to come from. If the system is set up so that the best teachers get paid more then it is banking on some teachers failing. So this is to set up a competition between teachers.

Why would a teacher want to share ideas or work together with other teachers if their pay is based on others failing?

Why would any teacher want to help "problem" student when they will be penalized if the student does not respond?

This would lead to focusing on the best students and pawning off the worst.

In business you want to out preform your competition to run them out of business and make more of a profit. In education you want all students to have success and get a good education. You can't have performance based pay based on the performance of students.

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