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Voice: E.C. elementary board is leaving out the teachers

April 20, 2001

At the most recent board meeting of the El Centro Elementary School District, I presented the trustees with 937 signatures in support of a fair deal for teachers, who have been working without a contract for nearly two years now.

Those signatures represent a true cross-section of the community, people who care about teachers, not only as professionals but also as people. And I might as well have been reading them aloud to the wall.

I want to thank the people of El Centro, on behalf of the 309 members of the El Centro Elementary Teachers Association, for the unstinting support they have shown in our cause of securing a fair and reasonable contract.

I was reminded again of that support during the same meeting, April 10, when several speakers rose to address the board and urged a speedy resolution of the dispute, including George McFaddin, who said it was clear "the teachers had the support of the community."


While I agree entirely with Mr. McFaddin's assessment, trustees apparently still feel the need to teach the teachers and the community a lesson in power politics neither will soon forget (and they are right, because we haven't, and neither should the voters who elected them).

Finally, I had this to say to the board that night, and want to make sure it is duly noted by the public: Twice in March, the school district ran an ad in this newspaper intended to embarrass teachers by claiming they are already overpaid. This claim was, of course, more fuzzy math from the same people who are now saying "there is no more money" for teachers.

Then, in April, the district ran another newspaper ad, this one bigger than the first and promoting Public Schools Week, with activities listed for each school site. There were over 1,000 words in the ad, including "parent" and "student," both of which appeared repeatedly. Civic-minded words such as "community" and "partnership" were also there. But nowhere was the word "teacher" to be found — not even once. In fact, the reader is actually advised at one point in the text that "classrooms with special activities will send invitations to their parents."

We all know that classrooms don't send invitations to parents. Teachers do, though, and I wonder why the district chose to omit them from its Public Schools Week advertising? To have left them out of the ad by mistake would qualify as an incredible oversight, but to have done so on purpose is just small-minded and petty.

So the next time the board decides to reaffirm its confidence in the superintendent, it should also pass a resolution in support of itself because the community has lost all confidence in both of you.



El Centro Elementary

Teachers Association

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