No one wins in a strike. Both sides are never absolutely right or wrong.
The biggest losers in this strike are the students who both sides claim to love and/or want to see get a quality education. Students cannot get a quality education if not in school or going only half days. If the teachers loved these students, they would be in the classroom teaching them while the union continues to negotiate a new contract.
The district is portraying itself as a bully. The teachers are portraying themselves as spoiled children throwing a temper tantrum to gain what they want. Obviously, there is little or no trust and honesty between the two parties.
The district has to operate within funds provided. That is a given. The district can show trust and honesty by opening their books to show the union negotiators what money is available to operate the school district. Teachers, if you truly do not like your salary, benefits, working conditions, etc., seek a job elsewhere. Why stay where you are unhappy?
I think it's sickening to see the district's school children used as pawns by alleged adults fighting over money concerns. — Randall Hale, Medford
Hooray for Joe Charter, Jackson County justice of the peace, for dismissing the four citations issued by the Jackson County Sheriff's Department to motorists exercising their First Amendment right in support of striking teachers. If only the Medford School Board would take a page from that playbook, our students might have a chance to receive the quality education they deserve. — B. Burkett, Medford
As teachers, we ask that students show and explain the process they used to arrive at a math solution. Please show and explain the process the School Board and district use to arrive at $101,000 spent on a typical teacher with a salary of $69,600! Allow the community to follow your thinking and see if they agree with your process.
I wonder where other district numbers come from, such as the "average class size" of 24.2 students. How was that calculated? Ask your child how many of their classes are that size.
An Advanced Placement class could start with 20 but level off around 10. Most Resource classes are 10 to 20. The other 60 to 70 percent of classes are between 30 and 40. Does the district average all classes (mean), or do we see the median (middle number)? The district classifies counselors as teachers; are they used in their calculations?
A regular class of 35 plus an AP class of 15 equals 50, divided by two teachers equals 25 students per class. This shows you how numbers given to the media can be manipulated.
Maybe we all could learn from you if you show us your math and explain your calculations. — Julimarie Thomas, North Medford High School teacher, Jacksonville
I am having difficulty in determining what percentage of my $22 Social Security increase to donate to the striking teacher canned food drive. Perhaps I will inquire with their union what is needed. Surely they won't ask for it all. — Dave Anderson, Eagle Point
The parents and children of 549C now know the difference between education and crowd control. — Linda Osborne, Medford
This strike was not sudden. The foundation was laid for it years ago, when teachers acquiesced to the district's request and didn't receive much-deserved cost-of-living increases because of economic stresses on the district. Doing so, they received the false gratitude and promises of remembrance for their generosity, from the district.
A debt owed. Knock, knock. There is a knocking on the door for a reckoning to be made. Now that there is money, the guilt of that neglected promise should ring in the consciences and very souls of the school board members and district.
Our teachers are the builders of our community. Our future. Our children. United we stand. Divided we fall and fail our future. — Shannon Maddox, Medford
I am a retired teacher, having taught in several local districts. I am appalled at the School Board's lack of progress in reaching a fair settlement with the Medford Education Association, and the lasting consequences it will have for the children of our district. Our kids deserve better.
Teachers have foregone raises and made significant concessions, in previous years because of a continuing lack of adequate funding. The School Board has not demonstrated a good-faith effort to adequately compensate teachers for their sacrifices, hard work, long hours, dedication and commitment to the education of our children. More than money, issues regarding autonomy and working conditions need to be resolved.
The district has the money to pay substitute teachers, their travel expenses, their lodging and meals. The money they spend on unqualified, temporary baby sitters should be used to satisfy the legitimate needs of dedicated Medford teachers.
They should be ashamed of themselves for allowing negotiations to drag endlessly on, without any real intent on reaching a reasonable settlement.
I will work to unseat each board member during the next election cycle. Fortunately, our shortsighted superintendent is already on his way out. They are a disgrace to our community. — Richard Mikula, Jacksonville
I'm a bit perplexed by several letter writers who have argued that Medford teachers make too much money.
If you think teachers make more than they should, then you should consider becoming one. That's the beauty of American capitalism. It's easy; just quit your job and spend a year or two getting a master's degree and teaching certificate, and then you, too, can be one of those "fat cat" teachers rolling in the dough. — James Hetland, Ashland
I love all of my teachers, but I do not support all of their decisions. I am one of South Medford High School's slated Class of 2014 valedictorians.
I have spent four years with loving, professional and wonderful teachers, to whom I can accredit much of my success. However, their decision to strike has left me disappointed in their persistence to place their own agendas above their students.
In a KTVL interview, my colleague Ethan Cannon said, "Teachers are being selfish." To those who have criticized Mr. Cannon's opinion, let me clarify. "Selfish" is an adjective that describes a lack of consideration for others. A "lack of consideration for others" is a verb that describes standing on a sidewalk for your salary and your benefits. Is it worth leaving 12,000 students behind? — Christine Parks, Medford
Up until now, I thought the teachers strike in Medford was about quality education for our kids. But Mary Wieczorek's guest opinion helped me understand the core issue.
With the exception of the dispute over prep time, it is all about the money. In a county where the median household income is $44,000; the typical teacher salary of $63,000 for about 10 months of work is insufferable. Without further spin the district should end this injustice and make the people of Medford pay to meet the demands of the teachers union.
Thanks, Mary, for opening my eyes. — Paul Ash, Central Point
Let's support (or not) our teachers by voting for a ballot measure allowing higher property taxes in the Medford School District.Teachers and students deserve the best! I wonder why nobody is proposing it?
A little bit of math:
(What teachers are fighting for) minus (money they get from district) = (amount of funds needed to be raised by higher taxes).
Let the community decide! Have faith in local taxpayers! Do you remember ballot measure to build the new South Medford High School, or new libraries? It passed!
So why can't we vote for salaries of people working there? If you agree, spread the word. If you don't, do the same!
If community will not agree, teachers will have to adjust their expectations. Simple as that! — Slawomir Krolak, Ashland