Teachers work-to-rule


Berkeley's teachers are protesting their lack of a pay raise for the past four years by refusing to perform more than the minimum duties required by their contract, strictly within the hours specified. Papers arenot being graded during after—hours, various extra—curricular activities are falling by the wayside, and (you know they are serious) a Black History Month activity was even cancelled.

Of course, the amount the citizens of the Berkeley School District pay for their services has increased every year. Health care costs, expected to rise 12% this year, have gone up 65% over the past 5 years. In essence, health care costs have eaten up their pay raises. Unlike other public employees, Berkeley teachers get a complete free ride on their health care costs.

The teachers are also insisting that very strict class size limits be observed. In other words, they want more, more, more. Everyone would like a raise every year. But many taxpayers in Berkeley do not have ever—rising resources. I think teaching is a noble profession, but frankly speaking, the quality of education in the Berkeley Schools is not very high, and has been declining for at least 40 years.

Flexibility on class size and productivity—enhancements would be a start in allowing teachers to earn more.

Thomas Lifson  2 28 05