Teacher Professionalism Put to the Test in No-Win Greeley Situation

The Greeley Tribune reported yesterday that the local school board approved its final offer to district teachers, less than three weeks after the union rejected the offer.

I don’t like writing about situations like this one, because let me tell you there’s no winner to celebrate. The district made the least painful choice of funding salary increases for masters degrees and educational advancement — an approach with no ties to improving student achievement. Meanwhile, nothing is done to offer rewards to the best teachers, schools, or principals; removing the most ineffective teachers; or cutting non-core functions or personnel.

Not that anyone can blame officials in a bureaucratic system for avoiding pain and the opportunity of belt-tightening times to make meaningful reforms. It’s just same old, same old … sigh.

On the other hand, teachers will win little sympathy from people in the recession-stricken community with remarks like these:

“We are part of the expense — we are supposed to be,” [former Greeley Education Association president Lori] Maag said. “It’s abominable they are not offering salary increases.”

So given all that, what can we expect to happen next?

Leaving the meeting, though, Andi Lee, president of the Greeley Education Association, which represents the district’s teachers, said the board’s move was “unacceptable” and that the union needs to examine its legal options.

“I don’t know what our next move is,” Lee said. “I know we have a lot of very frustrated people out there and a lot of disappointed people out there. We expected better from our elected representatives.”

No word if the GEA plans to follow the lead of their counterparts in Boulder. In a messy situation, teacher professionalism again is being put to the test. Perhaps a reason to check out our Independent Teachers website.