must watch

In the spirit of Daylight’s Savings Time, let me save the hardworking teachers of Dade County two minutes of their life by breaking down the UTD MUST WATCH (literally) video that was sent out to 20,000 district employees this morning. Here is the link to the video in case you automatically deleted the email containing the caps lock MUST WATCH video Despite sending this email out to 20,000 teachers with MUST WATCH  in all caps in the subject line, by 4:30 pm, the video had only 62 views on youtube. This makes Kafkateach feel a hell of a lot better about the number of hits the average blog posts gets on this site. In the spirit of testing season, here is a multiple choice question about the cause of such pathetic viewing numbers for UTD’s video.

Question: Teachers in Dade County most likely did not view UTD’s MUST WATCH video for the following the reason(s):

A.Most teachers never read their email (especially on Daylight Savings Monday).

B.Most teachers hit auto delete to any UTD email (especially on Daylight Savings Monday).

C.Most teachers either did not have time to read their email or watch a video (especially on Daylight Savings Monday).

D.Most teachers are either too lazy, too technologically inept, or too apathetic to click on a MUST WATCH video link in an email (especially on Daylight Savings Monday).

E. All of the above.

Sadly, UTD’s answer choice would probably be D. UTD likes to blame their impotence on teacher apathy (and they may have a point). However, I have heard too many stories about union members’ activism being squashed by union leadership to place all of the blame on teacher apathy. Since most teachers were apparently too busy trying to readjust their internal clocks to the blasphemous creation known as Daylight Savings Time, in the spirit of the Trump administration’s deconstruction era, allow me to deconstruct UTD’s main points presented in the MUST WATCH video.

The most painful part about this video is that you actually must watch it. There is no audio at all for the first minute and a half. At first I adjusted the volume on my computer thinking I must be having technical difficulties. It took me a second to realize the lack of audio was symbolic of the lack of voice you will have if House Bill 11 passes. As if the lack of volume wasn’t symbolism enough, at the end of the video the camera pans up to UTD President Karla Matz with blue duct tape across her mouth. That image alone was worth watching the video until the end. But let’s be honest, does Karla Matz really need duct tape across her mouth to get her to not say anything? Of course, the main message behind the video is that if House Bill 11 passes we will no longer have UTD and we will no longer have a voice. Here are some of the other things UTD claims we will not have without a union:

#1. A 30 minute duty free lunch. Technically, we are entitled to a 30 minute duty free lunch thanks to our contract. But how many teachers actually enjoy a 30 minute duty free lunch? Most teachers spend their lunch checking their email, calling parents, meeting with parents, dealing with the line of students outside their door crying about their grades, holding club meetings, grading papers, lesson planning…etc.

#2. A 7 hour and 20 minute work day. Once again, technically teachers only have to be at their work site for 7 hours and 20 minutes but most teachers probably put in an extra 1-2 hours off the clock in order to complete the demands of the job.

#3. No leave of absence. Yes, we can take a leave of absence, but it is unpaid. I went on maternity leave three times without receiving a dime of paid time off that wasn’t accrued sick leave. That’s really not that impressive if you compare some of the maternity perks union free corporations offer their employees. I kid you not, I heard about a company that gives their employees paid “Pupternity Leave.” A full week’s pay for getting a new puppy!

#4.Unlimited Back to School Night Activities. I do not contest this assertion. After briefly working in North Carolina, I can attest to the fact that they can make you attend multiple Back to School nights without a union.

#5. No Pay Increases. This one to me is laughable. I’ve spent many years not getting a pay increase working for Dade with UTD at the helm. Sometimes it was blamed on the Great Recession but other times my $150 raise was directly because of UTD’s wonky step schedule. The district didn’t design the step schedule, the union did. The district hands over the same pot of money to the union to distribute and it was because of UTD’s ridiculous salary schedule that I earned $150 step increases for the first decade of my career. I would have been much better off with a standard across the board 2.8% raise.

#6. No Supplement for Extra Duties. This is also laughable. The lack of enforcement of the class size amendment and the 8 period schedule has given me 1-2 extra classes worth of students without any extra pay. At one point, I could earn a supplement and only teach 150 students. Now, with no class size enforcement and the 8 period schedule, I have to teach anywhere from 180 to 210 students to get paid an extra 1/8 of my salary supplement instead of 1/6.

The next slide says “Without UTD, management could change or revoke all of these items just because they can.” Hmm…or maybe they could go through the union to revoke the grandfathered step schedule or have teachers agree to teach an extra load of students for free?

The last slide says in all caps: DON’T LET THEM SILENCE OUR VOICE!

What voice? When does UTD really ever speak up for teachers? Personally, I find the FEA and UTD a bit of an anachronism and dated. I’m not against unions, but the teachers’ unions need to modernize and downsize. Teachers can indeed have a voice without a union.  Just look at the story about the Philadelphia teacher who crowd funded $5,000 to put up a billboard to shame his school district using Go Fund Me

When was the last time UTD used membership dues to shame the school district? They are quite happy to spend union dues promoting themselves by putting their image on the back of a bus (the only thing worse than being stuck behind a bus on Biscayne Boulevard is being stuck behind a bus with UTD leadership smiling at you) but nothing to expose the issues faced by teachers in Dade County schools.

As  Nitothe Blue, one of my readers who I would love to know who you really are or what the heck a Nitothe Blue is, stated on Facebook the other day, “UTD has proven themselves useless. There is nothing else the MDCPS can take from us teachers. Honestly, the state won. The district won. I’m a 16 year teacher making 45.8k with 2.8% raises a year. They won.”

Many teachers may feel the same despite UTD’S MUST WATCH (literally) video. They won. Why even bother clicking the link?