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Labor issues surrounding the Department of education Research Paper

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Updated: Aug 9th, 2019

Introduction

The education department is facing serious labor issues with teachers being mistreated and many saying that teachers are paid way below their qualification. This paper will thus discuss recent labor issues surrounding the department of education and their teachers, specifically those in Seattle, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

It will discuss whether any progress has been made to resolve the issues. The paper will finally discuss the importance these particular cases may have for future cases, particularly for the current situation in New York between the department of education and its employees.

Discussion

Recent labor issues surrounding the department of education and their teachers in Seattle

In Seattle, teaching salaries vary depending on the academic level of the instructor, locality, and working experience. Teachers in the state, therefore, get different earnings for their work and this leads to discontentment with those salaries.

Teachers at the bottom of the pay scale earn around $47,100 to $51,180 with their counterparts earning around $75,190 to $80,970. These high disparities have led to severe labor issues in the nation department of education (Amarachuku, 2011).

The issue of teacher recruitment and retention is another labor issue in Seattle. The capability of teachers to enter and stick to the profession depends on the features of the school as well as the district in which the school is located. Some schools lack the policies required for efficient recruitment and retention of teachers and this has posed a serious labor issue in the state (Amarachuku, 2011).

Mistreatment of teachers by principals is another labor issue facing the department of education in Seattle. Head teachers mistreat instructors in terms of ignoring their needs, isolating them, holding back resources, overloading and even criticizing them (Amarachuku, 2011). Several actions have been taken to resolve the above issues in the state.

For instance, school reform organizations in Seattle require that head teachers and instructors work together in a collaborative manner. School principals need to trust their teachers as well as the schools they lead.

This acts as a foundation for a friendly, honest and philosophical professional dialogue in the school organization and this makes it to develop as a powerful community of students who are responsible and competent. The educational department also requires that all teachers confront all types of administrative mistreatment that undermine them as instructors.

Recent labor issues surrounding the department of education and their teachers in Wisconsin

Teachers in Wisconsin on February 26, 2011 protested the planned budget repairs by Governor Scott Walker. The Governor announced that the 2011-2013 budget would include more than $800 million cuts in school funding. This posed a great threat not only to the salaries of teachers, but also to the learning of students across the region.

Many people were watching the outcome of the planned actions and it was seen that the outcome would influence negotiations between many state governments in the country and organized labor. Thousands of people working in the education sector were and are facing a lot of difficulties including pay cuts and layoffs.

While commenting on the planned actions a special-ed teacher, Jim Kammer, said: “I knew going into education that some people didn’t like educators, and that’s okay, but this is just disrespectful. Both my husband and I are special-ed teachers, and we went into teaching hoping that we could afford a house and have a solid income to support a family.

Now we wonder if we’ll be able to keep our home. It’s not what we wanted for our family.” (Clark, 2011) This crisis caused many teachers to lose a lot of teaching time as schools across the Wisconsin district shutdown with some closing for three days during the first week of protests. The governor was opposed to increasing taxes and argued that the only way to tackle the budget deficit was by union-busting.

Teachers across the region argue that the budget deficit is not unique to the region as many other states are facing the same predicaments in their 2012- 2013 budgets.

According to Kevin Cunningham, an associate lecturer in the university of Wisconsin, the bill posed a great threat to future teachers; he says, “I am trying to remain optimistic, but the bottom line is, is what we ask these future teachers to do worth it? No one goes into teaching expecting to make a lot of money, but people go in expecting to be treated as professionals who are capable of making decisions about their classrooms, and this bill would strip that from them.” (Clark, 2011)

They argue that although Wisconsin falls in the middle compared to the other states, the worst hit states have not resulted to taking such draconian actions of cutting funding into the education system.

The impact of this actions was seen in early March as many schools across Wisconsin began sending preliminary layoff notices to their teaching staff. By March 15, nine Wisconsin districts had given notices to schools to lay off teachers. The Walker’s planned budget repair bill was seen as one that would nullify union contracts held by teachers and this was going to affect many of those who stood to lose their employment without compensation (Clark, 2011).

Although the region and the country as a whole is experiencing large budget deficits, the way to tackle this problem should not be primarily based on reducing funding to schools and laying off teachers. The region should adopt the various ways that other regions in the country are adopting in response to the crisis without necessarily threatening the future of education.

Recent labor issues surrounding the department of education and their teachers in Pennsylvania

The major problem that is facing the department of education and teachers in Pennsylvania concerning work is that teacher wearing religious symbols in their classes are discriminated. There has been a law in the state of Pennsylvania since 1895 that punishes teachers who wear religious symbols in their classrooms (Andren, 2011).

Under the law, any teacher found wearing them could be suspended for one year and if there is a repeat the teacher may be permanently disqualified. The school board members are also criminally liable if they fail to enforce the law in their schools. This law has come under criticism from many people and Pennsylvanian teachers are fighting it terming as a violation of the first amendment.

Teachers in the region have faulted the department of education for enforcing this law and currently there are two members of the Pennsylvanian legislature who are pushing a bill to repeal the law (Andren, 2011). In 2003 a teacher, Brenda Nicole, successfully won a case against her dismissal after she wore a cross necklace in class (KERR, 2011).

In April of that year, Brenda was suspended without pay for one year and this led to her suing the school and the education department for wrongful dismissal.

After winning the case, she was re-instated to her former position and she now continues to serve in her former position as a teacher. This discrimination against teachers has in the past threatened to bring learning to a standstill in the region and, therefore, there is need to have the law repealed or struck down by courts as being unconstitutional (Andren, 2011).

The law that discriminates teachers who wear religious symbols in the classrooms should be scrapped as it contravenes the first amendment. Teachers should be allowed to dress the way they want, as long as they are decent and follow the dressing code of schools (KERR, 2011).

Importance of these particular cases for future cases particularly; how it could affect the current situation in New York between the department of education and its employees

The current situation in the New York’s education sector comprises of about 780 employees losing their jobs as a result of layoffs. The layoffs are the result of budget cuts to academic institutions, and since this has taken place in the last four years, then school principals in the state are now forced into making tough verdicts concerning what and whom to survive without. In the last few years, school aides in New York have been protected from layoffs by federal funds though 5% of them have currently lost their jobs.

Financial cuts in the State have cost 2186 instructors their full time working in the city schools. Teachers have been protected from layoffs mostly because of the Bloomberg agreement, which provides them with small allowances in exchange for security of their jobs. New York’s district committee is held responsible for the layoffs.

The Department of education statistics shows that the layoffs have caused a large number of teachers to retire leading to several vacancies in the education department. The above cases in Seattle, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania help future cases, for example the cases of teacher layoffs in New York, to be solved. It is surprising that New York also recruits young teachers while laying off excess old teachers.

The above cases have helped solve the current situation in New York. In this state, the effect of leadership on student success has become evident with principle makers placing more pressure on head teachers. Rewards and punishments affecting school heads have become increasingly common in the state with the New York law threatening to fire school heads as a probable consequence in poor performing academic institutions.

In New York, a small portion of a principal’s pay is determined by the professional standards associated with learner outcomes. These trends signify an increasing acceptance that head teachers play a crucial role in influencing students’ achievements and should be accountable for it.

As a result of the above cases, the role of the school head has swelled to encompass a staggering range of professional duties and competencies. Principals in New York are expected to be instructive visionaries, educational and syllabus leaders, evaluation experts, disciplinarians, society builders and guardians of contractual and official mandates.

Principals in New York are expected to pay attention to the contradictory wants of students, parents, tutors and federal agencies. The demands of the teaching profession in New York have thus changed so that conventional methods of preparing principals are no longer sufficient to satisfy the leadership challenges in public institutions.

References

Andren, K. (2011, June). . Web.

Amarachuku, E. C. (2011, June). Finding plan b: critical remedy construction for school districts operating under education equity consent decrees post Seattle and Louisville. Web.

Clark, M. (2011, March). . Web.

KERR, C. (2011, September). . Web.

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