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THE TORCH:  MARCH 2004

THE BOTTOM LINE

     Hugh M. Spoljaric, President

              Kingston Teachers’ Federation

                     “The Real Terror”

     On February 25, the New York Times printed a column by Sam Dillon and Diana Jean Schemo on Secretary of Education Rod Paige’s remarks about teachers in which he characterized them as “terrorists” and the National Education Association as a “terrorist organization.” The remarks were prompted by the union’s criticism of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program.

     Our members are the N.E.A., and on behalf of them, I ask President Bush to express his regret to the nation's educators and demand that Secretary Paige step down," said the union's president, Reg Weaver.

      In the House, Representative Betty McCollum, Democrat of Minnesota, called on Dr. Paige to resign. She characterized his remarks as "neo-McCarthyism at its worst."

     The union sees the law as a barely concealed effort to weaken public education and build support for vouchers. The Education Department has failed to finance the law fully. Secretary Paige has reacted by calling supporters of NCLB a “coalition of the winning” and critics as a “coalition of the whining.”. In recent months, Paige has called such critics "nihilists" and compared them to French diplomats at the United Nations who opposed resolutions on Iraq as well as to racists who opposed desegregation. The Times article reported that mounting irritation with the law among many educators appeared to have created alliances between groups that are often at odds and that The American Federation of Teachers, the KTF’s  national organization with 1.3 million members and is a rival, closed ranks with the N.E.A. Alex Wohl, an AFT spokesman said "Secretary Paige's statement is indicative of the way this administration and this secretary paint with a broad brush and attack anybody that disagrees with them,". "There has to be room for disagreement, but this administration tends to simply attack the messenger instead of discussing the message.

     In early January, in discussing the Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case, Dr. Paige compared critics of the new education law to "those who fought Brown," suggesting the critics were racists. And on Jan. 28, he compared those who oppose educational choice, the movement that includes everything from vouchers to charter schools, to "the French at the United Nations, promising to veto any resolution on Iraq, regardless of what it says."

     It’s not only time for Secretary Paige to go. It’s time for the administration that supports unfounded mandates and this behavior to go.

     And that’s the Bottom Line.

                    

                  DID YOU REMEMBER?

     The Kids’ Classic is on April 24. Did you register for one hour of duty with Kim Tegeler at Edson?

      If you are a retiring teacher who wants the RIP buyout, you must send a binding letter to the district Superintendent by March 30.

     Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 12. It’s the Relay For Life at Dietz and it’s during the day!

     Have you sent an email to an elected representative? Just go th www.nysut.org and click on ‘contact your legislator’.

     If you’re using a prescription drug for more than three months to use mail order. Call Miriam at the Trust Office, (845)338-5422.

 

                             STATE NEWS

     There are similar bills in both the State Assembly and Senate proposing retirement buyouts. They are similar to past years, one month for every year of service to a maximum of 36 months.

     KTF President Hugh Spoljaric will be in Albany meeting with Assemblyman Kevin Cahill and Senator Larkin on the Governor’s proposed budget and on the retirement bills.

     On another note, the NYSTRS has issued a letter to all school districts reminding them that Education Law (section) 501 states that only “regular compensation earned as a teacher” is reportable and includable in the calculation of the three year final average salary. Confusion has arisen regarding earnings in extended day programs.

     According to the NYSTRS’s rules and practices, the extended day services must constitute actual classroom teaching of academic subject only. Members must have a career history of providing such services that extends well beyond the three-year period prior to retirement. The memo instructs school districts to NOT report such compensation as regular earnings.

     The KTF has sent a copy of the memo to NYSUT for review.

 

                          

 

 

                       NO! Teacher of the Year

     At the March 1 meeting of the KTF Board of Directors, a motion was passed with unanimous support that opposed the district’s intent to designate an award for ‘Teacher of the Year’.

     The resolution states that the KTF is opposed to the designating of any teacher or teacher group as “Teacher(s) of the Year. Reps voiced concern for the potential divisiveness of such an award. There was support for the idea that ALL teachers and staff should be honored throughout the year.

 

                          CONTRACTUAL MATTERS

     The KTF has signed a Letter of Understanding with the district that teachers of newly funded after school programs at four elementary schools and the ELA programs at the middle schools will be compensated at the same rate as those who teach in the Night School and 2School programs at KHS.

     The Superintendent has rejected a voucher for payment to teachers for the scoring of the Math A state exam in January. Two other scoring voucher cases, from January and June 2003 are scheduled for arbitration. This recent scoring test will be added to the arbitrations. The KTF is awaiting the results of a December arbitration involving denial of tenure and there are two more arbitrations scheduled. In the past ten years, we have only been to the last step of arbitration twice.

     Teachers and staff taking future defibrillator (AED) certification classes will be advised of their responsibilities in taking the certification.

     The KTF teachers will exchange contract proposals with the district for a successor agreement on April 19.

     The district, at the Board of Education meeting on March 3, approved the school calendar for 2004-05. It is similar to this year’s calendar.


GREAT TRUTHS THAT LITTLE CHILDREN HAVE LEARNED:

1) No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.
2) When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair.
3) If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They always catch the second person.
4) Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
5) You can't trust dogs to watch your food.
6) Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
7) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
8) You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
9) Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
10) The best place to be when you're sad is Grandpa's lap.


GREAT TRUTHS THAT ADULTS HAVE LEARNED:

1) Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-O to a tree.
2) Wrinkles don't hurt.
3) Families are like fudge...mostly sweet, with a few nuts.
4) Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.
5) Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside.
6) Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy.
                         
            GREAT TRUTHS ABOUT GROWING OLD

1
) Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.
2) Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I can get.
3) When you fall down, you wonder what else you can do while you're down there.
4) You're getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.
5) It's frustrating when you know all the answers but nobody bothers to ask you the questions.
6) Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician.
7) Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.


                THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE
:

 1)    You believe in Santa Claus.

 2)    You don't believe in Santa Claus.
 3)    You are Santa Claus

 4)    You look like Santa Claus.
                     

                         SUCCESS:
At age 4 success is . . . not peeing in your pants.
At age 12 success is . . . having friends.
At age 16 success is . . having a drivers license.
At age 20 success is . . . going all the way.
At age 35 success is . . . having money.
At age 50 success is . . having money.
At age 60 success is . . . going all the way.
At age 70 success is . . . having a drivers license.
At age 75 success is . . . having friends.
At age 80 success is . . . not peeing in your pants.

                       
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