Problem Analysis:
No Teacher Contract. What Action?
©1999 Kirk Messick


RETURN
edited 8/2/09

Initial statement of problem:

Rose Tree Media School District teachers are currently working without a contract. The teacher association has tried to make the community aware the teachers are working without a contract. Some teachers have taken it upon themselves to try to fit field trips into the school day hours. Sometimes this is impossible since some of the trips leave the area. Some teachers feel restricting or reducing the length of field trips will send a message to the school board, others feel it will be ineffective.

The purpose of adjusting the length is to get the school board's attention and show the board that teachers are not going to do more than they have to under the old contact. Fifth grade teachers are looking at what this means for the annual fifth grade trip to Washington, D.C. Rose Tree Media has four elementary schools. The majority of the fifth grade teachers strongly advocate reducing the length of the trip. The minority believe the length should not be adjusted. There is also a small group of teachers that do not care one way or another.

What is the situation?

Working without a contract has created opposing teachers views whether the annual fifth grade trip to Washington, D.C. should be shortened to fit it closer to normal school hours.

Whom does it concern?

Teachers A - teachers that strongly want to reduce time length of trip

Teachers B - teachers that strongly disagree with reducing time length of trip

Teachers C - teachers that are indifferent to the change

Fifth grade students

Parents of fifth grade students

Principals at elementary schools

Superintendent of schools

School Board

How do they perceive it?

Teachers A

  1. Must show the district teachers want a contract and they mean business
  1. Parents will put heat on school board and superintendent to settle the contract
  1. Teachers are already working beyond school hours even if length is reduced
  1. This is only one of the few ways teachers can get community awareness of not having a contract without hurting the students
  1. Teachers are interpreting the association leadership's position on field trips differently
Teachers B
  1. School board will not get the heat from parents/community, the teachers will
  1. This action will negatively affect teacher/parent relationship
  1. The fifth grade being asked to take an action everyone else in the district is not doing. Not consistent
  1. This action will negatively affect students since the only way to reduce the length is to cut back on time in Washington since the travel time can not be reduced
  1. Teachers are interpreting the association leadership's position on field trips differently
Teachers C
  1. Not being vocal one way or another
  1. Most are new teachers to their grades
Fifth grade students
  1. Not fair to have a shorten trip
Fifth grade parents
  1. Feel students are being cheated with a shorter trip
  1. Will not react with pressure on the board
  1. Will take frustration out on teachers since they made the change and they are more "accessible"
  1. Don't want their children to be "used"
  1. Will complain to principal, but probably not much higher
Principals
  1. Understand why the change is proposed
  1. Don't agree on tactic - will not be effective in moving the school board
School Board
  1. May perceive this change as a job action
  1. No likely effect on contract negotiations
Superintendent
  1. May perceive this change as a job action
  1. No likely effect on contract negotiations
Why does it concern them?

Teachers A

  1. Want to send a message to the school board
  1. Want parents to put heat on school board to settle contract
  1. Want to "work to contract" or as close as possible ("Working to contract" is not in place in the district)
Teachers B
  1. School board will not get heat - teachers will get it from angry parents
  1. Could be perceived as a illegal job action
  1. Do not want a labor dispute to affect students
  1. Only way to reduce the trip length is to shorten the educational portion (sites in Washington) of the trip
Teachers C
  1. Doesn't seem to concern them
Fifth grade students
  1. It shortens their class trip
  1. The labor dispute has nothing to do with them
Fifth grade parents
  1. This change will negatively affect their children's learning experience
  1. Using students as pawns
Principals
  1. Could affect the students learning experience
  1. May get some heat from the parents
School Board
  1. May be an illegal job actions
  1. May not want any negative reaction through it would be a very small number of parents
Superintendent
  1. May be an illegal job actions
  1. May not want any negative reaction through it would be a very small number of parents
What changes if any do they propose?

Teachers A

  1. 1) Cancel trip
  1. 2) Go longer than school hours, but reduce total time from previous years
  1. Eliminate stopping for dinner on the way home
  1. Begin trip at 7:00 AM
  1. Leave Washington - 3:00 PM
  1. Eliminate one stop - Lincoln Memorial
  1. Proposed total trip time - 10 Hours (15 hours previously)
Teachers B
  1. No change to schedule
  1. Eliminate dinner - no educational value
  1. Begin trip at 6:00 AM
  1. Leave Washington area - 4:00 PM
  1. Proposed total trip time - 12 hours (15 hours previously)
Teachers C
  1. No proposal
Fifth grade students
  1. No proposal
Fifth grade parents
  1. No proposal
Principals
  1. No proposal
School Board
  1. No proposal
Superintendent
  1. No proposal
Can and will anything be done?

Teachers A - Powerholder

  1. Prepared to cancel trip
  1. Prepared to cut trip short
  1. Feel teachers have authority to made these changes
Teachers B - Powerholder (fewer in number)
  1. Some not prepared to adjust times
  1. Some prepared to give up dinner and some exhibit hours
Teachers C - Stakeholder
  1. Willing to follow other's decisions
Fifth grade students - Stakeholder
  1. No real power to influence any actions
Fifth grade parents - Stakeholder
  1. Willing to complain to teachers and principal
  1. May be less willing to support teachers in classroom
Principal
  1. Uncertain
School Board
  1. Uncertain
Superintendent
  1. Uncertain
Who gains and who loses from the change?
 
 
Costs
Benefits
Teachers A
  1. Identified as a job action and associated punished
  1. Action could hurt negotiations 
  1. Relationship with parents and students negatively affected
  1. Teachers gain reputation as "good" association members Willing to take a risk for the "cause." Flex their muscles.
Teachers B
  1. Relationship with parents and students negatively affected
  1. Teachers gain reputation as not "good" association members
  1. Future work relationship with fellow teachers may be "cold"
 
Teachers C
  1. Relationship with parents and students negatively affected
 
Fifth grade students
  1. Relationship with teachers negatively affected
  1. Negatively affect field trip experience with shorter time
 
Fifth grade parents
  1. Relationship with teachers negatively affected
  1. Resentment towards school (all teachers)
  1. Affect parent participation and cooperation in classroom activities
 
Principal
  1. Parent resentment towards principal for allowing changes
  1. Parent resentment towards school (all teachers)
 
School Board
  1. Having to respond to minimal, if any, direct complaints to the board
 
Superintendent
  1. Having to respond to minimal, if any, direct complaints to the superintendent
 
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