Friday, April 20, 2007

BEWARE OF THE POISON PILL

As YCEA and YCJUSD draw closer to Fact-Finding on May 10, it is likely that we will see a change in their strategy. A time-honored management negotiations strategy is that of the poison pill. Management offers something close to what the union wants, but then adds a stipulation that is unacceptable, and makes that stipulation the focus of the negotiations process. This has the effect of taking attention off of the broad reality of the situation, and refocusing it on a single, controllable issue. Last spring, the healthcare cost increase was an unintended poison pill to teachers voting on the contract, what will be the poison pill of choice this time? Perhaps today's News-Mirror offers an insight in their article on the Budget Committee findings:
"And while things like competitive salaries, increased discretionary funding to school sites and maintaining safety issues appeared on all three lists and the subsequent final list, surprisingly, maintaining class size reduction in kindergarten through third grade only appeared on the parent list."
We need to be aware that our Board and District Office will be making every effort in the next few weeks to divide and conquer us. Now more than ever, we need to stand together.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

We need to be watching for any effort by the district office to pit teachers against parents and students. Class size reduction is clearly one such issue: Create the illusion that fair wages or continuing class size reduction is an either/or choice. If this happens, we must all remind those in power that there are other budget considerations that also should be considered (the addition of five new TOAs in the last year, and the artificial turf project as examples)

Anonymous said...

Divide and conquer is a common management practice in Yucaipa. By pitting two sides against each other, the district can then decide that the two sides can never agree, then "solve" the problem by making the decision themselves. The real beauty of this practice for the district is that they can give the perception of fairness - since a committee was involved, it must be a good decision, right?

Anonymous said...

There is a looooonnnngggg list of new money spent on 3rd Street. How many new jobs have been created or redesignated? How many TOAs will it take to actually do the jobs that Cartha and Patricia supposedly do?

Any thoughts on what work is actually done there? Seems like a pretty expensive way to put on paper that YCJUSD is actively engaged in ongoing curriculum development (remember this year's joke of a professional development flier?).

Due to the growing dependence on TOAs to do the jobs of curriculum administrators, it seems obvious to me that yet again, teachers are needed to do the job right.

EyesWideShut said...

Sadly, the district persists with these strategies because they often work. Any time an administrator wants a teacher to oppose another teacher, the divide and conquer approach is in play. This strategy is especially effective when a charismatic administrator is dealing with new teachers. The new teacher feels flattered to be "trusted" by the administrator, when in fact they are simply an instrument for accomplishing admininistrative goals. Also, by using another teacher to do their dirty work, the administrator has plausible deniability. Even the worst administrators in our district have teachers that are beholden to them in this way.