Town Square

After a year of 'enormous turmoil,' district and teachers union negotiate raises

Original post made on Apr 1, 2021

After one of the most disruptive years in public education, Palo Alto Unified and its teachers union are negotiating salary increases, with the union asking for a higher raise than the district has proposed.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 1, 2021, 8:35 AM


Posted by peppered
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 1, 2021 at 10:11 am

peppered is a registered user.

Really appreciate teachers. But really, really, really dislike the teachers union.
That organization has consistently been at the root of myriad problems with our educational system and consequently, our progress as a society.
See the documentary "Waiting for Superman" for insights.

Posted by Martinimaas
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2021 at 10:55 am

Martinimaas is a registered user.

Totally agree with Peppered's comment above. Our local teacher's union has been the primary obstacle in reopening schools...not the pandemic. Private schools and other county schools (e.g., Marin) are open and doing just fine...other states and countries have been open the whole time and doing just fine. Studies have been done on the "throw more money at it" solution so often favored by the teacher's union. They conclude that while more money makes for happier teachers (and that matters) it does not generally correlate to improvements in education. Personally, I think it is past time to either overhaul the union or rebuild from the ground up. I personally think rebuilding (busting and reestablishing) is the best albeit most initially painful way forward. I would like to see far more diversification in pay in education. Some teachers are beyond fantastic. They should be rewarded far more than they are, as is seen in many other industry sectors. Then, of course the elephant in the room is how the experience of the past year has shown us how to bring excellence in education to all learners, and it's likely going to be possible with fewer teachers and the mixed use of in-person instruction and online access to excellent curriculum. We need to reevaluate the purpose of our campuses given this new model for opportunity. If the union is going to survive the next wave of educational reform, it should sincerely try to be on the leading edge of this discussion, rather than pulling the same page out of their decades old playbook of "we need more money and every thing is going be ok then." It is not. That is not in the best interests of the funders of eduction (taxpayers), the students, or the best teachers. For decades we have been debating how to get more out of educational dollars. We now can see a path. It is time to take it.

Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2021 at 11:02 am

S. Underwood is a registered user.

Are we having trouble filling vacancies with qualified applicants? If not, the answer should be "no" to any raises that aren't contractually obligated. Same as any other industry.

If the answer is yes, but only in a few places (for example, if we have a dearth of qualified applicants to meet our unusual needs in CS, Physics, or PE... haha on that last one) then we need to fight the union to allow unusual bonuses or incentives in only those places of need. Same as any other industry.

I do have great respect and appreciation for the work of teachers. Just as I do for core employees in (almost) any other industry.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2021 at 12:13 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

1. Comparing private schools to public schools is a false comparison. The funding is different.
2. Stating that “other schools in the area are open and doing just fine” is speculation. Yes, the schools are open, but there isn’t a central tracking system for schools. It is in the best interest of schools to actually not report cases. You are just assuming everything is “fine” without having any data to back it up.
3. Comparing schools here being closed to those in other areas being open is also a false comparison. It wasn’t the union that closed it all down. It was the fact that SCC spent most of the time in the purple tier and the schools were not allowed to open by our Government. If anyone would have opened the schools during this pandemic it would have been Austin. He had unvaccinated staff working in person during the dangerous winter wave. He wanted all schools open and was pushing for it.
4. Saying other states are open and doing fine is also not true. Here is Michigan:
Web Link
5. The part about needing “fewer teachers” and reevaluating the need for campus is the usual “punishment” talk for teachers since they were allowed to work remotely. Do you really think with the public out cry from the vocal minority of parents that advocated an unsafe return to campus all along for the subsidized day care they weren’t receiving for their tax dollars, that their won’t be a need for being on campus and there will be a need for LESS teachers? What about that big need for “socialization?”
6. With this big outcry about the teachers not working in person, it showed just how needed and valuable the teachers actually are. I think the union should use that leverage to push for a 10% raise instead on the taxpayers. The idea of merit pay for teachers will never happen and the Union will stand strong!
7. You “respect and appreciate teachers” yet begrudge them a raise. How respectful.

Posted by cmarg
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 1, 2021 at 1:12 pm

cmarg is a registered user.

I agree with the comments, love the teachers but do not trust the teacher's union. In my opinion, the teacher's union was the cause for most of turmoil in 2020 Spring quarter. Also, the teacher's union leadership, not the teachers, are the reason that going back to school has been so delayed. Confidence has been lost.

Posted by PAUSD Teacher
a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2021 at 3:26 pm

PAUSD Teacher is a registered user.

I am a teacher in PAUSD and a lot of these comments really hurt and disturb me. To be honest, I have never worked harder in my life than I have this school year. I had to learn how to teach in a totally different way, work from home while raising a toddler, and manage all of the other challenges that COVID presented. Not to mention all of the stress and anxiety that the pandemic has caused for all of us. I was back in my classroom before being vaccinated. I am a very good teacher. Why am I not entitled to a small raise?

To those of you bashing unions, I sincerely suggest that you educate yourselves. Unions are the main reason that we have a middle class, decent working and learning conditions, the right to due process, and so much more. The union represents the will of the members, which is to have the right to a safe workplace. I am sure that you want a safe workplace too. NONE of us started teaching to do so remotely, we desperately want things to go back to how they were pre-pandemic.

I am sure that many of the commenters on here have been working remotely (probably in tech making a lot more than teachers). What y'all don't realize is that people don't want to go into teaching now. Maybe it's because we work our butts off, get paid less than other people with post-graduate degrees and still get belittled and dehumanized by people like the commenters above.

The pandemic is not the fault of teachers or unions. We are just trying to live, work, and raise our families, just like you. My heart is broken for a community that I thought I knew.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 1, 2021 at 3:30 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Agree with previous comments. The teachers union has been THE obstacle to reopening. During this pandemic the interests of the teachers and the interests of the students have been oppositely aligned. We have seen that they are not willing to compromise for our kids and that is something that I, for one, cannot unsee. I would not support any raises until a full year of normal in-person learning has taken place. There will be a significant amount of catch-up to be played next year with the substantial learning loss due to online school being inferior. I would be happy to endorse raises after a successful recovery year.

Posted by Infuriating!
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2021 at 3:43 pm

Infuriating! is a registered user.

As a parent and teacher in this district, these comments are saddening. I am a teacher. I am a parent. I am the union. I am your neighbor. I am your child’s friends parent. Teachers, in the past, have given up raises to keep classroom sizes low for all of our children. Please make sure you are fully informed on what you speak of.

Posted by Clarification
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 1, 2021 at 3:45 pm

Clarification is a registered user.

A few things: The teachers ARE the union. The leadership takes its marching orders from the majority of the membership. You may know a handful of teachers who personally disagree with something, but I guarantee you aren't hearing the real deal from the 800+ teachers and staff in this union.
Two: For facts' sake, teachers don't OPEN OR CLOSE schools. That's the district. If we opened "too slowly" for you, take it up with 25 Churchill or the State/County health. This notion that teachers prevented anything doesn't match reality. We have a no-strike clause. If they had the go ahead from the county/state or wanted to, or could meet the requirements set by those bodies (not by the teachers) we could've been back far earlier.
Three: the surrounding districts are all negotiating raises. Raises above the 1% offered by PAUSD. These are districts that weren't "first back" like PAUSD.

Posted by Two things are true at once
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2021 at 4:06 pm

Two things are true at once is a registered user.

Please understand the Teachers Union is the teachers.

It's sounds nice to say you like teachers, then blame the school reopening plan on the union, but it's false niceness. Teachers Unions are one of the only reasons my profession is not paid like a daycare provider. Teachers Unions care about teachers, TOO, not Instead Of our community. Both things are true at the same time.

Please be honest, if you blame the Teachers Union, you blame teachers.

Posted by Middle School Teacher
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Apr 1, 2021 at 4:14 pm

Middle School Teacher is a registered user.

I've been a teacher for a long time and I'm disheartened to see so many anti-teacher union, and therefore anti-teacher comments. Our teacher's union did not set the rules and regulations for opening students on campus -- that would be the district, county, & state.

Additionally, I have had the opportunity to take part of teacher hiring in the past in PAUSD, and we are having a challenging time attracting and retaining teachers -- the cost of living really does impact the candidates we get and how long teachers can afford to stay in the area. Many neighboring districts give yearly on-going raises and one-time off schedule raises, which have brought their salaries up while ours have stayed fairly stagnant. The teachers and our union are correct in saying we need a raise to keep up with the rising cost of living -- including rising health care premiums, higher housing prices, and longer commutes.

Posted by Testing For All!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 1, 2021 at 4:17 pm

Testing For All! is a registered user.

Wow- these comments are awful. No wonder so many teachers are applying out of the district or retiring early. PAUSD is already struggling to retain good teachers and comments like these are certainly not helping anyone want to stay. All teachers are the union. The elementary teachers are some of the only in the state that went back to in-person teaching before getting vaccinated! Secondary teachers returning later was due to state and county guidelines. If Austin could have given the choice he would have. It’s willful ignorant misinformation to say it was the union.

Posted by Professional
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2021 at 4:26 pm

Professional is a registered user.

Public education is a public good, not a profit center.

PAUSD is being run like a corporation, with our CEO making strategic career moves for himself. Reading Twitter is like reading a list of accomplishments and firsts to put on his resume.

Please treat teachers like professionals who practice education the way a doctor practices medicine. We educate your children much like their pediatrician treats them. Respect.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 1, 2021 at 4:34 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

“During this pandemic the interests of the teachers and the interests of the students have been oppositely aligned/ they are not willing to compromise for our kids”
What were the interests of the teachers? Not working in person to avoid potentially getting sick and/or dying of a deadly pathogen? Most teachers want to work with kids. The teachers provided the education aspect remotely. Private companies (like Facebook) had their employees working from home. Only, essential workers had to work in person. You need to eat to live so grocery store workers were deemed essential. You keep as many people home as possible to stop the spread. The children were spared the worst outcomes of Covid for the most part but this is a worker rights issue. Health and safety of school staff are always number one. Austin even had unvaccinated staff working during the winter wave. I believe all surrounding districts were closed during that time. All of this drama because people haven’t been able to drop their kids off at a building.
I always question whether the kids are clamoring for school or parents just want a break. It seems selfish to constantly advocate for putting school staff in danger. I completely side with teachers regarding the “open the schools” debate. During the 1918 flu pandemic schools were closed and you didn’t hear all of this complaining. People back then weren’t selfish and banded together. They also didn’t have social media platforms which people think entitles them to have a loud opinion. It’s laughable that families thought there would be heart warming stories of teachers jumping in to provide the day care for the children and to “make this all work” while a deadly virus spread rampantly across the U.S. Stop blaming the unions/teachers for the pandemic and the failure of the previous administration to control the outbreak. The problem is Covid. The services teachers provide are obviously invaluable and I am now advocating for a 15% raise for teachers.

Posted by Disappointed Teachee
a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2021 at 4:49 pm

Disappointed Teachee is a registered user.

These comments are hurtful and disappointing. I am a teacher in the district, and as another teacher mentioned above, I have never worked harder in a school year than this past year. I have reworked curriculum more times than I can count to find ways to reach out to students near or far. I have worked tirelessly to find ways to motivate students to keep their cameras on and engage with me and their peers on top of trying out new ways to teach them our curriculum each day. I have been under more stress than ever in my life. This is stress that not only came from the pandemic, but from my very own district as they continually made decisions that put the safety of myself, my family, my students, and my coworkers at risk. We all wanted to get back to normal, but we didn’t want to jeopardize the health of all our loved ones (that includes our students!) At home environments weren’t ideal for us either. Many of us have our own children, both school age and younger. We know it isn’t easy. It might have even felt impossible, but we are all just trying our best. These comments make us seem like monsters. We had safe ways to teach children, and they were working. True fixes for socialization still aren’t even happening at the high school level. 0-2 students in a classroom at a time isn’t fixing that problem, but teachers are still there, in masks, re-doing their curriculum again, and trying our best anyways. Parents want to suggest it’s our fault that their children aren’t socializing, but it’s due to the pandemic. So many colleagues of mine are looking for other teaching positions in districts that respected teachers true fears, and many of these districts pay better, too. You would think that a district that has so much money to use would at least try to show their gratitude with a legitimate raise, but here we are again, only giving us the bare minimum and making us fight EVERY step of the way.

Posted by Paly mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:02 pm

Paly mom is a registered user.

I don't like the teacher union too. But it has been a rough year for teachers and all. Teachers are definitely deserve a good raise. Since district received millions from Newsom, can we use this money for the one-time bonus to the teachers and staff if the raise didn't come out as good as expected by the teachers?

Posted by tmp
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:11 pm

tmp is a registered user.

Unbelievable!! These people sit around for over a year. Do nothing for the kids in this district. And then they get a raise????

Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Apr 1, 2021 at 7:23 pm

Chris is a registered user.

The teachers should get a bonus for this year, but what did they do to deserve a raise?

Posted by Educator
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2021 at 6:56 am

Educator is a registered user.

How quickly the commenters forget that PAUSD was one of the first districts in the area to return in-person. We returned hybrid in October for K-5. Most other districts returned to hybrid in the last few weeks, and many high school districts have opted not to return at all this year. We’re also returning all K-5 classrooms to full five days this year, which is unheard of in other districts around here. The union negotiated for specific things for teacher safety, but they did not prevent a return. The local health guidelines did.

Posted by peppered
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 2, 2021 at 10:56 am

peppered is a registered user.

@PAUSD Teacher and other teachers:
We support you, just not your union's tactics. Just like many people support workers but don't like the politics of the corporations they work for. It's not about you. It's about the union.

Also when you say:
"why am I not entitled to a small raise?"
The answer is embedded in your question:
That entitlement mentality is a huge problem nowadays. No one is entitled.
You add value, increase your skills, impact, and *earn* raises.
In a capitalistic society, compensation is a function of supply and demand.
Palo Alto teachers are well compensated compared to other comparable districts.

Back to the unions:
When unions put *students* first, the public attitude and respect towards unions will improve. So far we have seen little evidence of that.

Posted by PAUSDTeacher
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2021 at 11:03 am

PAUSDTeacher is a registered user.

As a teacher, I know this year hasn't been easy all around. Our union negotiated with the district to keep us safe, your kids and your family, along with the greater community, safe for when we returned. The district followed through and did a great job quickly getting rooms ready for when we could return. Our elementary has been back since last Fall, way before any other public districts (some still are not returning until after the break). As for secondary, we couldn't return in January as previously planned, due to the state going back into the purple tier (so not anyones fault). Comparing public to private is comparing apples and oranges. Compare us to other surrounding public schools/districts. Fremont could not come to an agreement and will not be returning - in my opinion we HAVE been doing more and are willing to negotiate, and come to agreements, so we can all safely return.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 2, 2021 at 11:25 am

Anonymous is a registered user.

It is true that many PAUSD teachers have been heroic during this difficult year. Elementary teachers, especially those who have been in-person since October, deserve major credit and recognition. Upper grade teachers who have bent over backwards to engage the kids online and who are now rising, again, to the occasion in-person also deserve all the credit. HOWEVER, this is not every PAUSD teacher. My kids have several teachers who will not return all year despite being fully vaccinated. I have no words for those people. It's just wrong. My kids also have teachers who are very angry to be in classroom and the way they have treated the kids who returned in-person is practically abusive and certainly isn't what anyone would consider professional behavior. They do not deserve credit or financial reward for that behavior. In fact, they deserve to be fired.

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2021 at 12:52 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

I'm not a teacher, but I hope we will all be more mindful about making hateful generalizations about any group of people.

These are difficult times, and they don't always bring out the best in people. Please take a moment to really think about what you post before you send it. Most of our community's teachers are doing the best they can to serve us through a very challenging time.

Please step back and try to be more compassionate with each other. Ask yourself, "Does what I just wrote thoughtfully consider all sides on this? Am I being self disciplined in my relationships with others who may read this? Is my post a positive contribution toward building relationships that enable problem-solving?"

Posted by Roger Dodger
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 2, 2021 at 5:17 pm

Roger Dodger is a registered user.

Commenters complaining on this forum about how the union stood in the way of re-opening schools are missing a very fundamental but critical point, and it’s been pointed out repeatedly. The union does NOT have ANY power in closing or opening the schools. The PAEA contract with PAUSD has a no-strike clause. At no point did any teachers refuse to work. Those decisions are/were made at the state and county level by the appropriate health authorities. I suggest those of you who “don’t like the union” re-examine the actual basis on which these decisions were made. Because they certainly were not made by the union.

The union has one primary responsibility - to look out for the health and welfare of its members. If you have a problem with that, you have a problem with basic workers’ rights in general. Insisting on adherence to safe working conditions is a basic tenet of any collective bargaining unit worth its salt. It was only a few short years ago that people on this forum were actually, sincerely asking teachers to forego a pay increase that was contractually due to them after the district missed a deadline. That sort of nonsense would have zero traction in any other environment. A contract is a contract, and you don’t get to ask workers to sacrifice just because a “mistake” was made. Similarly, you don’t get to ask teachers to sacrifice their own health and welfare and that of their families because our normal educational environment is disrupted by a global pandemic.

Above all, I suggest you re-examine the whole year, take a step back, and look at what is really going on here. @Professional hits the nail on the head. Our “CEO” is busy curating his Twitter feed while the teachers are back at work in the classroom. He is happy as a clam to have a small minority of loud, angry parents pitted against teachers over salary increases while he sits off to the side polishing his resume of “firsts” and plotting his next political goal.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 2, 2021 at 6:11 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Teachers unions demanded to be vaccinated before people like me, a person in early 60’s. They have been, how nice for them.
I’m not yet vaccinated.
I list below two area school systems whose unions foiled return to in-person education this year, DESPITE vaccination!

They said they would teach if vaccinated. State of CA and Biden/US Congress are LAVISHING money on public schools.
HUGE beneficiaries of public taxpayer funds, already.
Powerful public teachers unions.
CA public teacher cohort is younger (see state stats). Covid illness very closely associated with AGE. Not just 65+
Children suffering from public schools closures and limited Zoom “education.”

Most other counties and states HAVE vaccinated by AGE, including 50+ instead of delaying, virtue-signaling, diverting doses to politically favored groups by those in political power. Not here - teachers and “educators” - VERY loose designation got easy Pfizer vaccination early.

While they run out the clock on the school year, nix idea of summer school AND can personally enjoy life, travel/vacation, WE 50+ await our vaccines, sheltered, some scheduled for vaccination via a ridiculous Hunger Games competitive scenario. WE cannot enjoy ourselves or travel for a minimum of a month (idealized, first) - most of us are a ways out.

- Parents published today in PA Daily Post, p. 46, a legal statement re: recall petition to recall FUHSD (the major Fremont Union High School District) board president - which district covers multiple cities south of Palo Alto, these are five high schools in Silicon Valley. Why? For failure to work towards reopening high schools in this large region.

- City of Fremont - Fremont Union School District, “one of the largest in the East Bay....will stay out of classrooms the rest of the academic year.” This in San Jose Mercury News, March 31, 2021.

Note it’s a coincidence of the name “Fremont” in the above separate news/areas in SF Bay Area.

Info can change, but above is current when I posted..correct me if situation has improved.

Posted by Jane
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 3, 2021 at 1:38 am

Jane is a registered user.

Raises, seriously? Look, I respect that teachers have been working hard, but in most work environments you aren't going to get a raise for working hard. It's the results that count not how much you've been churning.

The result this year is that kids have suffered socially and academically. Raises shouldn't even be on the table.

Posted by Roger Dodger
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2021 at 9:16 am

Roger Dodger is a registered user.

Just for the sake of comparison for those of you keeping track:

Salary for a PAUSD 15-year veteran teacher with a Master's Degree and 90+ post-BA hours : $124,338.

Salary for an MVLA 15-year veteran teacher with a Master's Degree and 75+ post-BA hours in Los Altos: $151,525

Los Altos still has not gone back to in-person learning.

If PAUSD suffers a dearth of more qualified candidates, one might ask, given these stats: is PAUSD able to attract the best candidates?

Moderator's Note: MVLA is a high school district, while PAUSD is K-12.

Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2021 at 1:45 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

Teachers: I think that the big issue right now is asking for huge raises and other percs. Everyone feels exhausted and tapped. I am sure you all feel the same way, but perhaps you should wait for a happier time when you will get a just hearing.


Posted by Professional
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2021 at 4:11 pm

Professional is a registered user.

Public employees are open targets for wage discrimination. If we had access to everyone's salaries, I suspect we would find *some* people getting huge raises at the moment, with zero pushback. Just because you can look me up online and examine my financial income doesn't mean I don't deserve a raise.

Posters, did YOU get a raise during the pandemic?

Posted by peppered
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 3, 2021 at 5:44 pm

peppered is a registered user.

@PAUSD Teacher and other teachers:
We support YOU, just not your union's tactics. That's similar to how many people support corporate workers but not the corporations they work for.
It's not about YOU. It's about the UNION.

Also when you say: "why am I not entitled to a small raise?"
The answer is embedded in your question: entitlement mentality is a huge problem.
No one is entitled to a raise. You add value, increase skills, impact, contribution and *earn* raises.
In a capitalistic society, compensation is a function of supply and demand.
Palo Alto teachers are well compensated compared to other comparable districts.

Back to the unions:
When unions put *students* first, the public attitude and respect towards unions will improve. So far we have seen little evidence of that.

Posted by Professional
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2021 at 6:49 pm

Professional is a registered user.

The difference between teachers and corporate workers is that teachers define and implement the teachers union tactics. Teachers are behind the strategies, tactics, and compromises that we bring to the admin. One can definitely support Amazon workers as a group without approving Amazon's tactics. One can't support teachers (as a group) if they don't support the teachers union.

Posted by Roger Dodger
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 3, 2021 at 7:32 pm

Roger Dodger is a registered user.

@peppered: exactly which "tactics" are you referring to? It's been pointed out again and again that the union had no power in the opening and closing decisions. Are you upset that the union insisted on safe working conditions for its members? That's its primary mission. If you're upset with that, you're upset with the idea that workers have a right to insist on safe working conditions that do not threaten their health or the health of their families. Think about that.

Pay is not comparable, as was pointed out in a post immediately previous to yours:

Los Altos, 15-year teacher, 75 post-BA hours, Masters: $151,252
Palo Alto, 15-year teacher, 90 post-BA hours, Masters: $124,338

Finally, it's the Palo Alto *Educators* Association, not the Palo Alto *Students* Association. The union exists to represent the interests of its members, not those of the students. That is the simple reality of the facts. You may bemoan this, think it's horrible, decry it, wail and gnash your teeth about it, but it's just willfully obtuse to insist that the union should should put the interests of the students first. That's not why it's there.

I think a lot of people are just looking for someone to be mad at now that the Other Guy is gone, and "the union" represents a convenient and easy target, even if it's a meaningless one. If you are anti-union, you are taking a stand, fundamentally, against teachers. Remember, the teachers did not decide when and if the schools would open, and at no point did they refuse to work. They have done their jobs the entire year and continue to do them now. That should be recognized, and a pay raise, which would have been on the agenda anyway, is one way to do it. The union is not asking for "huge" raises as another commenter suggested.

It should tell us all everything we need to know about the priorities of many parts of our society that we put opening bars and restaurants higher on the list than opening schools *safely*....

Posted by Infuriating!
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 3, 2021 at 9:39 pm

Infuriating! is a registered user.

Let’s also consider how unions affect our children.
PAEA fought the district to have high quality air purification systems in the classroom as well as regular teacher testing for covid. That’s what we fought for.

A few years ago TEACHERS gave up raises to maintain small class sizes for YOUR kids.

That’s what OUR union negotiates.
Your children are educated in-person, in well ventilated classrooms, with proper PPEA, because of our union. Not because of the school board or the district office!

[Portion removed.]

PAUSD used to be so amazing. It’s now a district we warn others teachers not to join. The admin and the parent community are not what they once were. It’s better to make more money at neighboring districts and get more respect from admin and parents. Clearly a win win to leave. The only thing at risk is your property values.

Final note-
You don’t support me or your child’s education if you don’t support the union. You are making uneducated assumptions and you need to dig deeper about what’s truly happening.

#overit #pausdisfallingfast

Posted by Resident11
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 3, 2021 at 10:19 pm

Resident11 is a registered user.

So much anonymous outrage from so many directions. It's hard to see how that is helpful to our community or our school district. Some teachers and parents have clearly given up. Please don't make it harder for the rest of us.

At the end of the day our district did go back to school, at least partially, and our teachers did keep up their end of the bargain. Many worked extremely hard before and after returning. Some struggled to suppress their resentment. Same with the parents. Many of our children suffered and continue to suffer, both academically and emotionally, because schools did not open earlier. This damaged not only the children but also their families. If keeping schools closed for so long was the safest approach, was that safest for whom?

It could have been worse. I appreciate the persistence that our administration and board showed in opening the district largely ahead of many others in California. That was not easy and was very important and valuable.

Do I think teachers should have a bonus? Some absolutely, some not so much. A few should be fired for lobbying the children not to return, letting their resentment spill over into the classroom. An extra-large raise across the board? No.

Parents: Please try to be constructive and keep a lid on your resentment as well. We all need to work together going forward. It is not going to be easy getting these kids back on track next year.

Posted by ProfvilleResident
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 5, 2021 at 8:43 am

ProfvilleResident is a registered user.

Union-bashing from parents who have never had to depend on a union to protect their mental and physical security (especially within a pandemic) is vile (and very telling.)

Posted by peppered
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 5, 2021 at 10:10 am

peppered is a registered user.

Expressing outrage at some of the union's tactics for opposing accountability and keeping unqualified teachers on staff, are not bashing.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Apr 5, 2021 at 11:24 am

Jennifer is a registered user.

Teacher Retention: How to keep the best from leaving. Most new teachers will leave the profession within a few years. I remember reading an article awhile back that 60% leave within the first five years. That is a very high turnover rate for a degreed profession.

I believe teaching is a "calling." There are far easier jobs and there are jobs with better pay. If education is your calling, you will soon realize that neither of those matter.

Best of luck and success to all the teachers. It's been a very difficult year for teachers and parents, and hopefully things will get back to normal for all of us.

I'm glad our kids are grown.

Posted by ProfvilleResident
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 5, 2021 at 12:46 pm

ProfvilleResident is a registered user.

@peppered referring to comments above about loving teachers, just not their union (during a pandemic)

Posted by Professional
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 5, 2021 at 12:59 pm

Professional is a registered user.

The mythology of teachers as warm, nurturing beings who don't need money or respect as long as they get the intrinsic satisfaction of helping is a tool of oppression.

Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 5, 2021 at 1:11 pm

TimR is a registered user.

"The union quickly came back with a counterproposal...if property tax revenue exceeds 6.95% in July 2021, 60% of the increase will be added to the salary schedule..."

So they want a direct cut of tax revenue, regardless of any performance metrics? That sounds almost criminal, and at least immoral.

Posted by Ohlone parent
a resident of Ohlone School
on Apr 5, 2021 at 2:45 pm

Ohlone parent is a registered user.

I am a parent who had a 5th grader at Ohlone when pandemic kicked in. As soon as SIP was announced, my child's teacher just disappeared. We didn't hear back from the teacher or school district for the next few weeks. When they finally showed up - my child was given a shit load of assignments, plus one hour of zoom session every week. Compare this to my younger child who was in a TK program in a private school- that had an online program setup within a few days!

Teachers: you say that those who work from home in the tech industry are privileged. Not everyone is. I work in a small startup - around this time last year, everyone took a 30% paycut, we had layoffs - and we were expected to be productive - and we were (while managing a 5 year old child on zoom, plus correcting my 5th grader's math homework - bcoz his teacher was missing!)

Why do you deserve a pay hike ?

Posted by Anony Mouse
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 8, 2021 at 6:12 pm

Anony Mouse is a registered user.

@ohlone parent: I hear your pain and outrage. The only thing I can say as an insider is that your desire for accountability is a bit off the mark. This leadership has a command and control mentality. For better or worse, we were told to follow directions exactly. Our input was not welcome or asked for. When you disempower the front line worker, and send them the message to be quiet and follow orders, then sometimes negative outcomes happen. The directive last spring was to not have very much synchronous time in elementary. So, that’s what happened. Expecting heroic measures in this command and control environment is really unrealistic. If you want to hold people accountable, maybe aim a little higher? Furthermore, as an ohlone parent, ask yourself, does command and control comport with the objectives of that choice school? Are those leadership values in line with the community as a whole? Lastly, it seems pretty obvious that admin leadership has some history and likes to brand itself as being “tough negotiators”. With that, it makes sense for the union to anchor high in negotiations. Outrage over asking for too much only serves one side in this negotiation.

Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 8, 2021 at 6:35 pm

S. Underwood is a registered user.

By highlighting a particularly checked-out teacher, I don't think anyone was suggesting that our district leadership (admins or board) have been doing a fine and dandy job but the teachers are mucking it up... not at all.

I can only speak for what I see and what folks I know in the community tell me, but it seems to me that most folks see you as all failing together.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 8, 2021 at 7:55 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

“but it seems to me that most folks see you as all failing together”
The parents in this community are not qualified to pass judgment on teachers. Parents are not school administrators. You criticize them and yet at the same time comically “expected” the teachers to run in during a disease outbreak to service you since you have been inconvenienced. On one hand there is an outcry of need for these so called “underperforming teachers” to work in person, on the other hand they don’t meet your expectations anyway so why should they bother? Which is it? Teachers have four year degrees and many have Master’s Degrees. That’s likely a higher level of education than many parents passing judgment here on PAUSD teachers have attained themselves. Also, no, your children aren’t so special in that you need the “Steph Curry of teaching” to be their teacher every year through HighSchool. You WILL respect these teachers as professionals. Teachers are under no obligation to meet the unrealistic expectations of these families. PAUSD is ranked #2 in the Bay Area.

"why am I not entitled to a small raise?"/ answer is embedded in your question: entitlement mentality is a huge problem.
The irony of this statement coming from this parent community almost leaves me speechless. Sorry, teachers deserve a raise. Your “added value” and statements about capitalism and improving their skills is a false analogy. Teachers work their day and deal with the parents/kids and teach the curriculum. They aren’t required to “add value” to impress you for a raise.

“Everyone feels exhausted and tapped/perhaps you should wait for a happier time”
I disagree with this premise. Teachers do not need to wait until everyone “feels happy” to get a raise. Families do not get a voice or a seat at the negotiating table. It doesn’t matter if you pay taxes. Private school is another option. I propose a 20% raise now for teachers. (Excellent comments from Rodger/Profville/Professional/Infuriating)

Posted by peppered
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 9, 2021 at 2:13 pm

peppered is a registered user.

@The Voice of Palo Alto
"The parents in this community are not qualified to pass judgment on teachers."
We are qualified. We're paying. Deal with it.

"Sorry, teachers deserve a raise."
We can agree to disagree.

"Teachers do not need to wait until everyone “feels happy” to get a raise."
Agreed. Taxpayers may not agree to raises at that time unless we feel it's deserved.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 9, 2021 at 3:31 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by MiddleAged
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 10, 2021 at 1:52 am

MiddleAged is a registered user.

Teachers refuse to teach kids in-person despite overwhelming evidence that doing so does not increase coronavirus transmission and despite their priority vaccinations. And they continued to get their full salary.

NO RAISES FOR TEACHERS! Many earn 6 figures with pensions and summers off. Teachers are FRONT-LINE WORKERS, just like the brave grocery workers and health care workers (as a couple examples). [Portion removed.]

Posted by Anony Mouse
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 10, 2021 at 5:02 pm

Anony Mouse is a registered user.

I know the narrative is impossible to dislodge, but at no point did PAUSD teachers refuse to teach. It's a little hard for me to disentangle what was said at board meetings and internal communications. But the fact remains, teachers were told that they must come in to work when allowed by county health officials. We were told that if we refused, we would be abandoning our contract, and our teaching credential would be flagged - meaning 1-2 years out of public ed, followed by an uncertain outlook for a job in any district. The alternative was a medical leave - unpaid. If you recall the board meetings, the decision was always based on "when the county health officials allow it". Leadership and the board never said anything about teachers getting in the way, because they are not liars. Now, some of you may recall there were large numbers of teachers commenting on how they were opposed to in person teaching, and felt unsafe. Many of you seem to equate this with "refusing to teach", but it's simply not true. Again, the teachers are an easy target for some people, I'm not sure why. We've earned your respect, and we deserve you accurately portraying the facts. Stop the false narrative. Hold your democratically elected board, and the leaders they've appointed accountable if you disagree with how things went. We've been doing the work the whole time.

Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 11, 2021 at 2:02 am

AlexDeLarge is a registered user.

What a teacher in Palo Alto makes 100 grand per year? Hmmm, they deserve it. A few years ago, after my retirement, I part time coached and taught at Paly (the Alma Mater of myself and kids) and I can relate to them, these kids in PA can give a woodpecker headache.

Posted by Tanya
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 16, 2021 at 1:32 pm

Tanya is a registered user.

Re vaccines, many teachers did not feel safe teaching kids until they could get vaccinated, which I understand. The tables are turning now, every teacher has the chance to be vaccinate; I hear that only 80% of the teachers are vaccinated so far.

I sincerely hope that if a teacher is not willing to get vaccinated, they will find a way to not put our children at risk, specially in the Fall.

K-12 kids will not be able to get vaccinated probably until next year, and they will be our NEW most vulnerable population having no choice in the matter. I really implore all teachers to get vaccinated if they plan on spending hours a day in an indoor environment with K-12 children.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 16, 2021 at 5:56 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

Schools are currently being promoted as a bastion of safety during this pandemic. 3 feet is supposedly safe for students and temperature checks are no longer required for student entry according to the CDC. But supposedly Covid doesn’t spread in schools and only spreads in the community. Now you are pointing out that unvaccinated teachers **could** pass Covid to their innocent and vulnerable students (which I agree with) right in class.
It’s actually going to work both ways. I agree with your premise that unvaccinated children will be in more danger than the general vaccinated population unless the virus somehow burns itself out because most adults and teens will be vaccinated by the fall. If it doesn’t burn out, younger children will potentially be bringing the virus into schools and passing it in on to other children and their teachers just like they do lice, flu, and common colds. It will circulate in schools no matter what supposed science is being promoted by the CDC. So, again, it’s going to work both ways. The children may also infect their teachers. Unvaccinated teachers may have a bad result and vaccinated teachers should mostly be covered unless they have a breakthrough case. The children may end up testing the vaccine efficacy in the classroom for teachers and I am worried also children will get sick.
Also, thinking ahead, will masks still be enforced for school children to wear in the fall? I feel they should be, but there are so many anti-maskers and many others may believe they just aren’t needed anymore because the adults are vaccinated and the general Covid numbers will be down. The IHME projection model has California at 1335 cases per day on August 1st. That number is way down from our peaks but it’s not zero. I believe this fall/winter in school will still be somewhat peppered with danger, but the tables may sadly turn for the “open the schools” protestors as the children will be more vulnerable than the school staff.

Posted by peppered
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 26, 2021 at 1:40 pm

peppered is a registered user.

You say:
"Final note-
You don’t support me or your child’s education if you don’t support the union."
It's up to us whom we want to support.
I support the teachers but not their union.
You are free to decline my support.