SEA teachers 'take charge' of extended days
The Springfield Education Association is calling on its members to confine their extended day activities to those that directly benefit students.
The following Springfield schools have voted to withdraw from extended day activities:
- Chestnut Middle School
- Homer Street
- Kensington Avenue
- Commerce High
- Central High
- Sumner Avenue
- Kennedy Middle School
- Indian Orchard
- Zanetti Montessori
Currently, Springfield teachers are contractually mandated to spend one and a quarter hours per week beyond the school day on professional development activities planned and determined school-by-school by School Centered Decision-Making (SCDM) teams, which include teachers, principals, parents and community representatives.
SEA President Timothy Collins said, "We are urging teachers to take charge of their extended days and to forgo most professional development activities in favor of activities that directly benefit students, such as lesson planning, parent conferences and meetings of teacher teams."
Collins added that teachers in each school had the right to vote to withdraw from SCDM-directed activities in favor of "independent activities," as noted in the SEA contract.
Collins explained: "Because of the continuing departures of skilled, experienced teachers, budget-related cuts and federal and state mandates, there is simply no longer enough time or people to do all the things expected and demanded of us.
"Springfield teachers can no longer concede valuable in-school time for activities of secondary importance while critical work for our students piles up," he continued.
Collins noted that, according to a survey of SEA members, most teachers spend at least six hours per week on school-related activities beyond the school day, with 34 percent spending more than 12 hours and almost 8 percent spending more than 20 hours.
"We must draw lines now," Collins concluded, "for ourselves and our students so that those who have the power to do something about the crisis facing our schools are compelled to act -- before it's too late."