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Poll: Do Negotiations Affect the Students?

Do they affect the learning environment?

The and the board of education have been locked in negotiations since the contract expired in June 2011, and now they are going into fact finding after mediation failed to bring about a new contract.

But is all this affecting the students themselves as they continue to attend school every day?

Teachers have said they are trying not to speak to students about the contract issue because it is inappropriate to do so. When students ask about their Friday morning walkouts—where teachers remain outside their buildings until the moment their most recent contract requires them to walk inside, and they do not stay past their contracted hours—they just simply say they are waiting until it is time to go inside because of their contracts.

But they do not discuss the specifics of the negotiations.

And many teachers have said they are just trying to do the best they can for the students.

What do you think, Bridgewater? Take our poll and let us know if you think the negotiations are affecting students, and tell us in the comments exactly what you think!

bridgewater mom March 30, 2012 at 10:24 AM
I have heard my children talking about how "teachers don't want to be at work". Whether or not that is true, that is the perception my children have. They feel uncomfortable around the teachers and discuss this at home. So, YES, it is affecting some children.
Toni March 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Bridgewater mom, It is your job (as a parent) to make sure your children understand that that is not the case. Children have misperceptions about many things, and it's the responsibility of the parent to make sure they understand the situation appropriate to their age. The job actions taken by the BREA have been mild compared to those in past years. I think the BREA has done a commendable job of being patient and keeping the lid on job actions and (God forbid) a strike. If you were in Bridgewater in the 1990's you might remember a walkout over a lack of contract. It was a dark time in our district's past. I, for one, am making my voice heard for a quick settlement to this contract. This has gone on long enough. No one wins in a situation like this.
Metoo March 30, 2012 at 11:28 AM
How can it not affect the students, that's the business they're in. After all that been/being said about them, ya know, they're lecherous, blood suckers, pigs, scum, freeloaders, part-time workers, lazy, enjoy a lucrative past-time they call work, NJEA boot-licker, thieves, teachers suckling at the government teat, and much more; I can't imagine morale is high. I've read/heard all those, often. I've never known productivity to rise when morale sinks. If I were a teacher, I certainly would not be giving my very best these days. They seem to be despise, and in some perverse way, envied.
Ladymb March 30, 2012 at 11:35 AM
As always, the number one priority of the BR teachers is their students. Although teachers are working to contract on Fridays, they are still available for extra help other days, before, during and after school. They are still grading papers, planning interesting lessons, contacting parents, meeting with guidance counselors and administrators about students, and fulfilling all of the other aspects of their jobs. I don't think the kids are being affected by negotiations. They may be able to figure out that the teachers are still putting them first, despite their negotiations, but that's nothing new to them.
Fred March 30, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Toni, It's the parents job to lie to thier children. You've got to be kidding! Teachers are bringing this into the classrooms and it is affecting the children. My chidren have also brought this to my attention and when it is addressed to school staff it falls on deaf ears. You are the one with the misperception. The BREA has been given a generous offer, 5% over 3 years, the economy is stagnant and will take years to come back. I know alot of people who have taken salary cuts and have seen ZERO raises over the past three years.
BR Parent March 30, 2012 at 11:51 AM
No, I do not think the students are affected by this. If anything is seen or heard, I believe it is OKAY to explain to your child that there are two sides to things and sometimes grown ups find it difficult to compromise. My children have had a good education, thanks to some terrific BRRSD teachers.
glenn March 30, 2012 at 12:11 PM
So far the level of rancor has been low. Older kids know what is going on, even if they don't know the facts. The little kids are more emotional and see a change in routines, but from what I have seen, the BREA has kept it out of the classroom much better than prior contracts.
bridgewater mom March 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Toni, Older children, in the ms & hs, have heard and seen many inappropriate things over the last several weeks. It is my job, as a parent, to try to explain both sides of a situation. Having said that, it is my belief that this on-going behavior does spill over into the school day. It is my hope that the few teachers that are discussing the negotiations and making comments about how unfair their situation is will stop. Working to contract is one thing, wearing black and commenting on how underpaid and overworked they are is another. I will not justify that.
Anotherone March 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM
It is not easy for the teachers to cheerfully do all that they do before, during, and after the school day under the current circumstances. They may stand outside for a bit on Fridays, but they still put in the extra hours it takes to prepare, grade papers, etc. Only once has one of my children ever heard a complaint from a teacher. If it happens, it is indeed an opportunity for parents to explain that there are 2 sides to an issue. I do not believe the B-R teachers will allow the children to pay the price, in terms of their education, for the negotiaion breakdown. But if the children are upset, it should not be assumed that their information - or misinformation - comes from their teachers. Children are at least as likely, or even more so, to hear about these issues from their parents.
bridgewater mom March 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM
The majority of the teachers are acting professtionally. Some are not, that is a fact. Perhaps the union could help out by reminding the teachers that they are gathering in front of students. No mention of this should go on during the school day, period.
Terry March 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM
The teachers do a great job - Bridgewater Mom sounds like a nut job....probably she will raise a bunch of nutty kids and blame the teachers about that too. Negotiations may affect kids for sure, but over-involved parents are the main issue for that.
bridgewater mom March 30, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Terry, Thanks for your opinion! Too bad you can't just stick to the discussion.
Ladymb March 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM
I'm not sure how "wearing black" is unjustifiable. Teachers showing that they support each other through wearing black or wearing a red wristband does not effect a child's education.
Toni March 30, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Fred, You need to understand how salary guides work before you make a blanket statement like that. 5% over three years does not mean every teacher gets 5%. Far from it.
Special K March 30, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Unless students are unreceptive to learning in all its forms, they are learning that their teachers' self-interest supersedes interest in them. That those to whom the formal education of youth is entrusted should deny the latter of any privilege in order to advance a selfish cause can only be thought of as .....abh... disg ....well, at least, inappropriate behavior. And should they complete an earlier version of the Strong Vocational Interest Blank (SVIB) the average score on its "teacher" scales would be "C" or lower (indicating a pattern of values and interests quite unlike that which differentiates "teachers" uniquely from folks in the general, and from members of occupational groups for whom "social service" is not a primary goal).
Fred March 30, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Toni, The point is that in this economy the majority of people are receiving no raises and thier expenses continue to increase. Yet you are looking for a 3% increase per year. Don't give me that I don't know how the salary guides work, they were set up by your union negotions, so live with it.
Fred March 30, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Terry, You sound like the BREA/NJEA Union Drumbeater who's only recourse when faced of an open and respectful discussion is to resort to name calling. BWMom sound like great parent who an informed and involved. I alway hear teachers complain that parents aren't involved enough or at all. For you it sounds like being involved great as long as you agree with the union agenda.
Johnny White March 30, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Really, the "majority" of people are not getting raises in Bridgewater? Are you sure about that? Ask around before you make that conclusion. And are you aware of the pay CUTS that teachers have taken in the past two years? Given the BOE's best offer, and the extra I pay for benefits, it will take me SIX YEARS to get back to what I was earning in 2010. So don't go telling anyone that teachers are actually getting a raise...we are fighting desperately to keep our heads above water and pay our bills. So if morale is low, it's not because teachers are whining about not padding their bank accounts. It's because we are all taking pay CUTS and we just want to stop the bleeding. Make sure you know what you're talking about before passing judgement.
Fred March 30, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Yeah, really they are Johnny. Sorry, I don't hobnob with the folks in the mansions up on the hill, but us common folk are struggling with no raises and increases in medical coverage, gas, food and taxes too. I have asked around, and I am aware of what has been going on in my industry and those of my neighbors, friends and family. You might want to watch what conclusions you are jumping to before you accuse others of the same thing.
bridgewater mom March 30, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Fred, I think you are right. Apparently, there is only one side to this after all....anyone that disagrees with what the union is pushing for is wrong, uninformed, and a "nut job". How sad.......
Toni April 01, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Sorry, Freddy, I'm not a teacher.
Fred H. April 05, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Of course morale is impacted by what is happening. Find any occupation or sector that would not be when there are no raises, when benefit costs are leaping not just rising or when the parents of the children that they are entrusted with bash them for seeking a fair deal. Is it fair that the superintendent and others with six figure salaries get raises when the teachers making much less get nothing? Is it fair when the teachers have given back huge amounts and are still told give us more? Yes, there are problems in the system no doubt. But there are MANY teachers that have not changed how they act or work, arriving early, staying late and working on the weekends. There are teachers that I'm sure may not be doing all they can too. That is the same as any industry or sector. What's different is that corporate America has a system of meritocracy that is meant to weed out the low performers. Put a similar system in place to address the problem, instead of punishing every teacher. Years of neglectful spending and lack of responsibility by the Board and the State should not be put on the teachers to correct. These are the people that mold our children to become something later in life. Who would you prefer be happy in what they do - the superintendent or the teacher? Think about that.
Mike April 05, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Where's Ronald Reagan when you need him? Perhaps Santorum can summon the Almighty to raise Ronnie from the dead so he could fire 'em all and hire desperate recent college grads at $12/hr with no benefits and make 'em "1099" employees. Those who wear black do so to show solidarity. The biggest issue is that there's been no contract for almost a year. "Working to contract" means just what it says: doing what's required by contract. That said, MOST teachers would never say no to a senior who needs a letter of recommendation for college (some teachers write many and spend many hours of their OWN time to do so) or to the second grader who's struggling who wants extra help after school. Few know about stuff like that; they just know what NJ 101.5 echoes (literally and figuratively). As far as who's hurting in town, compare the student parking lot to the teacher parking lot. Many 17- and 18-yr-olds in this town are doing quite a bit better than adult educators who work for a living.
Mike April 05, 2012 at 03:49 AM
My sources (students and adults in different schools) all tell me the impact is minimal. One intermediate school student told me "Yeah, they have meetings on Fridays. Not sure what that's about." I think older kids should know that teachers are working without a contract and their congregating before school and wearing black are forms of solidarity in what they believe - and leave it at that. It's a living civics lesson; when the axe came out two years ago and over 70 positions were cut, several students spoke at BoE meetings. This type of young adult will ask questions - teachers need to be cautious in how they respond (e.g., explain facts).
Chuck knows stuff April 05, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Translation: You feel uncomfortable around teachers because you are sending your kids to the people who you decry on comment sections such as this. If you really care about your kids you should be doing everything in your power to make sure that the best people are on the job, how do you do that in this free market economy you ask bridgewater mom? Oh that is easy, make salaries attractive enough to encourage the best people take the job.
Chuck knows stuff April 05, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Zombie Reagan 2012
Fred April 09, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Chuck, Continually raising salaries does not automaticly convert to a better education for our children. Quite frankly the best teachers are not always the highest paid. I agree with Fred#2, lets convert to a merit based pay system where raises are based on preformance. I have been in Bwtr for a long time & have seen my school taxes skyrocket, yet the quality of education in the town has diminished. Let's also remember that it is the taxpayers that foot the bill here and this econony does not support a 8+% raise over 3 years regardless of how the union negotiated salary guide splits it up.

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