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Teachers union gets latest state offer, asks for negotiations

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 05:55 p.m. HST, Mar 19, 2012

The union for Hawaii's public school teachers said today it has received the latest contract offer from the state and is asking to return to the bargaining table.

The statement from the Hawaii State Teachers Association follows a news release from Gov. Neil Abercrombie that the state sent the union a settlement offer.

The governor's statement said the state offer "is not in agreement" with the previous contract proposal submitted by the union Feb. 28.

"The HSTA proposal is fiscally irresponsible and devoid of reasonable policy regarding standards and performance," the governor's statement said. "It is a priority of this administration to engage in collective bargaining that is financially sound and advances student achievement and support for teachers in the classroom.

"We have made a settlement offer to HSTA that reflects the pilot performance-based evaluation system which includes student outcomes. This system, as proposed, incorporates protocols that prevent arbitrary personnel consequences. This offer also includes improving the probation and evaluation system for teachers that will be hired in the future.

"Our focus remains making an education transformation that is necessary to ensure better learning in the classroom for all students.

"We look forward to HSTA accepting this settlement offer."

The union said it is asking the state to set a date for a return to negotiations.

Neither side said it would release details of their latest respective proposals.

The labor dispute began July 1 when the state imposed a "last, best and final" contract offer for teachers. The offer included wage reductions and higher health care costs.

The state and union negotiators reached a tentative agreement on a contract, but union members voted to reject it Jan. 19.

The labor dispute contributed to the U.S. Department of Education's decision in December to put Hawaii's $75 million Race to the Top grant on high-risk status and warn the money could be lost.

Federal reviewers are scheduled to visit on March 27 to rate Hawaii's progress on key Race to the Top initiatives.

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kainalu wrote:
The most thankless job in the entire country - a teacher for the State of Hawaii.
on March 19,2012 | 04:09PM
Hullstown wrote:
A google search for "most thankless job teacher" produces 2,370,000 results. A google search for "most thankless job mechanic" produces 477,000 results. It seems like there are many stories yammering on about the "thankless job" of teachers. It's revealing. If mechanics had the success rate of teachers, they'd be out of business. Teachers should not be considered a sacred cow of society. Teaching is not "thankless", however, it has become a protected class that some would like to deem off-limits to public scrutiny. Too bad. Teachers need to be held accountable, just like thankless mechanics.
on March 19,2012 | 05:03PM
false wrote:
Teachers are held accountable every day. At the end of the day, they have unscheduled meetings to insure student improvement. I donʻt know nor neither do I care, but until you walk a mile in their shoes you really donʻt know!
on March 19,2012 | 05:13PM
Hullstown wrote:
From my calculations, teachers don't really walk a mile. They work like 10 months out of the year while everyone else works 12 months. Unscheduled meetings? See working 10 months out of the year. Walk in their shoes? I didn't choose the profession, they did. If you want the world to feel sorry for you for becoming a teacher, that's one thing. If you *expect* the rest of society to pay you a better total compensation package than most of society enjoys, that's another thing. Don't want to be a teacher? Don't be one. Want to be a teacher? Great, be the best teacher you can be get paid *millions* (this would require getting rid of those that marginalize the exceptional; unions), but don't act like the rest of the world *owes* you the farm because of what you *choose* to do.
on March 19,2012 | 05:30PM
Kapakahi wrote:

Two very related articles near each other in the "breaking news" column:

"US Chamber of Commerce Spent $249,000 for Lingle Ads," and

"Teachers union gets latest state offer, asks for negotiations."

The money given to Lingle to help the Republicans take control of the US Senate is money taken out of the pockets of teachers. Lingle hit the teachers hard as governor and now the CoC is rewarding her, working to elevate her to the national stage where she can continue to carry out their agenda of squeezing the middle class, cutting government services, suppressing wages, increase their profits and cut their taxes.

on March 19,2012 | 06:46PM
Hullstown wrote:
So all the money the US Chamber of Commerce decides to spend belongs to *teachers*? That sounds about right considering the entitled attitude displayed here. What has Abercrombie done that is so wonderful for teachers?
on March 19,2012 | 06:59PM
Highinthesierras wrote:
One word, " COMPUTERS," they will transform teachers to tutors and will save millions with improved learning. One word for what prevents them from being employed, "UNION."
on March 19,2012 | 07:28PM
false wrote:
Hey Highinthesierras. Who is gonna teach them to read and write and what is factual and what is not? Computers can work to a limit but they need to learn the basics and a teacher does this.
on March 19,2012 | 07:52PM
false wrote:
R U aTea Party person or just a wanna everything for free and have old maid teachers work in a little one room school house and be part of the township one church congregation? Walk in their shoes without the financial backing you got now and donʻt forget to get at least a Bachelors Degree and more often a Masters .
on March 19,2012 | 07:49PM
waianae94 wrote:
If an auto mechanic proposes a solution to a car's problem, but the car's owners refuse the fix, the car remains broken. Teachers have to go through this on a daily basis. If a child is flunking the class, it's the teacher's fault, even if the student is doing poorly because of bad attendance, drug abuse, general disinterest, bad home life, etc. Parents often refuse to admit that their children have problems, even preventing their kids from takings diagnostic exams that could reveal learning disabilities. Teaching is definitely a thankless job. Walk in our shoes. You wouldn't last.
on March 19,2012 | 05:40PM
Hullstown wrote:
You don't want to accept the fact that there is a *whole lot of crying* for teachers, the "most thankless job" compared to mechanics (and probably any other profession under the same google search, try "accountants"". It's *not* a "thankless" job. There are plenty of people crying for teachers when *ever* teacher chooses to be a teacher. "Walk in our shoes"? LOL. Why choose this profession if it's such a burden? You folks act like you're traversing the countryside carrying a cross! If you're going to claim it's "love of the kids", the union you support is fooling you, but not me. Under the current system, there is *no* accountability. It's *well documented* throughout the nation.
on March 19,2012 | 06:30PM
wiliki wrote:
The problem is here that the kid is not learning. No matter what the problem is, the school still has the obligation to DO something. If the teacher cannot help the kid learn, then the administration should be ready to assigned a social worker to the family, the kid and the teachers. They are all in need of therapy to handle the problem. For example, the teacher needs to be aware of what buttons is being pushed which sets the kid off. Parents need to be aware of what the needs of the kids are, no matter what problems-- drugs, a "bad home life", etc-- are encountered. The kids need therapy with personal problems so they can cope with a stressful school day. And on and on. This is what it takes to make sure that NO Chile is Left Behind.
on March 19,2012 | 07:53PM
kulanakai wrote:
At the end of the day, who is the MOST responsible for the kid? The parents & the kid. What Waianae said about the mechanic telling the customer what needs to be done and them not doing it is a good analogy. The school does not have authority to dispatch social workers to the homes of students who are not doing well. Does the public want to shell out more money? I think more often than not, the school is doing okay by teaching the kids, the kids need to wake up and pay attention. THey need to take the opportunities in front of them. If they want someone to deal with their personal problems, get a therapist. Don't mix up the jobs. A teacher does not parent the kid. A parent is to provide the emotional, financial and physical support. The kid has to do the right thing and make good choices.
on March 19,2012 | 09:26PM
waianae94 wrote:
kulanakai said it. Teachers/school admin have limited authority. Teachers can only do so much. I've had parents hang up at teacher conferences (Mother didn't want to show up in person) because she didn't want to deal with her daughter's problems. Another one would massage her son to bribe him to take his temper medication, and he would still refuse. Social workers were in the room, along with psychologists, etc. Nothing more could legally have been done. Just a small sampling of a few weeks of parent meetings.
on March 19,2012 | 09:33PM
waianae94 wrote:
Do all teachers really know what to expect? If all prospective teachers really knew what parents/students would be like, along with the paperwork and limitations they would have, no one would sign up. Just because there are CURRENTLY teachers out there, it doesn't mean there will ALWAYS be teachers out there. I bet the workforce will shrink in the coming years as the general public understands more about what teachers go through. Again: Walk in our shoes. No "lol."
on March 19,2012 | 09:35PM
Anonymous wrote:
Hawaii keiki and taxpayers deserve a 'Right To Work' law. The HSTA is not the least bit interested in quality results oriented education for Hawaii's Children...Teachers are held hostage by the HSTA and deserve a 'Right To Work' alternative...
on March 19,2012 | 07:22PM
fluke wrote:
at least its a job
on March 19,2012 | 10:23PM
Hullstown wrote:
"Neither side said it would release details of their latest respective proposals." The people not at the negotiating table for this stick-up? The taxpayers. Release the details of the proposals. Those being taught are the children of taxpayers, those paying for it. Why the need to hide anything from either party?
on March 19,2012 | 04:23PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
I think the public is going to be shocked by what the teachers asked for! Evidently it's "devoid of any policy regarding standards and performance", while still apparently asking for raises and of course, no drug testing. HSTA wants to return to the contracts of the past the gave teachers a raise each time with no accountability for work performance or outcome. You know, the old days with step increases and extra money for seniority.
on March 19,2012 | 09:06PM
Ono4poi04 wrote:
They don't agree to the contract get rid of em lots of teachers in the u.s.a would love to teach in Hawaii great place ro live.
on March 19,2012 | 04:23PM
false wrote:
They canʻt buy a home, and they canʻt live on the money paid by this ungrateful state and obviously disgruntled people like you.
on March 19,2012 | 05:10PM
Hullstown wrote:
I know public teachers that own homes. I know public teachers that make around $70,000/year. The get more job security, better benefits and, in *many* cases a higher salary than their private sector counterparts. Being a teacher, you expect your neighbor to pay you more, give you better benefits than they, themselves enjoy? Get real. If teaching doesn't pay your bills, then find another line of work, but don't put the onus on your neighbor to pay you a more generous salary than they make.
on March 19,2012 | 05:18PM
BRock wrote:
I am curious what better benefits teachers get than you do.
on March 19,2012 | 05:57PM
Hullstown wrote:
Job security. Medical. Retirement....and in some cases wages. Any other questions?
on March 19,2012 | 06:15PM
waianae94 wrote:
Cite your sources. Also, you sound very disgruntled. Try being a teacher :)
on March 19,2012 | 09:36PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
You know I agree that many Teachers don't make a great wage but by the same token, many of these same Teachers don't really perform their jobs too well. Our schools are failing federal standards and consistently rank low. The DOE, every year spends the equivalent of private school tuition for each student enrolled in public schools so money is not the issue. The bloated structure of the DOE
on March 19,2012 | 09:31PM
BRock wrote:
Baloney. Teachers from the mainland come here every year and then leave when they can't pay their bills.
on March 19,2012 | 05:53PM
wiliki wrote:
They get paid entry level wages... very low. It takes years to get decent pay or to figure out how to earn extra pay-- coaches pay, night school pay, real estate sales, etc. I have subbed in classes where the teacher has to close a sale that day so just takes leave.
on March 19,2012 | 07:58PM
waianae94 wrote:
And they leave within two years. I had a JROTC guy say that he would rather be back at war than teaching at a public school. What does that say?
on March 19,2012 | 09:37PM
Kapakahi wrote:

Lots of hatred of teachers being displayed in these comments. The last few decades have seen growing inequality of income in the US as the middle-class has been hollowed out and the wealth has gone to the rich. Teachers are not, of course, the only occupation which has been squeezed. But with public workers, the decision to cut their salaries and benefits is on public display. We cannot pretend it is private employers who are deciding to slash wages. It is government officials, supported by a lot of people posting comments here.

So the schools will continue to deteriorate. Abercrombie and key legislators have been provided handy, but empty slogans about "teacher accountability" by the national political and corporate elite. First, from the Republicans with their "No Child Left Behind" propaganda. Now, with Obama and Arne Duncan uttering slippery catch phrase courtesy of "Race to the Top."

No one can pretend they do not see what is happening. Taxes are cut on the wealthy, who see little need for well-educated kids. There will be few jobs which require much more than obedient drones. The shrinking professional and creative classes can be adequately supplied by the private schools and the good schools serving upper-middle-class families. Not only have manufacturing jobs been shipped overseas but the corporations and their political lackeys, often at taxpayer subsidies, but now even a lot of middle and professional class jobs are being outsourced.

And the parents and grandparents of the underserved children watch Fox News and Celebrity Apprentice, while the kids play video games and the whole world goes to heck.

So long as developers are able to continue to build their expensive housing here, so the wealthy elite of the planet can secure a second (or third) home in "paradise," money will still be made by Don Horner's First Hawaiian Bank and Goldman Sach's Waikiki hotels. Or under-educated kids? They can join the military and police the world for the Empire.

Or, we can turn this around. Raise enough taxes to pay our teachers a decent wage, attract talent/ retain talent in the profession and build the egalitarian society Democrats had promised us with statehood. Our choice. But people who rant against teachers here, only display their contempt for democracy and equality.

on March 19,2012 | 06:38PM
Hullstown wrote:
Show us all the facts that teachers receive such a paltry *total* compensation package compared to their counterparts. Show us the "real" numbers. I'm sorry you are *so* disappointed in your Democrat party's broken promises, that's your fault, not mine.
on March 19,2012 | 06:48PM
SmedleyFerndock wrote:
Education funding is excessive. The bureaucratic overhead in DOE siphons off the funds before they get to the classroom. Cut the entire complex bureaucracy. The communication from management to the teachers would improve. The funds available from this would allow a revolution in the classroom. Establish a percentage of management to classroom teachers. The percentage not to be exceeded by DOE. DOE bureaucracy is top heavy and performs little. The current number of DOE bureaucrats would be expected to perform all DOE functions, yet whenever a new program is proposed there is a requirement to hire new personnel or contractors,or both. DOE is broken.
on March 19,2012 | 06:56PM
wiliki wrote:
Not excessive. This kind of talk is alarmist and just plain lying. The Hawaii state share of education is higher than other states because state revenue is used to pay for schools. However, when the state costs are compared against other states including the local funding of schools we come out average. This method is definitely superior because the tax burden is well distributed to all residents and some exported to tourists. In contrast, the local revenue in the main targets property owners with large local taxes.
on March 19,2012 | 08:05PM
LanaUlulani wrote:

Why would taxes be raised again. The Democrat Regime in the House and Senate have already increased taxes and made new ones.

The problem is that they keep the money and steal more while teachers are expected to work more hours for less money thus are expected to be slaves!!!

A better alternative would be if the Democrat Regime in Hawai'i STOP STEALING. Then perhaps teachers can be paid instead of being SLAVES.

on March 19,2012 | 07:36PM
Hullstown wrote:
I'm done listening to the crickets chirp. All of you claiming teaching is a "thankless" job, google it and you'll find plenty of people crying for teachers. For anyone else claiming teachers are so grossly underpaid in total compensation, show all the taxpayers how awful public school teachers have it compared to their private counterparts.
on March 19,2012 | 07:21PM
HD36 wrote:
Government employees should be grateful they even have a job right now. I gaurantee you that we are going to have a sovereign debt crash in the United States which will make Greece's sovereign debt default look like chump change. The Federal Reserve policy of keeping interest near zero by buying US Treasuries is unsustainable. The end result will be hyper-inflation. The federal government will either have to restructure the 16 trillion in debt by a partial default or opt for hyperinflation, which is far worse. Assuming they restructure, severe auterity measures will be implemented. Government workers, who have been pulled in the wagon, will have to get out and help push. Many will be layed off, the rest will have to take drastic pay cuts. Remember, during times of hyperinflation, you will run to the bank to cash your paycheck, then run to the supermarket to buy all the supplies and food you can, because the next day, prices might double or there might not be anything left. The "eductation" or indoctrination system, is not much more than a large babysitting institution. Interest rates will rise, are rising on the 30 year T bill, and when they get beyond the control of the Fed, the economy, starting with the banks, will begin to fall off a cliff.
on March 19,2012 | 08:20PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Negotiating with HSTA seems all but pointless, they will never agree to performance based evaluations or drug testing. For some reason Teachers believe they are "special" and thus exempt from the requirements imposed on other classes of public employees. Just impose the terms of the contract, if they don't like it ...... they know where the door is!
on March 19,2012 | 09:20PM
CaptK wrote:
What's sad to comprehend here is if we paid teachers say 100K, would that change anything with the quality of education the students receive or improve test scores? Would high pay attract better teachers or atrract college students to pursue a teaching career, maybe; but in the long run would DOE produce a better product? My guess is we'd have well paid teachers with the same product graduating; again that's sad.
on March 19,2012 | 09:49PM
fluke wrote:
at least itsa job
on March 19,2012 | 10:23PM
danielpecoraro wrote:
keep feeding our kids pink slime. education starts and ends at home. lets start blaming police for crime and firefighters for fires.
on March 19,2012 | 11:00PM
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