Saturday, April 29, 2006

Teacher Absences Hurt Students

The Tennessean reports this morning that McGavock High School Spanish teacher Erick Huth has missed 42 1/2 days of school this year. Those days have been excused due to Huth's responsibilities with the local teacher's union.

Those responsibilities have ranged from union lunches to contract negotiations.

When I began reading the article, my first question was why some of these events couldn't be held in the evening. Given the importance of a teacher being in class, why couldn't the lunches be turned into dinners? Substitutes, in the current world, are rarely trained or prepared to properly conduct a class. If the local union was concerned about the education of Huth's students, they wouldn't put him in the position of having to make such choices.

To Huth's credit, he also seems to regret the disruptions.

Nashville schools director Pedro Garcia also seems to have a reasonable idea: give teachers with union responsibilities annual paid leave. However, the school board is understandably resistant to the idea of paying a teacher to essentially work for the union.

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