Dallas Teacher Groups Warn Against Planned Sickout

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The ten thousand teachers who educate the students of the Dallas School District have been encouraged to skip school Wednesday by an anonymous fellow teacher.  But the leadership of Dallas ISD’s largest teacher groups are warning teachers about the repercussions of such a move.

“District employees may not strike or engage in an organized work stoppage against the District”, teacher association President Rena Honea repeated from district policy Tuesday.  “You could be terminated for violating the policy.”

Teachers have been asked to join the sick out as a message to the school board over dissatisfaction of an extended work day policy passage.  Dallas teacher will be required to work eight and a half hours, including lunch, starting next fall.  Currently, teachers are only required to work seven hours and 45 minutes per day.

A five-year veteran of classroom instruction with DISD created a web blog and Facebook page, urging fellow teachers to join a sick out in frustration over the extended work rules.  “We want the board to value the contribution we make”, the teacher known as ‘Mr. Jones’ said.

Honea, the head of Alliance AFT, said the sick out could mean trouble for teachers.  “We do not condone, nor do we condemn it, because that has to be an individual preference,” Honea said while warning that teachers must understand the rules for joining an organized sickout.

“We’re here to support our members, but we are not going to advise them to break the law,” said NEA Dallas President Angela Davis.

Officials with Dallas ISD have not commented on the sick out campaign.  On average, 500 teachers don’t report to work daily for DISD.

Davis said her teacher association is supportive of teacher concerns, but students should also be taken into account when discussing a sick out.  “It could send a message that we’re not here for the students, and that’s another reason why we say don’t do it.”

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  • Sara

    Where is the freedom then? Freedom has made this a strong nation, what the heck is going on that nowadays people complains are just secrets or they just whisper, it is not what we were nor what we are. Everybody knows DISD needs to treat teachers better than that, so why is no right to protest? I guess freedom of speech or protest is just a joke now.

    • David

      Sara, there are plenty of ways to protest. Many ways to use the freedom of speech that do not involve leaving thousands of students in class without a teacher. Collecting sick pay when you are not sick is simply dishonest. And cowardly. Regardless of which side of the issue a teacher sits, he/she can find a better way to get that view heard.

    • nonya

      The teachers have the option to not renew their contract for next year and make room for teachers who want a job.

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  • Mac

    8.5 hours including lunch. Assuming a short 30 minute lunch, that’s an 8 hour work day? Why are they threatening to protest? Don’t most people work 8 hour days?

    • branwren

      I have been working for almost 50 years and I’ve never had a job where I worked less than 8 and many times 12 and 14. If they don’t like it I guess they can join the 10’s of teachers that have worked beside this high-school drop out because they couldn’t make it as teachers

  • Me

    Wow…. My wife and I are teachers…. I would love to work only 8 hours a day… Lest we forget prepping, grading (easily 4 hours a week), and the constant pressure to tutor and work weekends for our kids. I’ll gladly do it, but when I have a complaint…. You need to listen. I am giving up more than any of you in the private sector will ever understand. If you think you can do it…. Come on in and help me run my class. Good luck to you because I know you will not make it!

    • branwren

      What arrogance! I can do anything you can do and twice as good! I’ve got an IQ of 173 and think most teachers are in it because it’s an EASY job. Try turning up an OC192 that carries over 100K conversations at once. I dare YOU!

      • Dave

        You can do anything twice as good as he can and call HIM arrogant? Teaching has one of the highest turnover rates of any job. That’s a fact that even your 173 IQ should be able to wrap itself around. I’m sure your job is very hard, but sois teaching, and making the workday longer will only hurt the students. Any teachers with experience will leave and will be replaced by a new teacher who will only use the job as a resume booster for the next year when they quit and go somewhere better. It’s called retention, and DISD will have none anymore.

  • cmartin

    i believe 8 hours is a normal work day & lunch in cluded thats average

    & teachers do tubor b4 & after school or its an option if needed & teachers do prep & teachers do grade at home i know you can consider an 8 hour day 8 am /4 pm . but some schools tutor @ 730 am so im betting their work day will be 730 am / 4 pm

    i agree teachers need to be paid more , i am not a teacher but i do have 3 children that have been thru the public school system bisd birdville

    & my last one is finishing in a charter school which i prefer 1, 000 times better over regular public any day , i wish for a local charter schooling k on up close by for my granddaughter in a few years

    they do not ask for money either like public schools big ones like birdville do

    dallas isd has had lots of problems esp with whom ever leads disd over the years its never stoped

    personaly i think 8 1/2 hours w/ unch is needed for a teacher esp if a student needs tutoring if not do your grading then ,

    a lot of new teachers get burned out quick these days & feel they have no support internally ???

    but you also have so teachers that should of retired llong ago they are burned out & no longer care but to teach just collect pay

    then there are some fantastic teachers i ve seen but they by far are out weighed by the other 75 % or more that dont belong there i am speaking of bisd because thats where my experience is
    bisd to cover up the rapidly growing drop out rate any day you can never get an honest answer there or they say child transferred have incentives to keep em in school give incentives to get drop outs back in , if you no longer love teacher get out your no longer helping children, i always hoped my child would

    not get a new new teacher because they dont have enough experience & want to prove thier selves at kids cost sm x & i also hoped to not get a teacher that was just collecting a check & wasnt happy teaching any more i wanted some one proven that had a passion for teaching & understood & could accomate

    children that learned diffrent & didnt expect all children to be a cookie cutter version of each other , keep in mind i had to adha / bipolar children & we did have a handful of great teachers , some couldnt care less if a child is having

    difficulty find out why & do what it takes to fix it my children spend so much time during a day with you its impportantyou an a great influence on him or her & sadley alot of teachers are not any more too many politics in schools too too

    much paperwork ,& the tax test teaching a whole nother story lets get back to the basics & in upper grades lets have home economics & child rearing & sex ed & also life skills cashiering stocking ect not every child is colloege bound


    Organizing and managing 22 seven year olds in a 20 X 20 foot room from 8 AM to 3 PM is NO MATCH for a 173 IQ!

  • Bob A.

    My niece is a school teacher and I know for a fact that she puts in more than 8 hours a day. The bigger question is what are the teachers suppose to be doing during the extra 30 minutes a day they have to spend in the classroom? Did the board extend the students school day to match? What productivity improvements are expected? The only other thing I can imagine is the board thinks the teachers could finish all their work with this extra time. I don’t think anyone could grade 30 book reports in that time.

  • Vince

    It’s not the time that is the problem, it’s the mandated mentality that is behind it. The teachers are going to be spending way more than 9 hours a day working. Most of the time, they put in 11 hours per day Monday – Thursday, and 9 to 10 on a Friday, from my experience. Teaching is a full time yearly job but it’s done in 10 months. Most people work 40 hour work weeks: 40 hours * 52 weeks a year = 2,080 hours. Teachers put at minimum those hours in, but only have 40 weeks. 2,080 hrs/40weeks = 52 hours /5 days = 10.5 hours per day, if they don’t work while eating lunch, that’s 11 hour days on average. So yes, they don’t work on summer (unless they can’t afford not to and work summer school) because they put in 11 hour days on average for 40 weeks. The summer is a break they need so they can be recharged and do it all over again with the next group of kids they need to prepared.
    The issue with the work day is mandating that they do it at school. If they are preparing lesson plans, grading papers, and working on how to do individualize work for specific kids, mandating that this all happens before or after they spend 7.5 hours teach students is the problem. The teacher who works best in the morning who goes to work at 6:30 to do the ‘extra work’ that isn’t in her normal work day now must spend 45 minutes after work because the board voted on it. The person who leaves right at 4 pm so she he or she can pick up her child from school and spend 3 or 4 hours of the day with them before they go to sleep, and then they spend 2 hours from 9-11pm doing the ‘extra work’ that they don’t’ get paid for now has to lose an hour because of the 45 minutes the board voted on. The ONLY group this doesn’t effect is the teachers who don’t get to school before 7, and the ones who don’t have after school commitments that they attend to. The ones who stay late till 5 and get their work done and don’t have to think about it after they leave, they can continue without negative effects.

    There are basically 3 types of teachers considering the 11 hour days that teachers have explained above which constitutes at minimum, 2.5 hours extra work per day outside of assigned hours (for the easy of an example).
    2.5 hours extra work – normal work day – goes home to kids\spouse\hobbies.
    Go to work – normal work day – 2.5 hours extra work – go home to kids\spouse\hobbies
    Go to work – normal work day – go home to kids\spouse\hobbies – they sleep, then 2.5 hours extra work

    The teachers complaining are those that put in the extra time before work and those who put in the time after they spend time with their kids. Those people it is unfair two. The people who spend the extra work right after the day aren’t affected. This is why some hate it, and some are like “this is what I do everyday anyway”.

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