Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tabernacle Teachers

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My kids go to school where their mom lives in Tabernacle Township, one town over from where we live in Medford. It's a pretty good school district, perhaps not quite as technologically savvy as the Mount Laurel schools they used to attend, and not really very diverse, but just fine as public schools go.  The teachers are good people, the kind of folks who are active in their community, approachable and well-trained.

Tabernacle is a very small town and a pretty quiet place.  Everyone pretty much knows everyone else or at least knows someone who does.  News travels pretty quickly and sometimes it can be a bit like being in a fishbowl.  So I was pretty surprised when I began seeing singes like the one above on all of the teachers' cars in the parking lots in the morning when I drop the kids off.  I read the local newspapers every day (online of course) and there had not been a word mentioned about the the Tabernacle teachers not having a contract or their decision to work though the labor issues.

I have no idea what the contract status is, where the talks stand or what the potential is for a strike.  I am a firm believer in teacher unions and in their right to collectively bargain and in some cases, to strike.  Usually though, the issues are fairly publicly debated, sometimes quite heatedly.  It's kind of odd to see this quiet job action happening and not know what the issues are.

On one hand, I'd much rather have teachers working under contract.  Everyone - teachers, parents, students and taxpayers deserve the certainty that a contract brings to a school district.  On the other had, if talks are continuing and things will be settled soon, this kind of job action is really about the best you could hope for as a parent.  My kids aren't affected, there aren't 'informational pickets' in the morning, and presumably the contract will soon be worked out.

I hope.


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