PatchChat LIVE at Noon: Fairfax County Teacher Workload

At noon Friday, Patch readers can join a discussion with Fairfax County teachers' association leaders and school officials to discuss what some teachers have called an unsustainable work environment.


Chat is live - to join, click "play" in the window above.

Some Fairfax County teachers say they've seen workloads increase for a few years now — but this is the first year it's becoming what they are calling "unsustainable."

And they say they want a solution sooner rather than later.

Join Patch at noon Friday to talk with the leaders of two of Fairfax County's teachers' associations, along with a school board member and an assistant superintendent about some of the issues surrounding teacher workload, including state and local testing, grading and evaluation systems and new curriculum initiatives.

Readers can make comments or ask questions and get live responses throughout the course of the chat.

To join: Bookmark this page and return at noon Friday, or sign up for an email reminder above.

At a meeting last month sponsored by Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, one of the associations that will be represented in Friday's chat, members asked school board members for help in reducing some of their requirements and responsibilities and the shrinking amount of time in which they have to do it.

Read: Fairfax County Teachers: "I Can't Sustain This"

In a letter to the school board in December, the Fairfax Education Association has said it's already offered four no- or low-cost solutions the county's school board have not acted on.

"A demoralized and burned out teaching force will not be able to help you realize your goals," President Michael Hairston wrote.

The workload issues surface at the same time the system is grappling with how to stay competitive with jurisdictions that, especially for teachers with more experience and education, are able to pay more.

The school board is hoping to give a 1 percent market rate adjustment in fiscal year 2014, which officials and teachers say isn't quite enough.

Some commenters on Patch have said given the county's budget woes, it couldn't afford to give more money to teachers, or expand the budget. Still, many readers have said — for a number of different reasons — money isn't the answer.

Guests on Friday's chat include:

  • Steve Greenburg, president, Fairfax County Federation of Teachers
  • Michael Hairston, president, Fairfax Education Association
  • Pat Hynes, Fairfax County School Board Member (Hunter Mill District)
  • Phyllis Pajardo, Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources

The chat will last one hour.

Previous Live Chats:

PatchChatLive: A Later School Start Time

PatchChat Live: School Board Reopens Honors Discussion

PatchChat Live: Video Surveillance In Fairfax County High Schools

PatchChat Live: How and Why Parents Are Driving The School Board Election

PatchChat Live: 'Preparing Our Children For The Future'

PatchChat Live: A Look Ahead At FCPS

Kathy Keith March 18, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Please read the "letters to the editor" in WAPO today. There is a letter from a woman who transferred schools in third grade. She wasn't reading in one school and turned into a good reader in the other one. Why? I think what Sue says is right. The new teacher used her own quick assessment to determine the problem--not a standardized test. Then she applied her own solution (in this case -Phonics- to the problem. The teacher's assessment took a minute--a standardized test would take hours.
Guy Linn March 18, 2013 at 01:14 PM
teachers union and non-union work their asses off for the betterment of their students each and every day and for you to imply otherwise is an affront. I would bet you never have turned down a benefit gained by unions for the workers they represent. Like 5 day work weeks, livable wages, safety on the job.
Don Joy March 18, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Don Joy March 18, 2013 at 01:27 PM
http://blog.heritage.org/2009/07/09/nea-general-counsel-union-dues-not-education-are-our-top-priority/ General Counsel Bob Chanin explains to NEA convention why Big Labor is so powerful: "Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas; it is not because of the merit of our positions; it is not because we care about children; and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. "The NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of million of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them; the union that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees. "This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing drop rate rates, improving teacher quality, and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary these are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights, or collective bargaining. "That is simply too high a price to pay." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-piPkgAUo0w
Don Joy March 18, 2013 at 01:31 PM
From the Heritage blog: "Where to begin? First of all, there is little that is voluntary about the millions in dues paid to the NEA every year. The NEA is strongest in states without right to work laws, and if you want to teach in a public school that is under an NEA contract in those jurisdictions (like California and New York), you must pay dues to the NEA. It is the law. There is nothing voluntary about it. Second, that is tax payer money he’s talking about, which is exactly what is so corrupting about public sector unions: the government is lobbying itself for its own expansion. "And what are “employee rights” and “due process,” you might ask? Well, those are what require New York City to pay 700 union teachers $65 million a year to do nothing. Same thing in Los Angeles, where 165 union teachers collect a total of $10 million a year from tax payers for doing nothing. "If you have the time, do watch the whole 25 minute address. Chanin recounts the rise of public sector collective bargaining, with a rapid rise in teacher unionization in the late 60s. He talks about all the victories the NEA has won for teachers since then. But ask yourselves, as the NEA has exploded in membership, budget, and power, how have American students fared? What have unions done for their education? Absolutely nothing."


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