All teachers need to be aware of the following translations, most of which involve phrases used by district administrators during the course of negotiations, or by legislators and anti-teacher union people.
“We all need to share in the pain”. Translation – ”you teachers will experience pain while everyone else reaps the benefit.” Currently a favorite phrase with state legislators gearing up for pension “reform”.
“Our district has no money for any type of salary increase”. Translation – ”sorry teachers, before negotiations began, we moved the money for salaries from that fund and hid it in another fund. Example: a district will shift money from what might be called the “Education Fund”, (where salaries are paid from), to the “Buildings and Grounds Fund” where it can’t be used for salaries.
“Property taxes in this district have put an incredible burden on the average homeowner”. Translation – “Unless legislators come up with an alternative way of funding schools, don’t even think about lower class sizes or increased benefits”.
“Tenure protects incompetent teachers”. Translation – “Experience matters in every profession but teaching. Experienced teachers are just too damn expensive.”
“These lucrative pensions are out of control.” Translation – “There’s no pension money left because we stole it over a period of years. Now you teachers need to help us get back what we stole from you.”
“We need a merit pay system.” Translation – “Test scores are all that matter, we don’t believe teachers have anything else to offer our children.”
“It’s all about the children.” Translation – “This guilt trip tactic has worked before, why not try it again?”
“A strike would devastate the children.” Translation – “A strike would devastate our school board and we would actually have to shift money back into the fund that pays teachers and we would also have to stop playing games.”
“If teachers really cared about the children, they would give up collective bargaining and the ability to strike.” Translation – “Wow, just think how we could take more advantage of the teachers if they lost the ability to strike.”
“Public employees shouldn’t be able to strike.” Translation – Same as the previous translation.
“There’s no more important resource then our children.” Translation – “It’s time teachers take over the sole responsibility for our children, no one else in our society has the time for it.”
“I intend to be the education president.” Translation - “I better say that, doesn’t every presidential candidate?”
“As the new superintendent, I will introduce massive reform and work tirelessly until every child achieves success.” Translation – “I’m going to put those damn unionized, incompetent teachers in their place. What are the perks with this job ? Do I get a chauffeured limo when I visit the various schools ? And what about a security detail when I go to those schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods?”
“Children are our most important asset”. Translation - “Teachers are the only profession where failure is not an option. Doctors, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, lawyers, all fail from time to time. Teachers fail with just one child ? Unacceptable!”