Guest Opinion: Pleasanton’s Unified Leadership Fools Students | New

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Pleasanton Unified School District leaders step in front of teachers and students.

Michael Fullan, a leading education scholar, says the most important strategy for school districts to improve student learning outcomes is to create the conditions for teachers to thrive. Instead of doing what’s best for the students, senior district leaders are taking care of themselves.

The existing employment contracts approved by the PUSD board for the superintendent and his executive cabinet grant them a 3.5% increase every July 1 for the duration of their contract. That’s a 3.5% increase each year on top of medical, dental and vision benefits for themselves and their families – and this was confirmed in June, before they settled down with their union. teachers.

Teachers have to pay for their services. For example, a teacher who insures himself and his family with Anthem Blue Cross may pay $ 2,641 per month. The total cost of medical care for a teacher under this intermediate plan is $ 31,692 per year!

By prioritizing their own interests and undermining teachers, district leaders create conditions that lead to division, toxicity and mistrust. When we fail our teachers, we fail our students.

A meal has been served and district leaders are on the front line to make sure they get theirs. True leaders who care about their team members and strive to get results and achieve their mission eat last, not first.

The primary mission of all schools and school districts is to educate and prepare all students for success. Our economy, our democracy and the well-being of our communities depend on the ability of our school systems to fulfill this mission.

There is no doubt that the people who have the most impact on the learning and socio-emotional well-being of our children are teachers. The job of district leaders is to recruit, hire and retain the most qualified teachers. After that, their purpose is to serve and support the people working with the students.

The PUSD was once a destination district. Salaries and benefits were competitive and they invested in the teacher’s professional learning. I came to Pleasanton to teach because I could do what I loved and also be able to support my family living there.

This is no longer the case for many of our teachers. Many have two jobs, have long commutes because they cannot afford to live in the area, and some have to take roommates. Many other teachers are leaving our district.

The leaders of the Pleasanton School District have it all wrong. They shouldn’t be at the top of the pyramid. Students are ahead and teachers are next because they count more than anyone in preparing our children for success. It is high time that the district leadership created the conditions for teachers to flourish.

Editor’s Note: Jeff Keller is a Pleasanton resident who has worked in education for over 25 years. He taught for four years in the bilingual immersion program at Valley View Elementary School in PUSD before becoming Principal of Marylin Avenue Elementary School in Livermore. After six years as Director of Educational Services in Stockton, he now works as Director in Santa Clara.


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