Home > General > My Take on Edusolidarity

My Take on Edusolidarity

I wasn’t going to post an edusolidarity post until I read this one by msgregson and became inspired.  I want to say in advance, I’m sorry if this offends you, but I felt obliged to post.  I offer a unique perspective and I often feel as if I do not understand exactly what is happening in the other states with my fellow teachers.  I teach in a right to work state.  We do not have forced unions.  There is still a NEA affiliate here, but I am not required to be a member.  If a teacher does choose to be a member, it costs $35 a month.  This provides me with limited representation and insurance.  The School Board has elected officials and they set my salary and benefits.  It is based upon years of experience and number of higher degrees.  I have a unique perspective on unions.  I also taught in Ohio, which is not a right to work state.  I was required to give over $1000 of my salary every year to the organization.  Every year I wrote a letter to the Ohio NEA expressing my desire to only pay my fair share for bargaining rights and asked that I not be forced to contribute to their political works due to differing opinions.  They did always comply, but only after several letters and requests.  I did appreciate them for respecting this.

I now teach in TN and my salary is very comparable.  I have similar benefits and I must say, a better working environment.   At my school in TN, I am often asked to do extra tasks, but am always thanked and appreciated.  In OH, I was often told to do something extra because it was in my contract.  Maybe it was just the school I was teaching at, but it often felt like a battle between the administration and the teachers.  I’m sure there was more behind the scenes that the union did for me, and I’m sure if I stayed longer, I might have seen the benefits, but I really don’t see the difference my $1000 a year made in my teaching environment.

I do feel bad for the teachers in Wisconsin and NY who may be experiencing job changes.  I can relate.  My husband lost his job two months ago.  He worked in the Insurance industry handling claims.   He has a college degree and is certified in several states.  He has many advanced endorsements.  He was an excellent employee with outstanding customer service reviews.  He was let go with no prior notice.    Needless to say, we were upset, but had little recourse.  We are now learning that the job market is tough.  It is happening everywhere.  It is not just rough for teachers.  I know my husband will find another job, but at this point, I am not sure if it will be at his previous level. 

I guess what I’m saying is the economy is rough right now.  Jobs are getting harder and harder to come by.  Why should anyone be protected because they are a member of a union?  What makes teaching any different from any other professional career?  Personally, I know that my fellow blog community works hard everyday to earn and keep their jobs.  They do not require the protection of a union.  Their passion and love for their jobs are reflected in their students.

Categories: General
  1. March 29, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Well said, Amber. I think the edu-solidarity posts are well written and make good points, but it’s refreshing to read a different point of view. In Australia I’m union-affiliated but I’m mightily relieved that my particular union acts in a lighted professional way, not a mighty industrial way.

  2. Betsy Gilbert
    April 3, 2011 at 2:28 am


    I just wanted to let you know that about six years ago my husband was let go from a high level position in the business world. He had just received a bonus six months before for exemplary work so we were to say the least stunned! It took him almost one year to find another job! It was a rough year for us but God saw us through. There were many small miracles along the way. He has been at his new job for six years now, and although it doesn’t pay near as much, he/we are happy! I will pray for your family.


    • April 4, 2011 at 11:40 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I am always amazed with how many people have experienced job loss. It is difficult, but such a learning experience. I know that God is in control and He will provide. Chris did get a job this week. Yeah! He doesn’t start until the end of the month, but God is faithful. We were blessed to only go 3 months without a job. I know in these tough times, that is a miracle.

      By the way, Chris had to take several assessments even to get an interview and it was his performance on the math assessment that made him stand out. It must be being married to a math teacher…


  3. Betsy Gilbert
    April 6, 2011 at 1:01 am


    Yay! I am so happy for you guys! I am going to share that story with my students but I won’t mention any names of course! I read them the Wacker article the other day. I am trying to get them to understand how important math is in today’s job market!!!

    Yes, I am sure he did well because his wife is a math teacher! hehe
    By the way, Adam still talks so fondly about you! He is taking College Algebra at Cleveland State dual enrollment this semester and is almost done! I can’t believe my baby is graduating in one month! Enjoy your boys because it does go by fast!

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