Say No to Extended School Year!
Executive Council of ATF:
We are opposed to the addition of ten days to the 2021-2022 school year and the associated addition of professional development requirements under the Extended Learning Time Program. We encourage ATF to oppose these additions during contract negotiations and by any other means available.
We list here reasons for our opposition:
Childcare and Quality of Life
Extra work-days or work-hours mean higher childcare costs, especially for teachers who have young children who would be in school.
One of the things we were supposed to learn from the pandemic was that family is worth more than a salary. Working more hours means spending less time with family. One of the benefits of teaching (and one of the reasons teachers are willing to take lower salaries than other professions) is time off.
This has been the hardest year of teaching for many teachers. Many teachers simply do not have the energy or capacity to do more. Teachers have been asked to sacrifice, switch gears, figure it out. Teachers have made education work despite a plethora of challenges, and they need a rest.
Repercussions to Teachers and the Teaching Profession
ELTP will make teaching for APS less attractive than it currently is and could cause a teacher shortage even worse than the one we have now. While an increase in take-home pay might tempt some, teachers are already being asked to do more than there is actually time to do. More pay does not give teachers more time to complete tasks.
The State of New Mexico and APS could not even provide a raise that kept up with inflation last year. Adjusted for inflation and the increases in health care premiums, APS teachers’ real wages declined last year. The proposed “raise” of 1.5% this year would likely mean another decline in real wages. The money allocated for this new initiative should be going to educators.
As Dwayne Norris and Ellen Bernstein wrote in the Educators’ Voice (March/April 2021), “The wage gap between men and women, ethnicities and “races” continues to exist and influence economic opportunity across demographics.” There are more female teachers than male, so requiring teachers to work more hours at the same pay rate simply continues that inequity.
Planning to spend additional time together when we will most likely still be in a pandemic in August is unwise.
Leaving the additional PD being up to local school control (whether 80 hours or even just 50 extra hours) means a lot more work for the ICs who have to figure out what that PD is going to look like as well as whoever is going to have to develop the PD. As mentioned earlier, teachers are already facing burnout.
If the additional PD is after school, how does that mesh with auxiliary positions like after-school clubs and coaching in which many teachers are already employed?
If the additional PD does not happen before the additional instructional days, how will those instructional days be anything other than more of the same?
Without significant planning and preparation, the additional PD will probably not be particularly helpful. There is not enough time for APS to plan, prepare and implement that kind of PD.
As mentioned above, the ten additional instructional days would most likely just be ten extra days. It is too late to effectively plan for next year and get the buy-in from local administrators and teachers. APS has proven three times (March 2020, August 2020, and March 2021) that they do not effectively implement innovation with little to no planning.
Many students already miss the first days or week of school. If more students do this because they do not want to participate in the extra ten days, it will simply make the critical first weeks of school even more difficult for teachers.
Some students were passed on from 5th to 6th and from 8th to 9th without having met the standards of elementary or middle school, respectively. So, for example, to provide remediation to 9th graders who did not master the standards of 8th grade, the high school teachers would need skills/knowledge/aptitude more common to middle school teachers. Furthermore, those students have now spent a year at the high school level with only the supports that individual teachers have provided in order to “make it work.” Dealing with these “gaps” will require far more than ten extra days.
For these reasons, we ask that ATF oppose the Extended Learning Time Program for APS.