TSA plan overall good, even if unfair for a few

Teachers who want to remain at Fremont High School next year must apply for newly
created “Teachers on Special Assignment” positions.

If they get the job, teachers will have to put in 18 extra days of work in the summer and an extra 30 minutes each day. They will be paid for the additional workload.

This major change is not only happening at Fremont; it is also occurring at Castlemont and McClymonds. These three schools, Superintendent Tony Smith
says, have students who need the most attention.

Although this plan will mean teachers may spend less time with their families and do more work at school, the staff of the Green & Gold believes the extra work time can benefit students in many ways.

The school is trying to figure out the best way to use the extra work time. Some of the ideas teachers have come up with are to add office hours, give seniors extra help in the summer on their personal statements and take students on college field trips.

Other teachers believe more time will help them plan better lessons and projects for
students.

We interviewed some students to find out what they want from their teachers in
these 18 extra days. Some want teachers to help plan clubs or find volunteer work
for students.

“Teachers should help students with low credits so that they have enough to graduate,” says Media freshman Darianna Figueroa.

The opportunities to help more students one-on-one are great.

But the plan has a serious obstacle.

The Oakland Education Association, the teachers union, has filed a grievance and some teachers say they would be willing to go on strike to prevent the TSA plan from going into effect.

Opponents say that Smith is trying to use the plan to get rid of older teachers and
that the district has broken the teachers contract.

There are valid arguments that the process is demeaning to the most senior teach-
ers at the school, some of whom have worked here for 30 years and are still doing stellar work. We agree teachers with such records probably shouldn’t have to reapply for positions they have earned.

However, to make it fair to all teachers, every teacher must go through the same process.

In a survey done by teachers after the plan was announced, only 25 percent of
Fremont teachers said they did not think the plan would improve students’ experience and 20 percent said they would not apply for the TSA jobs.

Principal Daniel Hurst said that the redesigned Fremont High needs to be a place “in which all the faculty work together and want to be there.”

The Green & Gold feels the union should not fight the TSA plan because it is a way for the district to select teachers who actually want the job. Teachers who are not committed to the longer hours or the plan will be relocated to other district schools.

In the end, the plan will benefit the students.