• Advertisement

Right-Wing Front Group Attacks Teachers With Biased Report On Absenteeism

Image by Woodleywonderworks FLIKR CC

Yesterday, the Concord Monitor, along with a number of other media outlets across the country, ran a story about a new report on “teacher absenteeism,” produced by the conservative think tank, The Fordham Institute.

The crux of their entire report is that based on their research that public school teachers – specifically the unionized public school teachers – take more sick days than charter school teachers.

According to the report, “Twenty-eight percent of traditional public school teachers are chronically absent, compared with 10 percent in charter schools.”

Fordham defines chronically absent as being absent for 10 or more days a year.

Educators were quick to disagree with Fordham’s research.

“Fordham is a biased organization that is driven by an anti-student agenda with anti-public education funders,” wrote the National Education Association. “The authors of this study themselves note that their own research ‘cannot establish a causal relationship between any specific policy or factor and absenteeism.’ Fordham is using corrupted assertions to draw misguided conclusions that denigrate the service of hardworking educators who put the best interest of students at the center of their daily lives.”

The report specifically targeted New Hampshire along with seven other states, claiming that, “public school teachers are at least four times as likely to be chronically absent.

“The report did not look at New Hampshire schools specifically, instead it conveniently lumped together data to make their conclusions. I think actual abuse of paid time off is quite rare,” said Megan Tuttle, President of NEA-NH. “If a teacher is not in their classroom as expected, it is most likely because of illness, issues with child-care, or increasingly now, with elder care. And because of the limitations placed on public schools that charter schools do not have to operate under, public school class sizes are larger, increasing a public school teacher’s exposure to more kinds of illness.”

“It’s no secret that teaching is a high stress profession, and that stress is only getting worse. In addition to their assigned duties, teachers now also address issues of student homelessness, hunger, addiction and abuse. In some cases, teachers have acted as protectors and first responders as the incidence of school violence increases. Teachers dedicate their lives to their students, often reaching into their own pockets to purchase supplies and food. To paint them, as this report tries to do, as somehow focused only on themselves is shameful,” added Tuttle.

“A poorly-designed report that, for example, counts maternity leave as chronic absenteeism,” said Doug Ley, President of AFT-NH. “Using the logic of the report, ill teachers should report to work regardless of the risk of spreading illness to students and colleagues.”

“In my experience working with teachers and para-educators, they tend to under-utilize their sick days. Why? Because they stay late, arrive early, and are 100% dedicated to the education and welfare of their students, and hesitate to miss a day and hinder their students’ learning,” added Ley.

The report attempts to pit workers against each other by suggesting that teachers get too many “sick and personal” days off per year.

“On average, teachers get more than twelve sick and personal days per year, though only one-third of US workers are entitled to ten or more sick days.”

Fordham conveniently omitted the fact that 68% of full-time private sector workers get between 6-10 paid sick days a year and this does not include additional paid vacations days or paid holidays. Most large companies give employees more than 10 sick days per year after 20 years of service.

“The question the Fordham Institute should ask is: How do we recruit, retain and support teachers for America’s schools—teachers who, the OECD has shown, are paid much less than their similarly educated peers, teach longer hours, and have less time to prepare their lessons than their international counterparts?” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers.

This report is nothing more than paid propaganda attacking unions and the collective bargaining process that has helped generations of workers in the public and private sectors.

“The report also tries to link collective bargaining with increased sick time, but what it fails to point out is that contracts limit the amount of sick time a teacher has available to take,” continued Tuttle. “Rather than leaving it open ended, teachers, administrators and school boards balance the number of days any teacher has available to be out sick with the health needs of educators, and cap it to prevent abuse.”

Even if you believe Fordham’s research, which is clearly skewed against public school teachers, it does make the case that unionized teachers who bargain collectively, get better benefits than their non-union counterparts.

“Educators at charter schools, most without the benefit of a collectively bargained contract, are often forced to quit because they don’t have leave and vacation provisions to fall back on. The reality is that charter schools need better leave policies, not worse ones, a fact ignored by Fordham,” explained Weingarten.

Fordham’s feeble attempt to pit worker against worker only proves that when workers stand together and bargain collectively, they will all do better.

NEA-New Hampshire Recommends Kevin Cavanaugh for Senate District 16 Special Election

Members of the NEA-NH Executive Board with their recommended candidate for the District 16 Senate Special Election, Kevin Cavanaugh.

 

CONCORD – Today, after a unanimous Executive Board vote, NEA-New Hampshire, the state’s largest public sector union, announced their recommendation of working families advocate and community leader Kevin Cavanaugh for Senate District 16 in the upcoming special election.

“As a father who proudly sent all three of my kids to New Hampshire public schools and graduated from Manchester public school myself, I’m honored to earn the recommendation of NEA-NH. Its important to me that our kids get a top-notch education so they can reach their fullest potential,” said Kevin Cavanaugh. “Schools are the foundation of our community, which is why it’s critical that educators are supported and empowered to keep inspiring our children to think big.”

“We are excited to support Kevin Cavanaugh, because he knows that growing New Hampshire’s economy starts with having a public education that makes young families want to stay to ensure their kids can get a good education,” said NEA-NH President Megan Tuttle. “This race is particularly important to us because of our history with Scott McGilvray and we’re confident that Kevin will make kids a priority, just like Scott always did. Like Scott, Kevin will be a fresh face in the Senate, with new ideas, willing to work with everyone to move New Hampshire forward. ”

NEA-New Hampshire represents 17,000 Granite State educators, including over 550 members in Senate District 16, which includes the towns of Bow, Candia, Dunbarton, Hooksett and Wards 1, 2, and 12 in the city of Manchester.

A recommendation is the fullest and most complete level of support NEA-NH can give a candidate.


NEA-New Hampshire is the largest union of public employees in the state. Founded in 1854, the New Hampshire State Teachers Association became one of the “founding ten” state education associations that formed the National Education Association in 1857. Known today as NEA-NH, and comprised of more than 17,000 members, our mission to advocate for the children of New Hampshire and public school employees, and to promote lifelong learning, remains true after more than 150 years. Our members are public school employees in all stages of their careers, including classroom teachers and other certified professionals, staff and instructors at public higher education institutions, students preparing for a teaching career, education support personnel and those retired from the profession.

NEA-NH Recommends Beth Roth For Executive Council District 3

Concord, NH – Today, NEA-New Hampshire, the state’s largest public sector union, announced their recommendation of Beth Roth in the race for Executive Council District 3.

“Beth Roth has a long history of supporting public education,” said NEA-NH President Scott McGilvray. “Beth serves as an adjunct professor with the University Systems of New Hampshire and is a UNH alumni. Her background gives her a unique perspective on the wide range of issues facing students and their families, and we know Beth will be a tireless advocate for educators in New Hampshire”

“I am incredibly honored to receive the recommendation of NEA-NH,” said Roth. “I understand how important accessible and quality public education is for working families and communities, and the integral role educators play. As an Executive Councilor, I will support NH teachers and students to make sure all Granite Staters have the opportunity to receive a good education.”

A recommendation is the fullest and most complete level of support NEA-NH can give a candidate.

NEA-New Hampshire is the largest union of public employees in the state. Founded in 1854, the New Hampshire State Teachers Association became one of the “founding ten” state education associations that formed the National Education Association in 1857. Known today as NEA-NH, and comprised of more than 17,000 members, our mission to advocate for the children of New Hampshire and public school employees, and to promote lifelong learning, remains true after more than 150 years. Our members are public school employees in all stages of their careers, including classroom teachers and other certified professionals, staff and instructors at public higher education institutions, students preparing for a teaching career, education support personnel and those retired from the profession

NEA-NH Recommends Lee Nyquist In Senate District 9 Primary

CONCORD – Community leader, town moderator, and attorney Lee Nyquist received the recommendation of the National Education Association of New Hampshire (NEA-NH), New Hampshire’s largest public sector union. 

“Lee Nyquist knows first-hand how a high quality public education can change a student’s life for the better,” said Scott McGilvray, NEA-NH President. “That’s one of the many reasons why we are excited to recommend him. We know that as a state senator, Lee will work tirelessly to ensure that our educators and support staff have the resources they need to help every child reach their full potential.” 

“As the first in my family to attend a four year college, thanks in very large part to dedicated public school teachers, the recommendation of NEA-NH is an honor I am very grateful to have,” said Lee Nyquist. “As a state senator I look forward to working to build partnerships between school districts and employers for vocational training programs, continuing the tuition freeze in the UNH system, and to working to ensure that our educators and support staff have the resources they need to help so many children have brighter futures.” 

Nyquist and other candidates go through a vetting process that includes a education and labor questionnaire that is then reviewed by the Government Relations Committee. The committee is made up of  “teachers, education support professionals and retired members appointed by the NEA-NH president and approved by the Executive Board,” explained NEA-NH spokesman George Strout.  

A recommendation is the fullest and most complete level of support NEA-NH can give a candidate.  

“The process is designed to find out, face-to-face, where candidates stand on our issues, and then recommend to our members the candidate who the Committee believes would best serve our students, our members and public education.  The Committee does not look at issues beyond public education and public sector collective bargaining rights,” Strout added.

Nyquist is currently in a contested primary against businesswoman Jeanne Dietsch who recently made headlines on the NHLN for burning the AFP’s Right to Work Pledge.

The winner of the primary with then go on to face Senator Andy Sanborn who referred to raising the minimum wage as a “war on employers,” voted against the medicaid expansion and is a strong proponent of Right to Work legislation.

Jay Kahn Receives Two Big Education Endorsements In NH Senate District 10 Race

Jay KahnJay Kahn, Democratic candidate for the New Hampshire State Senate in District 10, is a higher education administrative professional for 43 years, 28 of them spent in the Monadnock region at Keene State College.  For that reason, he feels extra proud to announce his candidacy has earned the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire (AFT-NH) and the recommendation of the National Education Association of New Hampshire (NEA-NH).

The American Federation of Teachers-New Hampshire is the largest affiliate of NH AFL-CIO and represents a broad cross-section of teachers, paraprofessionals, police, public employees, and higher education faculty.  Like AFT on the national level, AFT-NH champions “fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities.”

According to AFT-NH President Douglas Ley, Jay Kahn is the strongest candidate in the Democratic primary for State Senate District 10.  “Jay Kahn is the candidate best poised to carry forward the work of retiring Senator Molly Kelly, continuing her tradition of firm advocacy for working people and working families in New Hampshire.”

NEA-New Hampshire, the state’s largest public sector union, announced their recommendation of Jay Kahn for Senate District 10 today. A recommendation is the fullest and most complete level of support NEA-NH can give a candidate.

“I am honored to earn the recommendation of NEA-NH for the state senate seat in District 10.  Over my 43 years in higher education, I have dedicated myself to working with faculty and staff to transform the lives of students.  Now I pledge to stand together with NEA and businesses across the state to fortify the pipeline of qualified students into our NH workforce,” said Kahn.  “Retaining high school and college graduates in the state is crucial to our workforce and economic goals.  This includes retaining and attracting teachers and support staff, and giving them the support needed to inspire students and develop creative approaches to teaching and learning.” 

“We know Jay is looking out for students and families from his focus on creating more paid internships to encourage students to stay in NH, and a public higher education tuition freeze for two years, so prospective students can better budget,” said Scott McGilvray, NEA-NH President. 

NEA-New Hampshire Announces Recommendation of Hillary Clinton for President

Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the representative assembly at the 154th Annual Meeting, 95th Representative Assembly at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Tuesday July 5, 2016. (SCOTT ISKOWITZ/RA TODAY/ NEA Public Relations All Rights Reserved)

Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the representative assembly at the 154th Annual Meeting, 95th Representative Assembly at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Tuesday July 5, 2016. (IMAGE – SCOTT ISKOWITZ/RA TODAY/ NEA Public Relations — All Rights Reserved)

CONCORD – Following Hillary Clinton’s remarks to the more than 7,500 delegates at the National Education Association’s 95th Representative Assembly, NEA-New Hampshire, the state’s largest public sector union, announced their recommendation of Hillary Clinton for President.

“We are proud to join with educators from across the Granite State in recommending Hillary Clinton to be our next President and continue to work in partnership with her to create stronger public schools and a brighter future for the next generation of students,” said Scott McGilvray, President of NEA-New Hampshire  

“There is so much at stake this election for New Hampshire students and teachers. Donald Trump has continued to put forth reckless policies that would hurt so many students across our state, like eliminating the Department of Education–a move that would strip students with special needs of resources and protection, deprive schools in rural New Hampshire of funds, and eliminate the federal Pell Grant that makes college accessible for thousands of our graduates.”

“As President, Hillary will make sure that teachers are supported and heard at the highest levels of government. She has been a champion for our nation’s children her entire life and with her vision, we can ensure that every student in New Hampshire has the opportunity to succeed and every teacher has the tools he or she needs to make that success a reality.”

Hillary Clinton on Teachers

The National Education Association of NH Recommends Van Ostern For Governor

NEA-NH Button 201X201Today, the National Education Association-New Hampshire (NEA-NH), the state’s largest educator and public employee union, strongly recommended Colin Van Ostern for Governor of New Hampshire.

“Colin Van Ostern has a proven record that New Hampshire educators and families can trust,” said Megan Tuttle, NEA-NH Vice President and Pembroke teacher. “From working to lower tuition costs to championing full-day kindergarten, Colin Van Ostern is an advocate for educators and students, alike. As our next Governor, Colin will continue moving New Hampshire forward, so that everyone has a chance to succeed – not just those at the top.” 

“We’re honored to receive the endorsement of NEA-NH that represents 17,000 hardworking New Hampshire educators,” said Pat Devney, campaign manager for Colin Van Ostern. “As Governor, Colin will fight to lower tuition costs, expand full-day Kindergarten, and work to ensure that New Hampshire offers a world-class education. We must continue to move New Hampshire forward and we’re proud to earn the support of eight local labor unions in that effort.” 

Van Ostern has previous picked up the endorsement of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2320, and the Teamsters Union Local 633.

Many in the labor movement remember how as Executive Councilor, Van Ostern took a stand against Fairpoint Communications showing his support to the thousands of workers who were on strike.  Van Ostern blocked the renewal of Fairpoint’s multi-million dollar contract with the State of New Hampshire and refused to renew it until the strike was settled.

UNH Staff Begins Organizing Effort with NEA-NH

NEA - NH LogoCONCORD, NH, June 9, 2016: NEA-New Hampshire announced today that the University of New Hampshire Professional, Administrative, and Technical staff and Operating Staff are now in the process of organizing with NEA-NH under the guidelines of RSA 273-A.

7_unhlogo_web_hrEarlier this year, the staff at Keene State College voted to organize with NEA-NH into three associations; Keene State College Administrative Staff Association (KSCASA), Keene State College Staff Association (KSCSA), and the Keene State College Directors and Supervisors Association (KSCDSA).

“When employees organize to exercise their legal right to collectively bargain, they see better job security, working conditions, benefits, and increased democracy in the workplace as compared to non-organized employees in the same profession,” said Scott McGilvray, President of NEA-New Hampshire.  “We are excited and honored to have this opportunity to work with the hard-working and dedicated staff of this great university.”

“Organizing into a professional association gives us a voice. It guarantees we have a seat at the table as decisions that have a direct impact on the University campus we love so dearly are made.  It gives us the ability to stand up for the dignity of our colleagues and sustain the caring community we have at UNH,” said Monique Couillard, former UNH Operating Staff Council Chair.

“Our counterparts at Keene State College recently completed their organizing efforts, and we hope to obtain the same protections, representation and benefits that come from collective bargaining as they now enjoy,” continued Couillard.

For more than 150 years, NEA-NH has been a strong advocate for the children of New Hampshire and for public school employees.

“The fundamental questions are these:  Do we want an equal voice at UNH? Do we want a seat as equals at the decision-making table? Organizing would provide us that legally protected seat.  Our belief is that being organized will help to protect and improve the strength and integrity of our campus community,” said Penny Gould, Sr. Program Support Assistant and OS Council member. “I want to help give a voice to choice on our campus, and am looking forward to learning as much as I can about how a relationship with NEA-NH will benefit the UNH staff.”

Public School Champion, Carol Shea-Porter, Receives Endorsement From NEA-NH

Today, NEA-New Hampshire announced their recommendation of Carol Shea-Porter for the 1st Congressional District race.

Rochester, NH—NEA-NH, the largest public employee union in New Hampshire, representing 17,000 educators, has endorsed Carol Shea-Porter for re-election to Congress in New Hampshire’s First District.

“We’re supporting Shea-Porter because she is a tireless defender of public education,” said Scott McGilvray, NEA-New Hampshire President. 

“What matters now is that we elect leaders who will stand up for students, educators and working families. We need leaders who will support public education and public school students,” continued McGilvray. “We must elect leaders like Shea-Porter who share our vision for the future and who will help protect our right as working Americans to have a voice in our workplace. 

During her last term in office (2013-14), Shea-Porter advocated for the passage of the Strong Start for America’s Children Act and denounced the GOP budget cuts to the federal Head Start program.  

In 2013, Shea-Porter co-sponsored the REPAY Supplies Act,” that provides tax deductions to teacher who purchase supplies for their classrooms. The Classroom Expense Deduction allows teachers who pay out of their own pockets for classroom supplies like books, software, and rulers, to claim a $250 above-the-line deduction on their tax returns. The bipartisan Reimburse Educators who Pay for Academic Year (REPAY) Supplies Act of 2013 would have permanently extend the Classroom Expense Deduction. 

In 2014, Shea-Porter was recognized for her work advocating to children by the Campaign for Children, naming her a “2014 defender of children.

Every child in New Hampshire, from a Head Start toddler to a graduating high school senior, deserves a first-class education. In New Hampshire’s first district, we need a leader who will fight for public education. It is a top priority that we work together to support our teachers and students. That is why I am proud to have again earned the endorsement of NEA-New Hampshire,” said Shea-Porter.

NEA-NH Makes A Powerful Recommendation In District 2 Executive Council Race

NEA - NH Logo(CONCORD, NH) New Hampshire’s largest public employee union, the National Education Association of New Hampshire, just threw their weight behind Andru Volinsky in his campaign to for Executive Council.  

Founded in 1854, NEA-NH has grown to represent over 17,000 public employees throughout the state with one mission: “to advocate for the children of New Hampshire and public school employees, and to promote lifelong learning.”

NEA-New Hampshire’s President Scott McGilvary announced NEA-NH’s recommendation of Andru Volinsky in his run for the New Hampshire Executive Council in District Two, which includes Rochester, Dover, Concord, Keene, and a number of other New Hampshire communities.  

“Andru Volinsky has been supporting teachers and the interests of public education since the days of the Claremont School Funding Suit.  We are proud to stand with him in his race for the Executive Council,” said McGilvray

Volinsky was one of the three lawyers who represented the Claremont School District in their fight against the State for adequate school funding.  The Claremont decision forced the State to reevaluate how they disperse state funds to local schools and increased the stated contributions by over 8%.

WMUR reports that “[Volinsky] is currently representing the City of Dover in its lawsuit against the state contending that the cap on state adequacy money to school districts violates the state constitution.”

Mr. Volinsky, upon learning of the recommendation, said, “There are few greater honors than to be recognized by an organization you respect as much as I respect the NEA.  I shall cherish this recommendation.”

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 12,495 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement