Collective bargaining in Iowa encourages good teachers to stay

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For 27 years I have poured my soul into what I do as a teacher for a living. I have given 100 percent of myself to my kids and their families to make sure that their kids have the best education possible, and the services that they need to be successful. In some cases that also meant food to eat and clothes to wear. I have help families find a place to live after fire burned their homes down, I have helped them fill their home with furniture and beds to sleep on. I have helped families get the help they needed to escape domestic abuse, get mental health services, and health care. I have attended graduations, I have sat with my students at the funerals of their parents, and with the parents at the funerals of their children, my students, I have held my grown students babies, and attended their weddings.

I know my co-workers have done those same things because we aren’t just teachers, we care about our kids, our families, and our communities.

Now, Iowa politicians want revenge on us for fighting for our kid’s futures- they are willing to destroy public schools to allow for profit charter schools to use public funding-your taxes. They have undercut-and underfunded the schools for years while vilifying teachers for the demise of education.

This scenario has played out all over the country and they cover up the fact that these schools do not perform better, they do not teach all students, they do not have accountability or oversight, they have teacher shortages, and huge teacher turnover. They are a way to segregate the rich from the poor. They don’t attract the best educators due to poor working conditions, and many aren’t even certified.

Collective bargaining is the reason why so many teachers have stayed in the profession as long as they have. It is the reason why we have a lunch, why we have a preparation period, why we have professional development to hone our skills, why we have music, art, and PE and other enrichment classes for students to take to engage in their learning and generalize those core skills taught in the classrooms.

This bill allowed staffs and administrations along with school board officials to communicate and work in the best interest of the schools, the students. It prevented strikes that were necessary to maintain safe working and learning environments, and attract-encourage the best teachers to stay and to come to work for the schools.

This reform has no cost saving, it does not give more local control, and nothing in this bill will attract the quality educators Iowan expect

If you have had a teacher that has made a difference in your life, please call your senators and state representatives in DesMoines and tell them to vote no to collective bargaining reform.

• Molly Donahue is a graduate of Cedar Rapids Washington High School and has degrees from Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. She also holds a certification in secondary school administration. Molly has been an employee in the Cedar Rapids Community Schools for 27 years working in a variety of buildings as a behavior disabilities teacher and with at-risk youth in a facilitator position providing programming to decrease school drop out rates. Molly is currently a behavior disorders program teacher at Washington High School.

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