INTERVIEW: Chesterfield teachers stop working extra hours

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -  The dramatic cuts to school budgets across Virginia has caused more than a little strife among administrators, students, parents and teachers.

Some teaching associations have taken to a practice called "teaching to the contract" where they only do what is exactly required of them by their employment contract.

Frank Cardella, the president of the Chesterfield Education Association, joined First at Four to discuss this phenomenon.

Ryan: What is "teaching to the contract" and is it happening in Chesterfield?

Cardella: It is happening. It's happening in four Chesterfield high schools, Cosby, Manchester, Monacan and Meadowbrook high schools. People really won't see a tremendous difference in what their expectations are. Teachers are still working with students, still planning lessons, still assessing and still taking work home. What they're not doing is spending extra hours in the building beyond their contract time.

Ryan: What do you hope comes of this?

Cardella: It's not so much a policy. It's really a practice. It came out of a large scale meeting that members of the chesterfield education association had last month. Several hundred members got together, and they were frustrated at the budget situation, and they wanted to show some kind of response. And it's really a twofold response. There is a show of solid date -- sold date of the people that are going to lose their jobs next year.

Ryan: I asked Governor McDonnell, who made the decision to roll back school funding about teaching to the contract and this was his reaction:

"I would leave it up to the local school boards and boards of supervisors they know how to manage their people well, and if those certain people have a reaction that they are going to do the very bare minimum, to get buy, I don't think that is acceptable." - Gov. Bob McDonnell

Cardella: I would leave it up to the local board, supervisors and school boards. They know how to manage their people well. If those certain people have a reaction that they're going to do the very minimum to get by, I don't think that's acceptable.

Ryan: McDonnell said that's not acceptable. He said government employees in all sectors are being forced to do more with less. How would you respond to that?

Cardella: First, I think he has mischaracterized it. It's not that teachers are doing the bare minimum. They're still taking work home with them every day. What they're not doing is doing it onsite. And so their contract at the high school level, 7:10 to 2:45. There is still tutoring going on, club meetings, sponsorships. It's just that they are going home to their own families at 2:25.

Ryan: Do you think the students are getting any less quality education as a result of this?

Cardella: No. I don't think so. In fact, you'll see many of the students cheering the teachers on.

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