As I read Glendale Unified School District board member Chuck Sambar’s commentary “Better days ahead for union, board” (Community Commentary, Feb. 16), I came across the word “respect” used more than once, which brings me to a few points I would like to address.

In the article, Sambar pointed out that through all the extensive cuts in administrative or support staff in the last few years, no reduction of positions involved classroom teachers. He didn’t point out that through all those years, the Glendale Unified School District had more than 200 temporary teachers.

Showing respect to highly qualified teachers would suggest that teachers should be classified correctly in accordance with the law rather than letting them wonder how, when or if they will ever become permanent employees. Respect for these teachers doesn’t wait until the teachers association actively pursues what is contractually fair for its members.

Respectful relationships are built on good faith and cooperation.

Recently, the Glendale Teachers Assn. made a sincere offer of a 0% salary increase over the next three years in an attempt to help in this tough economic time. This offer was rejected by the Glendale Unified School District.

Collaborating with the teachers union about many issues like this, along with the teacher evaluation process, student assessment procedures/practices or proposed new programs, shows respect for the teachers who facilitate the educational process. Holding in esteem the knowledge and expertise of classroom teachers by allowing their participation in these decisions creates an environment that well serves our students.

Respect is demonstrated by regarding our elected teacher association leadership, who serve as the voice of the union membership, with the dignity and respect they deserve. The union leadership consists of people of class and character who walk into classrooms every day, just like I do. Their job for the teacher association is, indeed, to protect the collective bargaining agreement for the teachers of the Glendale Unified School District. They should be esteemed.

Last, I found no correlation between the state’s economy and the relationship between the Glendale Teachers Assn. and the board, since these issues faced us long before the state budget issues became evident.

Sambar stated that his wish for the board and the union leaders is to “revert again to focus on our common mission to provide a quality education for our students.” On the contrary, there is not a teacher among us who has lost the ability to focus on the students we teach. Our focus is as constant as our dedication to our profession.

Please, Sambar, let’s not wait until right before the school board election to express a desire for collaboration when the union has requested doing that all along.

 SARA G. HARMS is a Castaic resident and a teacher at Crescenta Valley High School.

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