I just read Jake Griffin's article on June 5 regarding teachers attending union conferences and residents footing the bill. Teacher unions are a fact of life here in Illinois, so many people do not even pay attention to their questionable actions anymore, assuming, I suppose, that nothing can be done. The fact that we pay the salaries of the teachers while they are attending these conferences and we pay substitute costs is bad enough. The fact that these conferences are held during the school year is the subject of this letter.
What a slap in the face to the students and the parents of our community. Could it be any more obvious that the unions do not put students first? Our school year is short enough. Given the number of breaks, holidays and days devoted to testing, each day of actual learning is critical. To take days away from students' education to attend a union conference is really difficult for me to wrap my head around. The students still wake up, get ready, and go to school those days, but their teachers are not there, so how much learning really occurs?
Why can't these conferences be held during the summer when students would not be affected? The article stated that doing so would conflict with the national convention. Seriously? With about 10 weeks of time off in the summer, I find it very hard to believe both could not be held during that time. If these conferences were a need, rather than a want, the attendees would find the time during the summer.