Prince William County Teacher Work to the Rule
Teachers walked out of Forest Park High School as a group to the sound of applause at 2:18 p.m. Monday.
As the teachers made their ways to the faculty parking lot, students stood outside the school and showed support for their educators.
Teachers at Forest Park, Battlefield and Patriot High Schools, as well as Potomac Middle, started a “Work to Rule” campaign Monday in response to the recent school budget proposal.
Superintendent Steven L. Walts’ proposed budget does not include a step increase for any schools employees for a third year in a row. There are no plans for staff or program reductions, either.
The budget, which was discussed at two recent School Board meetings, also indicates that there are no plans for raises until 2016 at the earliest.
On Monday, teachers entered their respective schools as a group at the same time — 7:15 a.m. at the high schools — and left schools when their contract hours ended at 2:15 p.m.
A crowd of about 30 teachers walked out the front door of Forest Park to their cars shortly after that scheduled time, many of them wearing “Work to Rule” pins.
Nicholas Watkins, an English teacher for 10th and 11th grades at Forest Park, said around double that number walked in together in the morning.
“There were 50 to 60 teachers,” he said, wearing a “Work to Rule” badge.
Teachers and staff members who receive stipends or other compensation for coaching athletic teams or other like commitments remained at the school as required. Watkins said that contributed to a lower turnout at the end of the day.
This is the third year that teachers in Prince Willliam County have not had a step increase. This year they will not get a raise and it is predicted that there will be no raise through 2016. This is absurd. In the same newspaper was an article saying Prince William County was the 9th wealthiest county in the United States. 9th wealthiest? Pay your teachers and pay them well. They also have the largest class sizes in the state of Virginia, on average.
Couple all this with the fact that Virginia teachers and principals no longer be offered continuing contracts if they change jurisdictions and they will no longer have the VRS pension at the amount retirees now have. Why on earth would they want to stay in education. You can love your job, love kids, love helping kids learn, but at what point will the many dedicated teachers in Prince William County throw up their hands and just say ENOUGH?
What is ‘work to the rule?’ Work to the rule simply means teachers will only do the job as required by their contract. There will be no extras. They arrive at the designated time. They teach their lessons. They plan, grade, during the school day. They do not stay after school to help kids on their own time and they don’t take their crates full of papers home with them to grade. They use supplies provided by the school and buy nothing out of their own pockets. Working to the rule is difficult. Teachers plan lessons that are easy to grade and adjust their teaching styles to accommodate their new schedules. Work to the rule could go on for the rest of the year. It isn’t a one day event.
Yes, it perfectly legal. What do they hope to accomplish? They hope to educate the public, and perhaps public officials, about how much extra a teacher really does that is above and beyond what they are really paid for.
Several teachers and the PWEA Executive Director spoke today during citizens time at the BOCS. They implored the supervisors to consider education when they set the tax rate. Again, the 9th richest county in the United States should pay its teachers decently and have lower class sized. To do otherwise is simply unacceptable.
Prince William Teachers–May the force be with you!
Additional information: Washington Post