Meet the Hungerford family
The corporate approach to school "reform" has reduced teachers to another line item to be slashed in the drive to balance the budget, explains.
May 31, 2012
There's a common denominator among the recent strikes by teachers' unions in Oregon, but before I continue, it's worth noting that I learned the term "common denominator" in a public school classroom that did not have 40 desks crammed into a space that was built to hold only 25.
Plus, it's worth getting some use out of the term before corporate-funded textbooks decide it's no longer needed in our global economy.
To connect many of the strike dots in Oregon, we need only to follow the Willamette River 13 miles south, from Portland to Oregon City. Known as "the end of the Oregon Trail," Oregon City is the destination of many school field trips. This makes it all the more ironic that it's also the home of the Hungerford Law Firm.
Nancy Hungerford, the matriarch of this family firm, has, along with daughter Andrea and son Brian, provided legal counsel to various school districts around the state, including three of the districts that recently faced strikes by teachers' unions.
At the 2009 winter conference of the Confederation of School Administrators, Nancy Hungerford offered an ominous presentation to administrators and potential clients. In a 12-page paper entitled "School district options in time of financial crisis," Hungerford outlined a number of initiatives by now all too familiar to teachers throughout the state and across the country:
-- Cut hours of current employeesPerhaps the most telling section of the document comes at the end with what Hungerford considers to be the guiding question for all of her recommendations. Since school districts don't exist without schools, and schools don't exist without teachers or students, it seems reasonable to think that this question would be something along the lines of: "How will these recommendations impact the ability of teachers to help students reach their full potential?" No such luck.
-- Bargain collective bargaining agreements with little or no increase in salary and insurance contributions
-- Lay off staff
-- Contract out services currently provided by district employees
-- Change staffing schedules so that guaranteed minutes of prep time are placed outside the student day
.........READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE ON THE SOCIALIST WORKER.