For decades, seriously ill teachers in California have been forced to pay the salaries of their deputy teachers during extended leave. But this week, the outrage over the law has been so loud that the state legislature could just as well say goodbye to it yesterday.
How many terrible stories came to light with a GoFundMe page.
Parents in the San Francisco Unified School District launched a fundraiser for a second-grade teacher on April 25, when she discovered she was not only fighting breast cancer but had to pay for her own replacement as well. The San Francisco Chronicle first reported Tuesday on the teacher's predicament and the fund-raising that shocked the local community and led to a nationwide review of the law.
"Parents were outraged and disbelieving – so can not be," said Amanda Fried, parent of a kindergarten and a third grader, Chronicle. "It must be a mistake."
But Eric Heins, president of the California Teachers Association, told the Washington Post that this has been the norm for sick teachers for years – symptomatic of a bigger problem in California and beyond inadequate education systems who end up burdening individual teachers even in their most critical time. He pointed to recent strikes in Colorado and Oklahoma where teachers protested low wages and high health costs.
What happened to this teacher in San Francisco is just one example of the pressure that so many educators are exposed to.
"What it really is is a reflection of how much the system has been in financial trouble for so long," said Heins. "It is outrageous when you think of someone who suffers from a catastrophic disease, that he actually has to deal with such problems while he is already being confronted with additional financial pressure."
Parents, teachers and others in San Francisco collected more than $ 13,700 to help cover the teacher's medical bills and pay for their replacement teacher. (The post office does not name the cancer-stricken teacher because she has requested anonymity for privacy reasons.)
San Francisco Unified School District spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how much of the teacher's salary is deducted daily. According to the collective agreement between the district and the union, the daily costs of a substitute teacher are between 174 and 240 US dollars.
"It nurtured our children and now is the time to look after them" The organizers of the fundraiser wrote on the GoFundMe page:
Heins said that the law that school districts pay the fees have to deduct the teachers' salaries while they have paid sick leave, passed in the 70s. Teachers in California do not pay for the state's disability program and therefore can not benefit from it, he said. However, the rules for extended sick leave vary depending on the school district.
In San Francisco, teachers receive 10 sick days per year under the collective agreement. If they have used up their sick days, including the days that have accumulated in recent years, they will have up to 100 days longer sick leave. Teacher salaries are deducted to pay for the participant's paycheck during that time. When the 100 days have passed, teachers will remain unpaid, unless they are members of the disastrous sickbay, where teachers donate sick days to other people who need them.
The same kind of sickness funds has been widely used by other states. In Alabama, for example, teachers teamed up last month to donate their sick days to a high school social science teacher after his wife asked him to. Her little daughter was fighting cancer, and Teacher, David Green, had no more sick days and could not be in the hospital with her.
Pity for our colleagues, "said Heins. "That's why we are making the catastrophic health insurance bank. We try to take care of ourselves. "
In California, the law that obliges sick teachers to pay their child support payments was news even to some lawmakers.
Senator Connie Leyva, a Democrat and Chairwoman of the California Senate The Education Committee told the NBC Bay Area that she and other lawmakers are reviewing the rule now.
"I think times have changed, and now it's up to us to change over time."
The organizers of GoFundMe described the teacher as a "true professional" whose "dedication and love Just a few days after her operation, she said, she wrote 22 personalized notes to all students in her class to thank them for their support. "They said she missed her a lot and encouraged her to keep working hard." [19659020"Ourschooldrawstogethertohelpthemandtomakethemfeelthattheyarenotalone"saidNarcisoFlores-DiazeaparentofNBCBayArea
The donation organizers brought in a dozen messages from the teacher. Donations flowed in and thanked the families. The fundraiser has since stopped accepting donations after exceeding its $ 10,000 goal.
"My family and I are really grateful for this gift," said the second-grade teacher. "My heart is lifted and it gives me so much strength to know that so many people look after me and my family."