No Contract for 2 Years Shows 'Disrespect,' Teacher Says

Led by union president, teachers in blue shirts stood in solidarity Thursday before the Board of Education.

A group of Parsippany teachers—frustrated over working for two years without a contract—took a stand at Thursday night's Board of Education meeting.

As Parsippany-Troy Hills Education Association President Judy Mayer spoke to the school board during the meeting's public comment section, about 30 union members, all wearing blue PTHEA T-shirts, rose to their feet.

"We are here tonight to show our dedication and our love for our jobs," she said. "We come every day and give it our all. Because of the work of teachers and the administration of this district, these children have accomplished much. 

"We take pride in our jobs ... and [we've done] it without a contract, for two years."

Parsippany Hills High School history teacher Sam Varsano followed Mayer to the microphone.

Speaking for no one but himself, he said, Varsano asserted that teachers work very hard to give students a quality education. He said he is confused as to why teachers are in year three of negotiations with no pact struck with the administration.

"I hear about the accomplishments of our high schools ... and our students, but even that's not enough to give us the dignity of a contract," Varsano said, adding that teachers are often demonized by the public. "I hear what people say. I sounds like they're saying we're overpaid, selfish and lazy. I've run two different businesses, I've met a payroll each week. I've never worked as hard as I've had to work to be a successful teacher. I don't know where the idea comes from that this group is not deserving.

"My conclusion is that the feelings I get [from the board] is a lack of initiative for us to get an appropriate and fair settlement [include] disappointment, discouragement and the beginning of a feeling of disrespect."

Despite the difficulties, Mayer said teachers still turn up each day and guide students toward excellence.

"Teachers do what they need to do," she said. "They are a devoted group of teachers."

The union president said teachers are a huge reason for recent district achievements including rising student standardized test scores, the growing number of students earning the "advanced proficient" designation and the inclusion of both district high schools among NJ Monthly's ranking of the state's top 100 high schools.

"The results speak for themselves," she said.

The end to the contract stalemate could be forthcoming, Mayer said.

"We have mediation sessions scheduled for this month," she said. "Hopefully we will come to an agreement."

April October 23, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Steve, You're a good person with a good heart. Try not to be so angry and move on with your life. You've graduated and no longer need to deal with that teacher. I know you had a lot of wonderful teachers at PHHS that truly cared about you. You may not realize this, but they did more for you than you'll ever know. Take a step back, brush yourself off, and move on my friend.
steve revette October 23, 2012 at 02:53 AM
L, You're right I am a good person with a good heart. Also if you new the effects of everything that happened you may change your opinion. While I don't have to deal with the teacher personally I do have to deal with my friends and the kids I grew up with many whom I've known for years who look at me quite differently now. You seem like you know me personally though L. Are you a former teacher of mine or just a friend? You don't have to answer on the form you can send me a message.
VietNam Vet November 16, 2012 at 07:38 AM
These teachers still complaining about more money and respect, well they haven't learned yet that if you want respect, you must first give it. So cry me a river!!!
steve revette November 20, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Vet some of these people do not know the meaning of the word respect while others are go above and beyond the meaning of respect. Irony is that I was in special education for English all the way up until my 18th Birthday and ,saying I HATED IT is a huge understatement, The Two teachers who I feel showed me the most respect were my 9th grade special Education English Teacher and the very teacher in this article Who told me that I was a good student regardless and that end of the day nobody cares whether or not you were in special ed.
steve revette December 06, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Hey Liz I reread your comments about celebrating. Maybe you can educate some of the Teachers about what you should celebrate because I can name a couple who obviously are clueless about what you and do celebratet. I agree with you we should celebrate progress and the good things people do. But make sure you remind your co workers that you're celebrating the kids progress and not celebrating something else. Also I hope that if you're celebrating with your students you give them ALL the opportunity to attend.


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