United Teachers of Wichita

Wichita teachers union president on video

Wichita teachers union president on video

The president of United Teachers of Wichita has been caught on video expressing thoughts that can't be comforting to Wichita parents with children in the state's largest school district. Project Veritas reports on the candid thoughts of Steve Wentz in the story Teachers Union President Admits To Abusing Children. Based on past Wichita School District investigations, Wentz likely faces a lengthy stretch of paid administrative leave while the district decides what to do. Not long ago the district paid its school safety services supervisor for 15 months while he was charged with aggravated criminal sodomy, aggravated indecent liberties with a…
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Kansas teachers union opposes bill that empowers teachers

Kansas teachers union opposes bill that empowers teachers

Kansas National Education Association, the state's teachers union, opposes a bill that empowers teachers. A bill in the Kansas Senate would give teachers an ongoing voice in determining who represents them in their relationship with their employer. The bill is SB 469, titled "Recertification of professional employees' organizations under the professional negotiations act." It would require that the Kansas Department of Labor hold an election each year in each school district regarding whether the current representation should continue. These elections, in effect, would be referendums on the teachers union, by the teachers. (Update: The bill has been revised to call…
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In Kansas, teachers unions should stand for retention

In Kansas, teachers unions should stand for retention

A bill requiring teachers unions to stand for retention elections each year would be good for teachers, students, and taxpayers. The bill is SB 469, titled "Recertification of professional employees' organizations under the professional negotiations act." It would require that the Kansas Department of Labor hold an election each year in each school district regarding whether the current representation should continue. These elections, in effect, would be referendums on the teachers union, by the teachers. (Update: The bill has been revised to call for elections every third year.) That's a good thing. The teachers union monopoly ought to stand for…
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Wichita teacher salaries compared

Wichita teacher salaries compared

If Wichita public school teachers seem to be unhappy with their pay, there's a reason why. The following charts show the average salaries for three classes of employees as well as the change over time. The increase in principal salaries is three times that of teacher salaries. Citizens may want to keep this in mind when the district says that it is doing everything it can to direct resources into the classroom. Teachers may want to question why they pay dues to United Teachers of Wichita -- their union -- when they don't get better representation than this. To access…
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Wichita teacher contract: For union members only?

In a pitch to increase membership, United Teachers of Wichita promotes an exclusive benefit: "Only UTW members receive a copy of the Teachers Employment Agreement (contract)." I don't know why the Wichita teachers union would promote the contract as an exclusive benefit. It is a public document. You may read it here.
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Teachers union members to be proud of

Critics of public schools usually explain that they're not faulting individual teachers. Instead, they target their criticism at the teachers union, bureaucratic school administration, or "the system" in general. So when we observe the actions of teachers, we're correct to wonder if they're acting as citizens, or as teachers representing their school districts, or as union members, or in some other role. This issue is important when we take notice of the actions of teachers at a recent meeting of the South-Central Kansas Legislative Delegation in Wichita. Here's a message tweeted during that meeting from Judy Loganbill, a Wichita school…
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Wichita teacher labor kerfuffle illustrates the problem

A dispute over teacher working conditions in USD 259, the Wichita public school district, provides a window into the workings of the public school system and its problems. There is a way out, but it's not happening in Kansas. Public school teachers want to be recognized by the public as professionals. But when Wichita school district management seeks to actually manage teachers, the union intervenes, and change must be negotiated. The issue, according to Wichita Eagle reporting, is that the school district "wants to start requiring teachers to write detailed lesson plans, file grades online every week and contact each…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday February 14, 2011

KRA guide to elected officials. The Kansas Republican Assembly has created a guide to Kansas elected officials. Besides contact information, it also holds things like committee membership for legislators. The links to the information are on the right side of KRA's home page. Wichita Eagle voter guide. Click here. You can get a list of the candidates, along with their responses to questions, customized for your address. Campaign signs. The placement of political campaign signs can be an issue. Here is a City of Wichita letter describing placement rules, and a diagram. ... If you live in a neighborhood with…
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Kansas legislative forums should be for citizens

This week's meeting of the South-Central Kansas Legislative Delegation with citizens featured a number of speakers who -- while citizens, of course -- are working for taxpayer-funded agencies. Many of these also have a strong lobbying presence in Topeka. The large-scale presence of these speakers at this meeting was a matter of concern for one legislator who contacted me, suggesting that so many taxpayer-funded speakers crowded out regular citizens, which is who these meetings are designed for. Government agencies have their own meeting with legislators each year at this time in Wichita. Furthermore, many government agencies like USD 259, the…
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Wichita teachers union uses meeting for advocacy, campaigning

Two weeks ago, while the Kansas Legislature was working on budget and tax issues, Larry Landwehr, president of United Teachers of Wichita, the union for Wichita public school teachers, addressed the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district. Landwehr referred to "difficult decisions" the board had to make in the past few months, presumably due to budget cuts the district believed it needed to make. His remarks were based on a false premise, however. Many of these cuts were not necessary, as school districts have money to spend, if they want. During the present school year, according to…
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Wichita school board discusses job reductions, incentives

At yesterday's meeting of the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, members heard descriptions of district policy on how a reduction in force -- layoffs, in other words -- world be accomplished if the district decides to use this method of reconciling its budget. Several speakers, including superintendent John Allison, remarked how unfortunate it was that on a night the district recognized excellence in teaching, it also discussed methods of reducing the number of teachers. Board member Betty Arnold, now a candidate for the Sedgwick County Commission, said she was troubled by the possibility of laying off…
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In Wichita, public school teacher working conditions are an issue

Larry Landwehr, president of United Teachers of Wichita, the union for Wichita public school teachers, recently addressed the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district, regarding teacher morale and working conditions. Now that the district and the teachers union have reached an agreement on a contract, Landwehr said it's time to look at other issues, those not part of the contract negotiations. Employee morale, he said, is a major concern today. Specific factors he cited were "current economic conditions that teachers face, the long negotiations, the increased paperwork and workload placed upon educators over the past few years,…
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