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Re Teachers Contract:
"Mutual Respect Delivers a Product Effectively'

At a recent school board meeting, July 21, I spoke of a report made by department chairpersons of Schreiber and Weber at the end-of-year meeting with Dr. Sheldon Karnilow. I mentioned that I, an insider and seasoned professional, was truly impressed by the student achievement that was reported at the meeting. I made mention that these accomplishments had occurred during the watch of the aforementioned chairs, most of whom are professionals whose careers have spanned, on average, 20 years in Port Washington.

What I didn't say and must point out, is that the impressive product was delivered under the system that currently exists, time-wise (hours and days worked) and ethos-wise (a culture of collegiality between teachers and administrators). If the product is excellent, and this was agreed upon by Mr. Scheer, and if the product was delivered within the present system at a reasonable cost to the taxpayer, what is the problem?

Are there individual political, professional or personal goals and needs that are interfering with the negotiating process? Is there a desire to bring people to their knees? As well intentioned as these aspirations might be, this position is neither figuratively nor literally conducive to delivering a product efficiently. On the contrary, an interrelatedness stemming from mutual respect is what delivers a product effectively. It is the elusive, intangible elements that make up an organizational culture that produce a functional rather than a dysfunctional organization.

There must be a re-commitment by the board of education, the administration and the teachers to interrelatedness, to the organizational culture that has worked in Port Washington for years and has proven itself again and again where it really matters, i.e., in delivering an excellent educational product to the children of Port Washington.

Dr. Jacqueline Bendick

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