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Monday, March 06, 2006

Has The Lawrence Teachers Association Gone Mad?

Dr. Asher Mansdorf is a well-known local dentist with a busy practice. So why in the world is the Lawrence Teachers Association picketing outside his office? Are they demanding better dental benefits?


(caption on yellow sign in above photo: Dr. Mansdorf, Don't destroy our Public Schools!)



(caption on yellow sign in above photo: Dr. Mansdorf, you're responsible for All children!)

No. These teachers are picketing in front of Dr. Mansdorf's office because he is a member of the Lawrence School Board. Now, anyone who has been reading this blog for a while probably remembers the unfortunate battle that has been going on in the Lawrence public school system (background and previous posts here). And this is not the first time that the Lawrence teachers have picketed in a manner that I found reprehensible. Just a few months ago, they protested outside a Yeshiva during class hours, distracting the students and disrupting their learning for the day (post here). But this is too much. Interfering with the livelihood of a man who has committed much of his free time to public service - a post into which he was elected by a very comfortable margin in a vote that included the entire community - really is way over the line. Did the LTA protest at all of the board members' (read: non-private school) places of business? I will believe it when I see it.

Another point which I need to address is the inflammatory language on the protestors' signs :
Dr. Mansdorf, Don't destroy our Public Schools!

and
Dr. Mansdorf, you're responsible for ALL children!


I have been following this feud for a long time. And one constant that seems to exist is the fingerpointing that is always going on as to which "side" (Public school or private school) is more actively creating the bad blood here. Well. I don't think it takes a genius to figure that one out when looking at these pictures. To target a School Board member solely because he is a member of the private school community, with loaded statements printed on signs that imply that somehow he is giving short shrift to the community he is not a member of, and to do so at his place of work is clearly a tactic that is meant to inflame already raw tempers. I am well aware that as Americans, we have the right to protest. But where is the line here? Are they entitled to protest outside the school board members' homes? Their kids' hockey practice? The inalienable right to protest does not take away the obligation these teachers have to act responsibly.

I can just imagine the fire the Orthodox community would draw if they resorted to similar tactics. What would happen if Orthodox parents decided to picket in front of the Lawrence public schools with similarly provocatively worded signs? Ha. I can only envision the tempest that would create.

Update: Here is the flyer distributed by the teachers' association at the protest, which selectively quotes no less an authority than the Times' columnist the Ethicist as support (here is the actual column). Next week the LTA should ask him about the ethics of interfering with the livelihood of an unpaid public servant.

79 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who took these great photos? Was it OrthoMom, roving reporter?

This is really over the top. You are right on with this. Especially since I attend many meetings, and Asher Mansdorf has been a very moderate and respectful voice on the school board.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Excellent post, and excellent question. Aren't there laws protecting people's private practices? Does it matter that it's a public building? I have no clue, but I'd be really curious.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>Dr. Mansdorf, you're responsible for ALL children!

For 25, 30 years they didn't give a damn about the district children in yeshivas.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous PS Parent said...

"which quotes no less an authority than the Times' columnist the Ethicist as support. "

Actually, this is the text of the ethicist column, which far from makes their case:
The president of our local board of education sends her children to the public elementary schools, but when they get to high school, she moves them to private schools. Isn't it her ethical obligation either to send her children to the schools she sets policy for and espouses as so wonderful or to step down from the board? JoAnne Manse, Rutherford, N.J.


It is not. It is the obligation of board members to strive mightily to make the public schools so good that even parents with the means to opt out choose to remain. If the public schools are not yet that good, the president may honorably send her kids elsewhere — indeed, her duty as a parent compels her to. Even where a public school is excellent, parents may seek programs it does not offer — religious instruction, for example.

Enrolling her own kids at a school she administers can give a board member intimate daily insight into how her policies are working out, a real advantage in doing her job. Yet voters must select board members not on the basis of where they send their kids, but on how well they manage the schools. And remember: some excellent educators have no kids at all.

Ultimately, a board member can home-school her kids for all I care (as long as she doesn't do it in my home); if she is savvy, dedicated and effective, she gets my vote.


To me, the ethicist is saying that Dr. Mansdorf is a perfectly suitable candidate. I wonder what the ethicist would say about the LTA doing something as disgusting as this! (And I am a public school parent - albeit not from Lawrence)

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great blogging OM

8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Are they entitled to protest outside the school board members' homes?"

Yes, and they have, several times already. (I believe.)

10:08 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Yes, and they have, several times already.

Sigh. Read the post. I clearly said "I am well aware that as Americans, we have the right to protest". I know they are probably legally entitled to protest outside these board members' private homes. But I question whether teachers, who are supposed to be role models for our kids, are expected to act in a more responsible manner than trying to harm the livelihood and family life of a board member. And I feel that they are. I am not aware of any case of picketing that took place outside a board member's residence. I would be very interested to hear any information regarding such actions, however.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous abc123 said...

Hi, OM. It's been a long time since I've posted, and I'll keep this one brief. I, too, remember that article from the NYT magazine awhile back. I also agree that Dr. Mansdorf has every right to his democratically elected position, and the Ethicist clearly supports this right. However, I was struck by one part in particular. "It is the obligation of board members to strive mightily to make the public schools so good that even parents with the means to opt out choose to remain. If the public schools are not yet that good, the president may honorably send her kids elsewhere — indeed, her duty as a parent compels her to. Even where a public school is excellent, parents may seek programs it does not offer — religious instruction, for example."
So, here is my question. Is Dr. Mansdorf fulfilling his obligation "to strive mightily to make the public schools so good that even parents with the means to opt out choose to remain." (Meaning parents that take their kids out of Lawrence and place them in non religious private schools, such as Lawrence-Woodmere Academy.) In other words, is he fulfilling his obligation to make the public schools the best that they can be?

10:27 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Orthomom, I am finally starting to understand the controversy in Lawrence much more vividly now. Pictures are quite a powerful medium. Hope you will continue to be a roving reporter.

Good night :).

10:31 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

In other words, is he fulfilling his obligation to make the public schools the best that they can be?

Give me specific examples that show that he is not. I recall him unequivocally supporting the budget in the last election. How quickly one forgets...

10:32 PM  
Anonymous abc123 said...

"Give me specific examples that show that he is not."
Good point. If I dig something up, I'll send it your way. So, does this mean that you agree that it is the obligation of board members to make the public schools the best that they can be? Also, I must say that supporting a budget is not the same as supporting the public schools. After all, board members should support a budget they have created themselves!

10:43 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

Why are we all assuming that the Ethicist is correct as a legal or ethical matter? The school board is holding tax funds in trust on behalf of all district school children-- public or private. This is because private school children have a right under a range of state and federal laws to these funds. Can a school board member take actions that may marginally improve the public school system but would have detrimental effect on private school students access to special ed services? I don't think so.

10:43 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Good point. If I dig something up, I'll send it your way. So, does this mean that you agree that it is the obligation of board members to make the public schools the best that they can be?

Yes. But the "best that they can be" does not mean making collateral damage out of private school students. The "best that can be" must mean the "best they can be" while still meeting the needs of all stakeholders - including taxpayers without children and non-public school families. Saying that our job is to make the public schools "the best they can be" with no limitations is absurd. Why not put 90% of the village's operating costs towards its public schools. I mean, hell, what sanitation and sewage in the face of "making the public the schools the best they can be"? I think you might see my point here. (And Krum's. Thanks, Krum.)

Also, I must say that supporting a budget is not the same as supporting the public schools.

Then what does supporting the schools mean?? What makes him NOT support the public schools? The fact that he wears a yarmulka? The fact that he is a private school parent? Please, concrete examples here. I think the flyer that LTA gave out requires some explaining as to why the public school community feels he has not been supportive. Otherwise, the admission here is that this picketing was simply a malicious targeting of an Orthodox board member. And that is reprehensible.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo OM!
(applause)

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its time to picket in front of the homes of the union President and Vice President indicating they are not responsible citizens and only interested in the highest salaries and benefits and not the welfare of all children in the district.

Jerry

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"only interested in the highest salaries and benefits and not the welfare of all children in the district."


Wow. Talk about a malicious, reprehensible statement. since when did teachers enter the profession for money, and since when have teachers been known collectively as a group of people that don't care about the welfare of their students? should the dedicated teachers of the district be penalized because they were highered by a district that payed them more than the average district in the county? Jerry, you are a disgusting individual if you really think that all teachers care about is money. You should be ashamed of yourself.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great pics, OM. Really sharp.

12:02 AM  
Blogger MoChassid said...

mom

Ironically, Asher Mansdorf has been very sympathetic to the needs of the public schools, much more so than many of the private school parents would even want him to be. It's important to remind everyone that the Lawrence school board has been out of control for years. They spend more per student than any district in the state with terrible results to show for it. The board is finally trying to rein in the out of control spending.

9:36 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Ironically, Asher Mansdorf has been very sympathetic to the needs of the public schools, much more so than many of the private school parents would even want him to be. It's important to remind everyone that the Lawrence school board has been out of control for years. They spend more per student than any district in the state with terrible results to show for it. The board is finally trying to rein in the out of control spending.

Thanks, MoC. I agree, and I am well aware. I mentioned that point - especially Asher's support of the budget in the last election - in some of the comments above. In terms of covering the backstory of the Lawrence school board, I have covered the saga extensively in the past. Check out some of the past links I referenced in the post.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM, did u take these? How COOL are you?

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice. no one can find it within themselves to criticize Jerry for his anti-teacher rhetoric? seems like selective criticism, unless, you're actually in agreement.

11:07 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

very nice. no one can find it within themselves to criticize Jerry for his anti-teacher rhetoric? seems like selective criticism, unless, you're actually in agreement.

Generally, comments as dumb as Jerry's are ignored. His comment was incorrect not because he criticised teachers, but because what he is saying (that the teacher's union is looking out for their own members' salaries and benefits) is not a particularly inflammatory claim. Since when do people unionize if NOT to organize and advocate for better salaries and benefits?

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"His comment was incorrect not because he criticized teachers, but because what he is saying is not a particularly inflammatory claim. Since when do people unionize if NOT to organize and advocate for better salaries and benefits?"

His claim is not inflammatory? Are you kidding me? It is not an inflammatory claim that teachers are "ONLY interested in the highest salaries and benefits and NOT the welfare of all children in the district?" I also understand that all unions advocate for their members. But you fail to mention or recognize that it is abhorrent to imply that teachers ONLY care about money and NOT the welfare of children.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous jdub said...

I think the comment was somewhat out of line, but I took it more as a comment about the teachers' unions which do take positions that are contrary to the interests of children.

Case in point: Tenure. How hard is it to get rid of a failing teacher with tenure? Well nigh impossible. So rigid tenure is incompatible with the best interest of children

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When are the Feds gonna send in their investigators to find out what really happened to all the funds that were"mismanaged"

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Public school parents DO NOT support the picketing. The LTA will be picketing public school board member Pam Greenbaum's house later this week.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

momof4, your blog is misleading it's readers!!! The LTA is picketing ALL board members homes or places of business. To insinuate that they are targeting nonpublic school board members is inflammatory and incorrect!!

9:15 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

momof4, your blog is misleading it's readers!!! The LTA is picketing ALL board members homes or places of business. To insinuate that they are targeting nonpublic school board members is inflammatory and incorrect!!

First of all, I have no evidence of that. Only your claim. I will be happy to post the flyers that they gave out at those protests (if they exist.) Second of all, that doesn't excuse the picketers from behaving responsibly. Do you expect me to be happy that they will be targeting other board members' business, and worse, homes???? I find this tactic reprehensible. Period. You are just adding to the mounting evidence that the LTA acts in a manner that is inexcusable.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon: "The LTA is picketing ALL board members homes or places of business."

OM: "First of all, I have no evidence of that. Only your claim."

Well, don't you think that you should find out this information before you start making such heavy accusations as anti-Semitism? (When you stated that his place of business was being picketed because he wears a yarmulke.)

6:45 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

When you stated that his place of business was being picketed because he wears a yarmulke.)

Not anti-semitism, anti-Orthodox sentiment. And trust me, had you attended the school board meetings as I did in the past, and had you seen the way the LTA members would stand up and applaud any time anyone expressed anything anti-Orthodox, you wouldn't question my asessment. Before his retirement, former school board member Anthony Licatesi stood up and went on and on in an anti-Orthodox diatribe that lasted about 5 minutes. In it, he blamed the Orthodox for everything that is wrong in District 15. (which I think any thinking person understands is absurd - did the Orthodox spend down the surplus? Did the Orthodox cause district test scores to slide? I don't think so!) When he finished his disgusting little rant, the members of the LTA stood up, hooting and cheering. It was quite a display. So please, before you defend the LTA as not being anti-Orthodox, speak to them, attend a school board meeting, read the flyer they distributed at the protest. Then come back to me.

7:16 AM  
Blogger DovBear said...

I can just imagine the fire the Orthodox community would draw if they resorted to similar tactics. What would happen if Orthodox parents decided to picket in front of the Lawrence public schools with similarly provocatively worded signs? Ha. I can only envision the tempest that would create.

I don't understand this at all. Hasn't a tempest been created by the actions of the LTA in picketing this dentist's office? Aren't people fuming? Hasn't the LTA drawn fire?

So yes, if the Orthodox community were to picket a public school people would scream, just as people (different people, but people all the same) are screaming about the actions you've written about here.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Arnold Spender said...

I'm a bit undecided about the Lawrence situation.

On the one hand I feel strongly about protecting constitutional rights. We all know how the Nazis and Soviets dealt with the rights of the Jews. I also wonder about some of the postings that have implied that the LTA is picketing or might picket in a way that might harrass children. If that is a hypothetical situation, why insert it into the discussion.

Also, I'm curious about the allegation that the LTA was trying to interfere with Dr. Mansdorf's right to make a living. Is there any evidence that they tried to block access to his office etc.?

On the other hand, there are allegations that the LTA may have done selective picketing --if that is so, it would be quite reprehensible. Is there any evidence that they have done so? And what is the nature of the picketing done in front of board members homes? Is it quiet picketing -- or is there any disturbance of the peace?

This blog could be --- and may be quite helpful to inform people -- or it could serve merely as a vehicle for inflaming people with unsubstantiated rumors. I urge posters to a. avoid suggesting hypothetical situations and b. to try to cite factual evidence to back up their statements.

Arnold

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Skip said...

I attend more board meetings than I care to admit. Frequently, Dr. Mansdorf (and the rest of the board for that matter) were asked if they would actively support the budget...Dr. Mansdorf refused to answer the question EVERY TIME he was asked. I would appreciate it if you could come up with proof of ways that HE DID suppor the budget and the school system because I haven't seen it at board meetings.

6:10 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I also wonder about some of the postings that have implied that the LTA is picketing or might picket in a way that might harrass children. If that is a hypothetical situation, why insert it into the discussion.

They have freely admitted to picketing in front of schools during school hours. I have spoken to teachers who work in a Yeshiva that was affected, and they claim that the protests disrupted the students' learning.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Skip said...

Another thing...I was at Licatesi's final board meeting...and I can say that you are confusing frustrated community members with the LTA. The LTA did not attend that meeting in large numbers. Having been a member of the community that attended public schools and for a time worked in the district, I know the teachers and they were not there with the exception of a handful.

6:14 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Another thing...I was at Licatesi's final board meeting...and I can say that you are confusing frustrated community members with the LTA. The LTA did not attend that meeting in large numbers. Having been a member of the community that attended public schools and for a time worked in the district, I know the teachers and they were not there with the exception of a handful.

That is absolutely untrue. You may have a different definition of a handful than I do. The parents and the teachers were sitting in distinct groups. There were certainly more than what I condsider a handful of teachers, and they most certainly did give a standing ovation when Licatesi finished his diatribe.

6:18 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Also, I'm curious about the allegation that the LTA was trying to interfere with Dr. Mansdorf's right to make a living. Is there any evidence that they tried to block access to his office etc.?

They certainly made it unpleasant to walk into the building. I can also guarantee that if this keeps up, there will be many people who will be even less interested than they usually are to go for their dental cleanings. Also, the building that houses Dr. Mansdorf's office is a building that houses many elderly residents. A friend of mine went to pick up her elderly mother who lives in the building today, and her mother was extremely distressed by the crowd of protesters congregating at the front of her building for the second time in a week. I am sure many other residents are none too pleased right now that Dr. Mansdorf has an office in her building.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Arnold Spender said...

In response to my question whether the LTA was trying to interfere with Dr. Mansdorf's right to make a living and whether there was evidence that they tried to block access to his office ... someone wrote that "they . . . certainly made it unpleasant to walk into the building , , , and that an elderly woman who lives in the building was . . . distressed by the crowd of protesters congregating at the front of her building .

There are people, elderly and otherwise, who get upset about picketing of various sorts. That does not necessarily mean that the pickets were unruly or inappopriate. Unpleasantness is in the eye of the beholder. Picket for a cause that I support and I see you as pleasant. Picket in support of a cause that I oppose and you are being unpleasant. The constitution protects people's right to protest. But it does not protect any right to harrass. If picketers use abusive language, block people's access to a building, attempt to frighten, people, especially children, they are inappropriate and perhaps breaking the law.

Is there any allegation that the LTA has done any of these things?

7:40 PM  
Blogger asher said...

The LTA did not harrass or frighten or prevent entrance or egress. Feel free to ask questions and I will respond.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Stephen Clements said...

It is time that some facts regarding the LTA contract dispute with the district were made public. The LTA is picketing because of lack of progress in negotiations, but also because the Board has not negotiated in good faith. It took an order of a mediator before the Board even made an offer to the teachers, and then it was an insulting offer. This is 7 months after our contract has expired. As far as the picketing, the LTA picketed Stanley Kopilow's house first on February 14, 27, 28, and 29. We did not hand out a flyer because it was a residential neighborhood and there were no passersby. Thank you to Dr.Mansdorf for being honest regarding the picketing at his office. No driveways were blocked. All picketing was legal. There was a police officer present. We intend to picket wherever and whenever it is legal. For anyone to imply that there is religious discrimination involved with regards to our picketing is just trying to cause harm to this community.and to our union. With regard to the picketing at HAFTR, the LTA first picketed Lawrence High School. It was respectful and peaceful. At HAFTR the picketing was quiet and respectful. No classes were disturbed as proven by the comments in the Jewish Star by the school's security officer. The only problem was when one of the HAFTR students walked over to a teacher and called her a "stupid bitch." The teacher did not respond. By the way, this teacher teaches Jewish education at a local temple. We picketed HAFTR because our public school teachers work there and because of the location. It is sickening to see people write comments that imply that the teachers/union is anti-semetic. We do object to those private school parents who not only voted "no" even on an austerity budget, but applauded and gloated when the vote was announced. How sick was that! The LTA has always been supportive of the services for the private schools. In fact, when the PIPPS program started, the district wanted to hire hourly teachers, which would have been harmful to private school students. It was Yeshiva parents and the LTA which insisted on Lawrence teachers becasue we care about all of our kids. Our friends in the private school community must realize that there are radicals among them who have done nothing but bad mouth the school system. I have always offered to meet with any private school parents who want to discuss any issue with regards to education in this community. That offer still stands.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very happy to see that Orthomom has been able express her Constitutionally protected First Amendment right to free speech and has created a blog to express her views. It is that same First Amendment right that you enjoy here that gives the LTA the right to picket. By denying the LTA the right to picket, you would be diminishing your own freedom to write this blog and express your opinions. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights is what separates our Nation from the tyranny that operates in many countries around the world. Enjoy your ability to state your opinions freely but remember and respect that our country provides that freedom to all. (No matter how much you disagree) Our freedoms protect all view points, not just the opinions of the many or the few but ALL.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very happy to see that Orthomom has been able express her Constitutionally protected First Amendment right to free speech and has created a blog to express her views. It is that same First Amendment right that you enjoy here that gives the LTA the right to picket. By denying the LTA the right to picket, you would be diminishing your own freedom to write this blog and express your opinions. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights is what separates our Nation from the tyranny that operates in many countries around the world. Enjoy your ability to state your opinions freely but remember and respect that our country provides that freedom to all. (No matter how much you disagree) Our freedoms protect all view points, not just the opinions of the many or the few but ALL.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As far as the picketing, the LTA picketed Stanley Kopilow's house first on February 14, 27, 28, and 29. We did not hand out a flyer because it was a residential neighborhood and there were no passersby."

Just to clarify - Does the LTA maintain that a couple of people picketing on a quiet residential street in front of a board member's home (which no one seems to have even seen) is comparable to 100 teachers (is that number correct?) picketing in front of another board member's office on a busy commercial street in the middle of the day?

I haven't followed the contract negotiations that closely, but from reading the newspapers (New York Times, Nassau Herald, Newsday), it's pretty apparent that Stephen Clements is the root of the problems in the system. How can any school educate its students properly when so much money is going to teachers' pockets, at the same time that student programs are being cut?

Furthermore, what kind of message do these divisive protests send to parents and children in the community who dream of the day when there won't be so much dissention between the orthodox jews and the others in the community?

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Furthermore, what kind of message do these divisive protests send to parents and children in the community who dream of the day when there won't be so much dissention between the orthodox jews and the others in the community?

I couldn't agree more. The LTA is clearly trying to drive a wedge between the two groups, and only creating more antagonism. The wording of the signs ("Dr. Mansdorf, you are responsible for ALL children!"), the inflammatory nature of the flyers distributed at the protests just make things here worse.

4:34 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

but remember and respect that our country provides that freedom to all. (No matter how much you disagree) Our freedoms protect all view points, not just the opinions of the many or the few but ALL.

I agree, and stated as much in the post. However, is there no ethical code of conduct that covers how every person chooses to use that right? I express my views on my blog. Could I have instead gone to the LTA protest and screamed the words that I have written here directly at the LTA members? Yes. But that would have been contentious and unconstructive to the disagreement at hand. Similarly, the LTA is certainly entitled to protest in this fashion. As I am entitled to say that I feel their methods are irresponsible. And it doesn't seem to me from the opposition to these tactics I have heard from both private and public school parents, that these tactics are constructive in the least for the LTA.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous sick of these mistruths said...

"Stephen Clements said...

It is time that some facts regarding the LTA contract dispute with the district were made public.


Well, Steve, since you feel it is time to make things public, how about these facts about the LTA:



There are 392 teachers. The current contract has a built in increment ("raise) of approximately 5% which does not include pension or healthcare. We pay that as well. As a result the "raise" even without a contract is in the area of 7.5%. Twice inflation.

Only 17 teachers have "stepped" out and as a result would not get a raise. Many of them are at the top of the LTA leadership.


Steve Clement works only three periods a day. The remainder of the day is dedicated to LTA business. He receives a stipend from the LTA to be the president (approximately $30,000). He does not do the work as a volunteer. The school district pays him a complete salary of $110,000.00 even though he works only three periods. So for these protests, on the district's penny he came to Central Avenue to set up the pickets and tell the world how Dr. Mansdorf wants to destroy the school system. If he worked for the LTA on his own time SD15 would have to hire one fewer teacher for his discipline. That savings would be a complete salary plus benefits. Enough to fund a homework center.

The savings on Steve alone would be approximately $70,000.00 per year.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Arnold Spender said...

I was very interested in the comment that the current contract with the LTA has good, built-in increments to automaticaly provide salary increases for most Lawrence teachers.

If that's the case, the board had some good arguments on its side to not propose big raises.

But on the other hand, I'm disturbed by reports that month after month went by and the board failed to offer ANY proposal. That appears to show a lack of good faith.

We've heard from community members who want to ratchet up the hostility teachers, but we need people to step forward to aid in mediating, and helping the community work out its many problems. I know the district has paid out huge amounts of monies to the various superintendents whose contracts it's bought out. I would have hoped that the current superintendent might have influenced the board to come up with a reasonable contract for the teachers. According to what I have heard, he's been very good to the Orthodox community, but I wish he would expend more effort to help achive peace in the community. The stridency of many comments on this blog seem to represent much of the hostility toward teachers that I've heard elsewhere. But moderation is needed now.

There are already some signs that the little culture war that's being waged in the community is hurting it. I understand that at least several excellent, well repected and highly experienced teachers (one of them a Ph.D.)have left the district for more stable districts. Will other good people leave too? Judging from comments by people who posted here, it could not have been for more money -- since Lawrence, according to them, it pays well.

I've had issues with individual teacher in the past-- that's normal. But calling the entire LTA anti-Semitic, overpaid people who care only about money is counter-productive. Is this blog just a forum for people who have frustrations they can't express elsewhere -- or does it have potential to do some good?

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I missed the moment when the comentary switched from sarcastic ideologically loaded belittling comments aimed at the LTA to let's share (untrue and undocumented) numbers about the teachers' pay in general and Mr.S.C.'s income in particular.
When is the same person going to discuss the sallaries of the administartors in the disrict-they are so many , and so expensive, and they do not teach at all, but rather supervise the teachers who actually work for a living;(Wait, besides working for a living teachers also have to pay to go to school and constantly improve their qualification to better serve all children placed in their care, as well as provide for their families)
When is the same person going to provide numbers as to how much the tuition in a privite school is and what it includes by items such as: percentage that goes to the teachers' sallary, percentage that goes for books, for bussing up to a distance of 15 miles , special education services,speech and language services, English as a second language services, and any other service that the private school does not have.(But,wait, most of these services are provided by the Public Schools)
When is the same person going to disclose the income of each of the board membersand his/her own income(Wait,could that be considered invasion of privacy?)
What kind of doctor would this person go to - highly qualified, with multiple degrees and best practice recommendations or the other type?
No one has control over the rising cost of living, gas prices ,etc. The residents of this district (or any other for that matter) have only one fiscal rope to pull-district budgets and teachers pay.
No one complains about the higher cost of dental services(including a teacher with a toothache) but many people believe teachers are overpaid. Apparently that person has not been inside a school for 10hrs a day, communicating with and educating 25-30 kids per hour- that's 300 hearts and souls, and young minds to be affected per day. How many patients does a doctor have a day again?

10:51 AM  
Blogger Arnold Spender said...

Whoa!!

Just after I called for an end to strident rhetoric from both supporters and critics of the LTA, along comes someone who in his haste to defend the LTA, resumes the strident tone of the debate with (inter alia) a comment implying that the average teacher educates 300 kids a day. No, no, no, -- I think most Lawrence SD teachers work hard. But to keep everybody honest, it sounds like this writer was assuming that each teacher has eight or nine classes per day. Not so. Teachers probably have a daily total of somewhere about 110-150 students -- except for specialists who have to have lighter loads.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Dentist's Aficionado said...

As I said before,the writer of this note has not been in a public school recently.Teachers in the LPS - and most of the other school districts-have 5 or 6 periods of active instruction and interaction with students, one or two periods of lesson planning-depending on the level of the school, and one period(about 43-45 min.)for lunch.
I hope this clarification would help keep every one informed so we can all make the right choices in the best interest of all our children. Honestly. And to stay honest- please, talk to any of the LPS teachers-they would all only wish to have a 7.5% increase. Honestly.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it amusing how so many parents do such a poor job of raising 2 or 3 children, but think it is no big deal to teach 120 or more students each day. IT'S CALLED DAMAGE CONTROL! Teachers do it every day! Very often, parents who complain the most about "TOO MUCH HOMEWORK" and teachers being "TOO STRICT" in Elementary School find that by High School they have totally lost control of their children and don't know why or how to regain it.
I think it is INSULTING to hear the Orthodox community cry out "RACIAL DISCRIMINATION" when THEY are one of the most "EXCLUDING GROUPS" on the planet!!!
BOTTOM LINE - YOU REALLY DON'T CARE ABOUT ANYONE ELSE BUT YOURSELVES!
Your selfish, arrogant and deluded into thinking that you and ONLY YOU know the right way and "path to goodness". Guess what! There are many ways! There are many paths to goodness! Excluding and disregarding the needs of others (especially when they are of different beliefs and ethnicities) doesn't seem very compassionate, tolerant or deserving of "afterlife" rewards to me! But then again, What do I know! I'm not one of you and therefore I must be doomed to an eternity of damnation! If caring about the well being of ALL of the members of our community means damnation, then fine! I must be damned! Damned to love my fellow man as I would love myself! I CARE about you AND I CARE about EVERYONE ELSE in this community! CAN YOU SAY THE SAME??? Please don't turn Lawrence into another Crown Heights!

11:36 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I CARE about you AND I CARE about EVERYONE ELSE in this community!

I'm sorry, but your comment does not say that. You seem to have a very narrow (and plain wrong) set of preconceived notions of the Orthodox community that belie your claim of caring about everyone. For such a "caring" person, you left a pretty scary comment.

7:17 PM  
Blogger 1T-REXX said...

The photos in this blog were taken by Asher Mansdorf himself. I was out side the building and saw him. He was also socializing with the picketers. He, infact offered them coffee.

1:08 AM  
Blogger 1T-REXX said...

I was outside the building and saw Asher Mansdorf take the above pictures. He was socializing with the picketers and offered them coffee.

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahhhh. The operative has been revealed. Thanks 1t-rexx/"deep throat".

8:45 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

ahhhh. The operative has been revealed. Thanks 1t-rexx/"deep throat".

lt-rexx is actually incorrect, Dr. Mansdorf did NOT take the pictures you see on this blog. He may well have taken his own set, but not these.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't use Dr. Mansdorf nor do I know anyone who does so how is he the MOST POPULAR. I thought Dr. Bodner was the most popular. I use Dr. Billett who took over for Dr. Veis. I prefer people who have long standing roots in the community and care about everyone in the community. I trusted Dr. Veis and I trust who he had take over his practice.

1:00 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I don't use Dr. Mansdorf nor do I know anyone who does so how is he the MOST POPULAR.

huh? This is a comment? Um... do you take issue with my calling Dr. Masndorf a "well-known dentist"? I don't see anyone saying "most popular" here but you. Oh, but I see now. You are just looking for an in to take a thinly-veiled dig at Dr. Mansdorf for being a carpet-bagging denstist:

I prefer people who have long standing roots in the community and care about everyone in the community.

The nerve, for any professionals to move to a community and build a sucessful practice.

1:04 PM  
Blogger 1T-REXX said...

You have all seemed to lost the purpose of the protest. Working people who want a contract! Although I may not agree with everything the protesters seek, I do believe in the Bill of Rights which gaurantees them the right to free assembly.

1:29 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Although I may not agree with everything the protesters seek, I do believe in the Bill of Rights which gaurantees them the right to free assembly

Absolutely. I have stated that point in my post and ad nauseum in these comments. I still, however, think that the rigth of assemply does not negate the resposibilty to practice comon human decency. The LTA wants to receive it, they should practice it.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Arnold Spender said...

the right of assemply does not negate the resposibilty to practice comon human decency. The LTA wants to receive it, they should practice it.

So said momof4

As the grandson of a woman who worked in the sweatshops of NYC & proudly wore the label of union member in the early 20th century, I've long had a sympathy for unions and their rights to fight for their members.

Since Dr. Mansdorf himself confirmed that the LTA picketers behaved with dignity, I don't understand what momof4 means by saying "[If} The LTA wants to receive it [human decency], they should practice it."

In what way is that statement warranted Momof4?

Again, I call for moderation in this ongoing dispute. The main losers will be the kids if a middle ground is not found.

11:12 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Since Dr. Mansdorf himself confirmed that the LTA picketers behaved with dignity, I don't understand what momof4 means by saying "[If} The LTA wants to receive it [human decency], they should practice it."


Dr. Mansdorf simply stated that the protesters did not block egress or harass anyone. I take issue with the tactic of protesting outside his place of work. Dr. Mansdorf's office has nothing whatsoever to do with his position as a school board member. The protesters are not picketing outside his governmental office.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Mansdorf was not socializing with the picketers or offering them coffee...he was asking them why we didn't go to Garden City to picket in front of another Board Members place of business.

He also didn't take the pictures, Orthomom did that. As did a number of other people with camera phones.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, I have a huge question, since I went back and read a number of the blog entries that didn't involve the LTA.

I see the tuition in the Yeshiva's has been an issue. It's large right? What do your rabbi's have to do with the Yeshiva's? Is it the rabbi's that suggest you vote down the budget?

Did it ever occur to you that if you continue to vote down the budget and lose good teachers and your Yeshiva tuition continues to rise (and it will b/c you are at their mercy). You will have no option?

Just a thought.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I see the tuition in the Yeshiva's has been an issue. It's large right? What do your rabbi's have to do with the Yeshiva's? Is it the rabbi's that suggest you vote down the budget?"

The Rabbi's in the community have said nothing about the budget or the candidates in past elections. Most rabbis in the community are very careful not to make a political statements, even as individuals and without reference to their 501(c)(3) institutions. (The reason I say "most rabbis" is that last year, a certain rabbi from a prominent 5T temple sent around a letter with temple stationery, promoting his temple's Vice President, Stanley Kopilow, before the school board election http://orthomom.blogspot.com/2005/05/update-on-school-board-election.html)


"Did it ever occur to you that if you continue to vote down the budget and lose good teachers and your Yeshiva tuition continues to rise (and it will b/c you are at their mercy). You will have no option?"

I am at a total loss to understand this question (though it does appear to be somewhat of a loaded one). Can someone explain?

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like a good question

Vote down the budget
don't negotiate or come to an understanding with some of the finest teachers on Long Island

teachers start to retire early or leave for other districts (which keeps being suggested to them).

The Yeshiva tuition continues to rise.

The Public school has no books, crumbling buildings and is losing it's best teachers.

then don't forget what someone else mentioned. What happens when you want to sell your house? Right now houses in North Lawrence are going for $500,000. what will happen when the public school system is reduced to nothingingness? Surely no one expects to get the same prices for their houses that they paid!

Just food for thought

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"then don't forget what someone else mentioned. What happens when you want to sell your house? Right now houses in North Lawrence are going for $500,000. what will happen when the public school system is reduced to nothingingness? Surely no one expects to get the same prices for their houses that they paid!"

What are you smoking? Do you really think that people are paying top dollar for houses in the 5T because they want good public school education for their kids. The only people buying now and paying top dollar are the ones who want to live close enough to a synagogue to walk there on the Sabbath.

The public school is already reduced to nothingness - Most of the students in the public school live in Inwood, and many of them have moved in just to take advantage of the above-par system. If I want to get top dollar for my home from an orthodox family, I'd be far better off with lower taxes than ridiculously overpaid public school teachers.

The only property values that may go down in the foreseeable future are those in Inwood and Atlantic Beach, and Atlantic Beach is occupied mostly by older people anyway.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave it to the LTA to make some of the dumbest strategic moves possible. Steve Clements and his elite executive board suggest they represent all of the teachers, but let the facts speak for themselves. Look at the recent LTA contracts....did the entry level teachers benefit? Nope! New higher steps were created and special longevity pay that directly went into the pockets of....wait for it...Steve Clements and the majority of the LTA leadership.

Most of the community feels that teaching is an important career choice, and one that many take pride in. But rather than take the high road, the LTA constantly resorts to childish tactics and opts not to take the high road. Even if we were to believe that the Board was acting in bad faith, then all the more reason that the LTA should be above such pettiness.

But they choose to go even lower. That's why the LTA didn't get support for their contract in 1999-2000 from public school and private school parents either....more stupid tactics are alientating what little support they have.

Keep it up LTA...you're guaranteeing no contract and, when it does, at least two years of 0% increases.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True indeed. Does the school board really think they have a chance at getting a budget passed? Everyone I know is voting NO again.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Did it ever occur to you that if you continue to vote down the budget and lose good teachers and your Yeshiva tuition continues to rise (and it will b/c you are at their mercy). You will have no option?"

Typical LTA response. If I'm not happy with my Yeshiva, there are dozens of others I can choose from. If I'm unhappy with the public schools, my only choice is to move. It's called fair competition....pity the LTA doesn't believe they have to EARN a living....they think pay increases are an entitlement.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Arnold Spender said...

If I can interrupt the acrimonious debate about the Teachers' Association, I have a question that someone can hopefully answer for me.

I believe the Orthodox members of the board were elected because people had confidence that regardless of whether or not they had children in the public schools, they are responsible people with a broad concern for all of the community's children -- be they in private or public school.

I was recently told that the board of ed has voted to return some of the tax payers monies to them. But my source alleged that the board was acting irresponsibly because, for example, the high school auditorium is currently unusable because its roof leaks (or has some other problems?) and that the money should have been used for that purpose. Are people trying to slander the board - or is there some basis for the allegation?

Arnold Spender

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all these board members besides the former stanley kopilow are nothing but blood sucking private school pieces of shit. maybe if there was some catholic school members with these THINGS it wouldnt be as one sided. If orthodox members picketed out side of a lawrence school, no one would lash out against them because those from lawrence are civilized and dont take over others with very selfish reasons.

these teachers are more than right because hes if a monster, another cause of these schools to become corrupted

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Mansdorf has spent countless hours of his personal time to service ALL of the children. What is happening in this community is, quite frankly, embarrassing and disappointing. Where is our respect for people, for their privacy, and for their families? Not to mention their reputations? What is going on here is untruthful, hurtful, and must stop.

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