“We continue to have fully funded health benefits,” he said. “That is something we should be proud of.”
He is also happy with the fact that teachers have seen a steady increase in pay in the four years he has served.
“I think salary increases over the last four years have been significant,” he said. Some increases during that time have risen as high as 19.5%.
“One of the biggest [issues] is the reclassification of temporary teachers,” Freemon said.
Freemon accused the district of keeping too many teachers categorized as temporary. This meant that they could be let go from their teaching position without due process granted by the teachers union.
“They were not classified correctly,” he said.
The association threatened the district with litigation; the district reclassified many of those teachers.
There were some battles won, but they were hard fought. Many in the district, and fellow educators, have called Freemon’s tactics aggressive. There has been animosity between Freemon and some board members and the district Superintendent Michael Escalante.
Gerald Lancaster, a teacher from Wilson Middle School, is now running for presidency of the association. He has stated that the animosity has been harmful to the association and its relationship with the district administration. Lancaster is running on the grounds that a more civil, professional tone is needed in the association. There have also been rumors of teacher intimidation, with some members being shouted down at meetings if they disagree with the current GTA administration.
Freemon disagrees with those comments, calling it political.
“I think this is a calculated effort by some to paint a picture of myself and current GTA [administration] that is confrontational,” he said.
Freemon added that it has fought for teachers and will continue to do so. There are several issues that he felt will need to be addressed in the future, like 15 minutes breaks for teachers throughout the day and a proposal to evaluate teachers by test scores.
“It is not an even playing field when you are talking about test scores,” he said.
He added that parents are already concerned about teachers “teaching to the test” and that if instructors’ evaluation is pinned on test scores, it would place even more emphasis on testing.
“Education is a well-rounded, complex issue,” he said. “We want to educate the child as a whole.”
Teachers have been voting for GTA positions all this week; results are expected today.