- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 2, 2005

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Students in the Berkeley school district aren’t getting written homework assignments because teachers are refusing to grade work on their own time after two years without a pay raise.

So far, a black history event had to be canceled and parents had to staff a middle-school science fair because teachers are sticking strictly to the hours they’re contracted to work.

“Teachers do a lot with a little. All of a sudden, a lot of things that they do are just gone. It’s demoralizing,” said Rachel Baker, who has a son in kindergarten.

Teachers say they don’t want to stop volunteering their time.

“It’s hard,” said Judith Bodenhauser, a high school math teacher. “I have stacks of papers I haven’t graded. Parents want to talk to me; I don’t call them back.”

The action was organized by the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, which wants a cost-of-living increase next year. District Superintendent Michele Lawrence expressed sympathy for the teachers, but said there isn’t money for raises. Union President Barry Fike said the district will be getting more money next year and that teachers want a share.


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