Voices of the Peninsula: For the sake of students, let’s all do our jobs

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has a logo: “kpbsd — where kids come first”

  • By Robert Summer
  • Saturday, August 17, 2019 10:21pm
  • Opinion

This perspective is from a teacher who chose to teach, who wanted to be a teacher. Both parents were teachers and they described teaching as “an honorable profession.”

Administration and being a representative in a union held no interest, being in the classroom with students did. There is a sense of duty to the students who come into my classroom each year, as there will be this Tuesday, to start and complete another school year.

From this teacher’s perspective, it is a teacher’s duty and responsibility to teach the students whose parents have entrusted that teacher with their care. Teachers work for the students. They are the teacher’s “clients.”

Administrators in the KPBSD chose to be administrators. As administrators, it is their duty and responsibility, their function as district administrators, from time to time to prepare to negotiate and then actually negotiate contracts.

Union representatives, (KPEA and KPESA) chose to be union representatives. As a union representative, one of their duties, responsibilities, their function as union representatives from time to time is to prepare to negotiate and then actually negotiate contracts.

Alaska is in a difficult position financially.

That doesn’t take away the responsibilities of the administrators and union representatives to do their duty and responsibility — their function — of preparing, negotiating, and reaching an agreement.

Union representatives, administrators, teachers, and staff all have obligations to our “clients” the students (and their parents) who put their trust in us.

Recently, the Alaska Marine Highway had a strike during the height of tourist season in Alaska. Their passengers’ (or clients’) service was disrupted. The passengers were used as leverage, which drew attention to the union’s concerns.

The Alaska Marine Highway does not have a logo: “AMH – Where Passengers Come First.” Also, the passengers, or clients, they serve are not 100% children.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has a logo: “kpbsd — where kids come first”

It is common knowledge the union is considering a strike.

This seems similar to one parent trying to convince their children their position is right and the other parent’s position is wrong during a separation. Students should not be a part of the process when there has been dysfunction on both sides of the negotiating table without agreement for quite some time.

Union representatives and school administrators whose job it is to come to an agreement shouldn’t leave the negotiating table until there is a solution; which in our state’s budget challenge, is going to require compromise. As always, at some point it will be settled, and should be before and without our current students in the KPBSD being used as leverage.

Figure things out without disrupting the students’ school year.

Let’s all show up and do our jobs, all year.

Let this teacher (teaching has never seemed like a a “job”) do his job starting Tuesday and continuing uninterrupted through the school year.

Lets all do the right thing.

Put the quarreling aside – and do what the district’s logo says.

Robert Summer is an eighth grade teacher in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.


Robert Summer eighth grade teacher in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.


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