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Chicago to target absent teachers
Chicago Tribune ^ | February 4, 2006 | Tracy Dell'Angela and Darnell Little

Posted on 02/04/2006 8:54:24 PM PST by george76

$10 million spent annually by district for classroom subs...

Driven by parental concerns about teacher absenteeism, the Chicago Public Schools for the first time will start scrutinizing schools with high numbers of teachers taking sick days.

On any given school day in Chicago, an average of 1,500 teachers, about 6 percent of the teaching staff, call in sick or take a personal day, according to a Tribune analysis of teacher payroll records.

The absentee rate is highest on Fridays, when an average of 1,800 teachers don't show...

For each of the last six school years, Chicago teachers missed an average of 12 unscheduled days in their 39-week work year. Their current contract calls for 10 sick days and three personal days.

By comparison, salaried employees nationwide take an average of five sick and personal days during their 50-week work year...

Last school year, the district tapped 280,000 substitutes, with the peak coming in February, when demand for substitutes topped 47,000--or about 2,350 each day.

The demand for subs in the 2005-06 school year is even higher, up about 27 percent for the first five months of this school year compared with the same period the year before...

(Excerpt) Read more at chicagotribune.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS: absenteeism; chicago; chicagoschools; choice; educashun; education; educrats; forgetthestudents; freedom; freemarket; freetochoose; friedman; g76; governmentschools; govwatch; highestfridays; homeschooling; hoover; hooverinstitute; liberty; miltonfriedman; nea; ponzi; private; privateschool; privateschools; prochoice; pspl; publicschools; school; schoolchoice; schools; schoolvouchers; socialsecurity; stossel; taxes; taxreform; teacher; teacherabsenteeism; teacherunion; tradeunion; union; unions; urban; urbaneducation; vouchers
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1 posted on 02/04/2006 8:54:26 PM PST by george76
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To: george76
the Chicago Public Schools for the first time will start scrutinizing schools with high numbers of teachers taking sick days.

LOL! Maybe they'll appoint a commission. The Democrats will be up in arms if anything serious is done. In the end NOTHING will be done except, perhaps, a symbolic handful of scapegoats made into public pariahs with the help of the liberal press.

2 posted on 02/04/2006 8:58:55 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: george76

They're not missing; they all moved to New Orleans and became cops...


3 posted on 02/04/2006 9:00:39 PM PST by decal (Too many people mistake "tolerance" for "approval")
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To: george76; Born Conservative

"A national model for urban education."

However, it seems that the teachers have a problem getting to class...


4 posted on 02/04/2006 9:00:58 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: Lancey Howard

Driven by parental concerns about teacher absenteeism...

The teacher union does not a problem with teacher no-shows...

nor does the union seem to care if the students learn anything.


5 posted on 02/04/2006 9:03:39 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: george76
This is a common problem. Unlike regular jobs, teachers do not have the flexibility during the school year to take a day off here and there for family vacations. Thus, they are forced to call in "sick".

If we're thinking about reforming education, we may want to consider a more flexible attitude and more respect for teachers as professionals who need flexibility during the year. If would be easy to account for this by adding in a few work days during the "summer" break. Unfortunately, antiquated collective bargaining processes do not make change of ANY kind easy.
6 posted on 02/04/2006 9:12:28 PM PST by Wiseghy ("You want to break this army? Then break your word to it.")
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To: george76

Teacher unions are not concerned about education and never have been.


7 posted on 02/04/2006 9:13:41 PM PST by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
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To: george76

I was out sick 5 days last month and it's only Feb. People get sick and need time off for various reasons.


8 posted on 02/04/2006 9:17:40 PM PST by CindyDawg (I)
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To: ncountylee

"The absentee rate is highest on Fridays, when an average of 1,800 teachers don't show..."


9 posted on 02/04/2006 9:23:59 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: george76

If their contract calls for one day off for every three weeks, why are they surprised when the teachers take them? Sure, that is an average and there will be some abusers identified. But what did they expect?


10 posted on 02/04/2006 10:48:57 PM PST by NonValueAdded ("If I were a Cuban, I'd certainly be on a raft," Isane Aparicio Busto)
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To: NonValueAdded

I teach in a large urban area.
I take one day a month off, every month no exceptions.
No one asks why or says anything else to me.
Why anyone would expect huge bureaucracies to serve customers is beyond me.


11 posted on 02/05/2006 12:05:10 AM PST by genghis
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To: george76

I have ETO days. It really irritates me when I have to use them when sick. If I have a choice I take off on Mondays or Fridays or before and after holidays. I don't get the no school days that teachers get though.


12 posted on 02/05/2006 6:46:32 AM PST by CindyDawg (I)
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To: CindyDawg

First, this issue was raised by the parents...not the teachers, not the administration, not the union...

Some of the parents apparently care about the quality of teaching when so many substitutes are trying to cover for so many teachers being absent so often.

Not only it this a huge additional expense on the taxpayers, but a quality issue of the educational experience.

So many parents do not care about their kids education, it is good to see that some, finally, apparently do care.

It seems that the teachers and their unions do not care enough about the students education.

The second point : if one is really sick, then one should stay home or go to the hospital to get well.

That is apparently not the case here. The sick days are just another industrial union benefit...like three months off in the summer, every major and minor holiday off, two weeks paid at Christmas...


13 posted on 02/05/2006 9:12:59 AM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: george76

The cesspool we call Chicago once again is revealed for what it is, a scam of proportions that boggle the mind.


14 posted on 02/05/2006 9:35:50 AM PST by hgro
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To: george76

I hear what you are saying but it is a job. What do parents do at their job when they need to take a day off? Would it not be better to deal with a few slackers and have subs or teachers aides that they feel are A+ to step in to cover when needed.


15 posted on 02/05/2006 9:39:09 AM PST by CindyDawg (I)
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To: hgro

In Chicago...

the unionized teachers have a hard time getting to school to teach the children, but they find time to protest a Walmart store.


16 posted on 02/05/2006 9:43:19 AM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: CindyDawg

This is why we need school vouchers.

Schools that do not perform should die. Those failing teachers, administrators and union bosses should be fired.

A new school with vouchers run by caring parents could replace the uncaring, failed, union shop.

The new school with teachers, parents, and administrators who might actually care could be in the same buildings.

This is not just a few slackers..."absentee rate is highest on Fridays, when an average of 1,800 teachers don't show..."

A band-aid will not fix this problem.

Major Surgery is indicated.


17 posted on 02/05/2006 9:56:13 AM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: george76
My personal feelings are that there are some really good teachers trapped in a bad system and that it's too far gone to salvage. I took mine out and home schooled and my grandkids go to private. Each family must make their own decision though.
That said, I am against vouchers. Private school isn't for the rich anymore. Prices are coming down and I know of single parents that make minimal wage that private school their children. Is it easy? No, but it's possible if you really want it. Many schools even have a limited # of work scholarships. Once the government takes our money it really doesn't belong to the tax payers any more since we can't determine how we want it spent. Vouchers today and the government will be running private schools tomorrow.
18 posted on 02/05/2006 10:07:25 AM PST by CindyDawg (I)
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To: CindyDawg

The best way to pay for good schooling would be low taxes to start. This would leave the parents' money in their own pockets without government management.

The second best is the school vouchers.

The school voucher money should be controlled by the parents. Hopefully the parents do care. There are, unfortunately, many parents who do not care.

Private schooling should include home schooling to everything else. This would give some money to buy school supplies, etc, for the home schooled.

Now, only the rich can easily avoid the trap of government schools with uncaring teachers, administrators, and union bosses.

If not this, then what.

The non-rich should have a better option than what is out there now.


19 posted on 02/05/2006 10:20:50 AM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: george76

If it's like Texas, you are stupid not to take your sick/personal days. When I retired, I had 30 days of unused sick leave for which I got absolutely NOTHING. What incentive is there in that?


20 posted on 02/05/2006 10:23:52 AM PST by kittymyrib
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To: kittymyrib

One incentive might be better educated students who were taught by a knowledgable, caring teacher.

A substitute who does not know the kids and may not fully understanding the topic is not the best choice.

If maximizing the industrial, union benefits is the most important reason for a teaching career, then that person might do society a favor by chosing a different profession.


21 posted on 02/05/2006 10:33:19 AM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: kittymyrib
I work out of my home, and my company gives me 40 hours a year for sick time. (You have to be pretty d*mn sick to not be able to crawl to your bedroom office), but they also have a rule, that states you cannot carry more than 40 hours of sick time. If you run over, they automatically pay you 1/2 for every hour you are over.

In other words, it would be totally stupid of me not to use my sick days, every year! Although the benefit is wonderful, I can't see it as anything but an incentive for calling in sick.

22 posted on 02/05/2006 10:55:17 AM PST by codercpc
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To: george76

Free to Choose

After 50 years, education vouchers are beginning to catch on.

BY MILTON FRIEDMAN

Little did I know when I published an article in 1955 on "The Role of Government in Education" that it would lead to my becoming an activist for a major reform in the organization of schooling, and indeed that my wife and I would be led to establish a foundation to promote parental choice.

The original article was not a reaction to a perceived deficiency in schooling. The quality of schooling in the United States then was far better than it is now, and both my wife and I were satisfied with the public schools we had attended.

My interest was in the philosophy of a free society.

...public interest in and support for vouchers and tax credits continues to grow.

Legislative proposals to channel government funds directly to students rather than to schools are under consideration in something like 20 states.

Sooner or later there will be a breakthrough; we shall get a universal voucher plan in one or more states.

When we do, a competitive private educational market serving parents who are free to choose the school they believe best for each child ...

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110006796


23 posted on 02/05/2006 4:25:11 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: CindyDawg
I missed 4 days this year. For the most part I have been blessed with good health.

I have accumulated 180 days of sickleave. I do however wind up using my 3 personal days almost every year.

24 posted on 02/05/2006 4:28:31 PM PST by mware (The keeper of the I's once again.)
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To: mware

You are a teacher? Yall aren't slaves. Parents shouldn't expect you to never get sick or need personal time off. They should be able to expect for you to have a good aide that's in the loop and can cover though.


25 posted on 02/05/2006 4:32:52 PM PST by CindyDawg (I)
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To: CindyDawg
Yes, I teach Life Science, 7th graders.

I am in my 24th year of teaching. As I mentioned I have been blessed with good health and I suspect that my immune system is protecting me from just about every illness the kids have come in contact with. My first few year teaching were the worse for getting illnesses. One year I used 15 days when I had a bout with mono.

Another year I used all my sick day to recover from back surgery (that was 45 days)

26 posted on 02/05/2006 4:39:56 PM PST by mware (The keeper of the I's once again.)
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To: george76

My wife was a substitute for 2 years. During the school year, she worked nearly EVERY Friday.


27 posted on 02/05/2006 6:26:27 PM PST by Born Conservative (Chronic Positivity: http://www.livejournal.com/users/jsher/)
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To: kenth; CatoRenasci; Marie; PureSolace; Congressman Billybob; P.O.E.; cupcakes; Amelia; Dianna; ...

If you have asked to be added to this list, and haven’t been receiving the pings, please let me know. I’ve had a problem with my file synchronization between my home and work computer, and apparently have lost some names on the list. I think I have the problem fixed, and will gladly re-add your name.

28 posted on 02/05/2006 6:55:20 PM PST by Born Conservative (Chronic Positivity: http://www.livejournal.com/users/jsher/)
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To: george76

Our elementary gym teacher used to take sick days for her son's hockey tournaments.


29 posted on 02/05/2006 7:01:39 PM PST by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: codercpc

I work in a hospital/ambulatory care clinic. When I started there back in 1989, we got x amount of vacation, and 12 sick days a year; people abused it all of the time. Now, we have Primary Time Off and Extended Time Off. The took 4 of what used to be sick days, and put them into PTO. Thus, if you didn't call in sick, you had 4 extra days of vacation. The remaining 8 sick days were banked as ETO. You could only use these for hospitalizations, surgery, or for more than 3 days off with a doctor's excuse. Also, we are able to carry over our ETO to 1000 hours, at which point our long term disability insurance kicks in. The ETO has been a godsend for me; I have at least 3 months off coming up for when I get my kidney transplant; I should have enough ETO to cover it.


30 posted on 02/05/2006 7:05:38 PM PST by Born Conservative (Chronic Positivity: http://www.livejournal.com/users/jsher/)
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To: george76
This would leave the parents' money in their own pockets without government management.

which is exactly what the government does not want... it'll never allow it...

31 posted on 02/05/2006 8:10:44 PM PST by latina4dubya
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To: latina4dubya
The first choice would be best. As you note, getting the DUmmies to allow us to keep more of our own money will not likely happen.

Therefore, going to plan B ( vouchers ) is the best alternative.
32 posted on 02/05/2006 8:41:41 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: Born Conservative

There are many positive ways than to encourage any employees ( teachers ) to be honest about sick days.

One option, give the sick days as cash, retirement plan donations, or as vacation days at the end of the year if they are not used.

Having every Friday swamped with subs sends a terrible example to the students. The students are being cheated on their education.

Second option, if the students excell in state wide tests, then bonus time or money could be offered for positive results.

There are many other positive ideas, too.


33 posted on 02/05/2006 8:54:05 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: george76

That sounds good. If there was a "buy back" format of some kind where there was an incentive to accumulate unused days, there would be less temptation to "use them or lose them"

I know of a teacher nearby who took her family to DisneyWorld on the second week of January. Missed an entire week of school right after having been off two weeks for the Christmas break.

Insanity.


34 posted on 02/05/2006 10:49:32 PM PST by WillRain ("Might have been the losing side, still not convinced it was the wrong one.")
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To: george76

If I had to teach in Chi-town I might have to take a few mental health days myself!
Try dealing with five classes of thirty kids,many of them bored and angry,and a myriad of problems ranging from outsiders roaming the halls to beatdowns in the middle of class.To add insult to injury,one must also have to interact and kiss up to administrators who enable this sort of behavior.


35 posted on 02/05/2006 10:59:55 PM PST by Riverman94610
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To: CindyDawg
They should be able to expect for you to have a good aide that's in the loop and can cover though.

In high school and middle school, only the special ed teachers have aides, and they are becoming increasingly infrequent in the lower grades as well.

36 posted on 02/06/2006 2:48:33 AM PST by Amelia (Education exists to overcome ignorance, not validate it.)
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To: Wiseghy
This is a common problem. Unlike regular jobs, teachers do not have the flexibility during the school year to take a day off here and there for family vacations.

What, 2 months off in the summer, 2 weeks at Christmas and a week at Easter aren't enough? Cry me a river poor poor teachers.
37 posted on 02/06/2006 2:51:36 AM PST by Kozak (Anti Shahada: " There is no God named Allah, and Muhammed is his False Prophet")
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To: Lancey Howard

I wonder if it counts or doesn't count the times that teachers attend certain conferences. Six percent is actually less than the rate at my wife's computer job. She takes about 10-12 sick days a year herself.


38 posted on 02/06/2006 4:05:34 AM PST by moog
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To: george76

6% is about the student absence rate here, sometimes it is more. Sometimes teachers do get sick like others, sometimes a "sick" day is used to take care of their own sick child. It would be interesting to see a breakdown.

I am a teacher, but have never taken a sick day in 10 years. I have missed a few times (an average of about 1 or 2 days a year) for some things, chiefly being family-related like my brother's wedding and family reunions--whenever Momma says I HAVE to come, I do:).

The excuses I hear for absences are not what they used to be. Instead of just "he's sick" or something like a vacation, sometimes it's because "family came into town," or "we wanted to see a movie" or "our house wasn't clean" or "he didn't do the report" or "he was needed to help babysit the kids" or "we woke up late" or "we got home late from the basketball game" and so on. I definitely sympathize with family-related things like going hunting or vacation (though we have ample breaks throughout the year and some people don't use them). I also don't want sick students. But you hear a lot more excuses than you used to. I think the same is true for some teachers too.


39 posted on 02/06/2006 4:12:42 AM PST by moog
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To: Wiseghy
This is a common problem. Unlike regular jobs, teachers do not have the flexibility during the school year to take a day off here and there for family vacations. Thus, they are forced to call in "sick". True. I wouldn't be to too many of my kids' programs and such if I had kids. MANY MANY times the parents of my students are able to come get them pretty easily.
40 posted on 02/06/2006 4:14:51 AM PST by moog
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To: ncountylee

He didn't say anything about that. I say it depends on the teacher on a case by case basis rather than making generalities. Heck, we have "some" Dems for that--hehe:).


41 posted on 02/06/2006 4:16:43 AM PST by moog
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To: CindyDawg

You are right. I also wonder how many of those days are related to pregnancy issues. The fact that teaching is more female-oriented has to be some factor, though I'm not quite sure what it is.


42 posted on 02/06/2006 4:18:13 AM PST by moog
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To: george76

Yes, the whole Walmart thing is stupid. In my own place here, it's the teacher bashers who they should worry about more.


43 posted on 02/06/2006 4:19:24 AM PST by moog
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To: CindyDawg

I don't get days off before or after holidays either (unless it's the holiday season). But teachers shouldn't complain too much--we do get ample time off (though many would tell you not all of them are "off" days).


44 posted on 02/06/2006 4:21:14 AM PST by moog
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To: george76

You raise some decent points. We actually had a day before a holiday here where the district said that we couldn't have any substitutes.


45 posted on 02/06/2006 4:22:55 AM PST by moog
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To: Wiseghy
Unlike regular jobs, teachers do not have the flexibility during the school year to take a day off here and there for family vacations. Thus, they are forced to call in "sick".

Parents with children do not have the flexibility to take days off during the school year while their children are in attendance... it's not like they can leave the children at home, attending schools. These parents wait until vacation time so they can include their children in the family vacation.

46 posted on 02/06/2006 4:23:12 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Death is better, a milder fate than tyranny. "--Aeschylus)
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To: george76

Yep, welfare fixes everything.

You are right on one thing--we need to ALL care.


47 posted on 02/06/2006 4:23:48 AM PST by moog
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To: george76

Can I get some money too? I would like to have the "choice" to even have a child. Maybe I'll go hit up some of the voucher people here since I'm paying for their child.


48 posted on 02/06/2006 4:25:09 AM PST by moog
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To: george76
One incentive might be better educated students who were taught by a knowledgable, caring teacher. A substitute who does not know the kids and may not fully understanding the topic is not the best choice. If maximizing the industrial, union benefits is the most important reason for a teaching career, then that person might do society a favor by chosing a different profession. Dagnabbit, I agree with you here. A teacher who does not "care" simply shouldn't be teaching. I'm not the best teacher, probably one of the worst. BUT the parents know that I DO care about my students.
49 posted on 02/06/2006 4:27:09 AM PST by moog
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To: mware

I missed 1 and a half days last year. This year I have missed 1. I too have been blessed with good health. I HATE to miss days because I can't stand leaving my class. BUT also, it's so much dadblam work to prepare for a sub.


50 posted on 02/06/2006 4:28:37 AM PST by moog
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