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View Diary: Unions, Education and The Chicago Teachers Strike (50 comments)

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  •  Unions serve their members, not the public (1+ / 0-)
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    This is one more diary trying to make the case that Teachers Unions exist to serve the students and the society as a whole, or that somehow, satisfying the demands of teachers will lead to social benefits for everyone.

    This is the same argument made by other groups who want the public to accede to their demands.    This argument is just like "clean coal" or the worship of "job creators".  

    Teacher union supporters are saying, in effect  "We are better than you, and you must not disagree with us.  If you do, you are a right wing troll, or an ignorant know nothing."  

    I will remain opposed to the teachers unions until they stop bashing responsible critics and offer some way to identify and get rid of the poor performers in their group.

    Every other professional group seeks to identify and weed out the poor performers.   Teachers unions seek to protect them and grant them lifetime employment.

    What Chicago students need now is lots more charter schools.

    Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

    by bobtmn on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 07:51:09 AM PDT

    •  Yeah, sure (5+ / 0-)

      You totally mischaracterize the issues.  Thia 'argument' is not a 'demand' to the public.  What is happening in Chicago is a negotiation between unionized teachers and their public sector bosses over REASONABLE pay, working conditions, and evaluation.  

      Having a nice weekend, are you?  Thank unions for your 8 hour day and 5 day week.  Hurt on the job ever? Thank unions for your worker comp payments.  Lost your job ever? Thank unions for your severance and unemployment comp.

      How would you like to work in unsafe, unsanitary conditions?  How would you like your job evaluation to be based on tests that judge factors over which you have no control?  How would you like to be a highly educated professional and be treated like a commodity?

      For years, public sector bosses (from local to national level) have had the bully public and have mischaracterized the nature of problems with American education to skew contract negotiations on their favor.  

      No doubt unions have abused their power in the past and will continue to do so if unchecked.  But an honest person would admit that, on the whole, the work of unions has resulted in enormous benefit to ALL working Americans.  

      This Chicago strike was a perfectly reasonable response to unreasonable management demands.

      •  I love that "public sector bosses" (1+ / 0-)
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        characterization.  Public sector union "bosses" are the employees themselves.  My public sector union boss is a high school English teacher.  The other "bosses" consist of a middle school technology teacher, a middle school math teacher and a 4th grade teacher.  What a bunch of thugs!

        “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

        by musiclady on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 09:06:36 AM PDT

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    •  Nonsense, you have no idea what the (3+ / 0-)
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      JanL, lilypew, badscience

      hell your talking about. Charters have shown no benefit over traditional schools in study after study. Teachers unions do fight for kids and classroom conditions, I know several who are very concerned about over crowding, lack of textbooks etc. Finland and Japan, two of the top systems in the world, have teachers unions, it's not about the unions.

      It's about a political system that is looking for scapegoats because it has driven the U.S. economy into the ground. It is about hedge fund managers with tons of cash who want ever more by getting into "for profit" charters- like they tried to get approved in New York last year. Amazing! Thirty years of war on the middle class in this country, driven by neoliberal market fundamentalism and you think the answer is more.

      Matt Farmer says it better than anyone, by the way, this is why they want more charters. Rahm has no problem with dicing up the education system for his corporate buddies, his kids have it good- get a clue. This is about CLASS WARFARE.

    •  To your points... (3+ / 0-)

      Who, in your view, are "responsible" critics?  Too many critics have been shown to have a vested money interest in demonizing public schools/teachers - most notably charter school backers in the political world who are not, and could not, teach school.  (I am thinking of Michelle Rhee here.)
      As for weeding out unqualified or poor teachers, systems are in place across all public schools to identify and either help those teachers or move them out of teaching.  Unions do insist on a due process for depriving someone of their livelihood.
      Charter schools are a boondoggle of epic proportions that do not serve the children any better than public schools, and often do far worse.
      You really don't seem to have any data behind your assertions and I suspect that is why you are being called a troll.  
      Good day to you, I have read enough of your hateful opinions.

      Think what you are doing today. -Fred Rogers

      by JanL on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 08:38:07 AM PDT

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      •  Worst teacher? (1+ / 0-)
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        I read the reference you gave.  This is an anecdote with no names, and no verifiable references at all.

        Even if it were verifiable, it does not make the case against charter schools.

        The reason I like charter schools is that they offer a way for more parent and community input into the education process, including hiring and pay scales.  

        I like charters because they are better than vouchers, since charters have to accept everyone and cannot charge tuition.

        I hate the idea of vouchers going to private schools, because then we will have good schools only when parents can afford to pay tuition on top of the voucher.

        I think the only  thing that will improve schools is for parents to have choices between competing services.     Parents come before teachers, in my viewpoint.

        Personally, I cannot imagine working in a system where my individual value and contribution is measured by the certificates I have and the years I have put in.   I value a chance to be judged on my performance, even though I have sometimes felt that I was unfairly judged, or inadequately rewarded.   Once I got a promotion that required me to take responsibility for a team of 12 instead of my previous team of three.   My boss took me to his country club and told me what a wonderful opportunity he was giving me.   He announced my promotion to the group in a big meeting the next day and everybody congratulated me and thought I would do a good job.

        The next Monday, my boss told me that all this new responsibility came with a 4% raise.  I said "that's not very much"  He said If I had a better offer, I should take it.    I gave him my two weeks notice at that time ( I DID have a better offer).   He said I didn't need to stick around and I should leave right away.   I did.

        Within nine months, all the other project leaders had quit too.    We all got way better offers and moved out of an environment where we were not valued.   That company went under about five years later.      

        If you want to follow private sector professionals, that's the way it works.  Sometimes you don't get appreciated, but if you are any good there is someone eager to pick you up.  

        If teachers continue to defend a failing school system, vouchers is where we will end up, and that is bad for everyone.

        Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

        by bobtmn on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 11:01:45 AM PDT

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      •  Matt Farmer & Lab School (0+ / 0-)

        I just listened to Matt Farmer, and he made and eloquent argument for the best possible schools.  I agree with him 100% on the importance of a well rounded, enriching public education.

        He compares Chicago schools to the  Univ Lab School.  It seems the Lab school is an example of a well run and challenging public school.

        What makes the lab school so much better?  

        Do they have to hire teachers based on Seniority?  Do they have to take teachers who go laid off from other schools?   Are their teachers CTU members?

        I truly want to know

        Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

        by bobtmn on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 12:06:48 PM PDT

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        •  You do understand that the Lab School is a private (0+ / 0-)

          school that can charge high tuition, right?  That its students are among the best off and most 'enriched' kids in this city, right?  That the school  probably has little management-teacher strife because teachers aren't being evaluated on false criteria, right?  

    •  Teachers' jobs are to serve the students (1+ / 0-)
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      The unions job is to support the teachers so that they can do that.  Teachers' working conditions are the same as students' learning conditions.  I still don't understand why some people don't get that.  Having a teacher be denied the necessary tools to do his/her job, a salary that requires him/her to work a second job to make ends meet and not providing the necessary support personnel certainly does NOT benefit students.  Teachers' unions are fighting to right those wrongs which will definitely be good for students.

      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

      by musiclady on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 09:02:18 AM PDT

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    •  First are you a Democrat? And with that attitude (0+ / 0-)

      do you expect that if Democrats think like you do labor is going to support Democrats in the future? My brother is in the operators unions and he makes well over $125,000/year plus benefits. He retires at 55. But if he took a wage cut think of how much money taxpayers would save on road building projects. Why is he so selfish and why won't he think of all the poor people who need roads. In fact he is also in the painters union so he gets a double pension. So why will he not sacrifice for the public good? You know like the teachers? And give up his bargaining rights. And encourage nonunion contractors with no experience to come in and build roads. I'll bet they got some really good ideas about innovation and construction projects.

      Why do we not turn lose the creative genius and unleash creativity in the building trades? You know get rid of the pesky regulations and unions bosses that stand in the way of progress?

      /Snark Off

      Why do we pick on teachers and let others escape without examination? Like the bankers, finance and insurance guys, real estate experts and economists. And construction workers. If a teacher is overpaid at $70,000/year and shit benefits then what about the construction worker in a less skilled trade making $125,000/year and great benefits. Not that I begrudge tradesmen it just does not seem fair.

      •  We pick on teachers unions because (2+ / 0-)
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        badscience, JanL

        there is a lot of money to be made by privatizing public education and the unions are getting in the way.  Funny thing is --it's the teachers that actually care about the kids.  They are in the classroom every day with these kids and they have relationships with them.  The privatizers could care less.

        “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

        by musiclady on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 09:10:04 AM PDT

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      •  Union does not equal Democrat (1+ / 0-)
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        I have no beef at all with private sector unions.   It is the private sector unions who won all those benefits for working people.

        They never claim to be representing everyone.  They fight like hell for their own members.   They don't pretend to be fighting for me or my kids.

        Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

        by bobtmn on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 10:35:06 AM PDT

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        •  Forgot a point... (0+ / 0-)

          I meant to say that the unions do not always support Democrats.  I do not consider unions to be reliable Democrats.

          I am a reliable democrat, even when they sometimes seem to care more about public employees than they do about effective teaching.

          Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

          by bobtmn on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 10:38:27 AM PDT

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          •  Well if anti-union sentiment grows in the (1+ / 0-)
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            Democratic Party you can kiss union support goodbye. Do you have any idea what unions supply to Democratic campaigns? Unions supply precinct walkers, money, phone banking, signs and posters. They supply bodies for meetings and rallies. They supply meeting space for local Democratic organizations. They are a part of the machinery of the Democratic Party at the national, state, and local level.

            Have you ever actually volunteered to work for Democrats other than posting on a web site? Have you ever walked a precinct or phone banked. Because it seems you have a poor understanding of how Democratic organizations actually run and win campaigns.

            Can you imagine the Republican Party telling the Chamber of Commerce to f*** off? Because that is what you are saying to the labor movement.

            •  Yes, I have (0+ / 0-)

              I have walked precincts in every election.  I have made phone calls and donated money in every election.    My first involvement was in the McCarthy campaign as a teenager.

              The Democratic party existed, and was stronger, before the advent of  public employee unions in the seventies.  

              Public sector unions pitted public worker against  the taxpayer and user of public services.  This has soured lots of people against unions in general.

              Private sector unions were stronger before the growth of public sector unions.  

              Unionized people share interests that affect the entire citizenry.   Global warming, women's rights , clean air, clean water, energy efficiency, quality public education, civil rights, justice, peace, safe workplace, safe food, bridges, traffic control, public transportation, city parks, state parks, national parks, protection of endangered species, religious freedom.    

              If I believed your thesis that the Democratic party could not exist only on the strength of those issues, I  would quit tomorrow.

              The Democratic party would be stronger if we returned to our roots of supporting issues important to everyone.   If public union workers do not share those Democratic party values, they are welcome to join the other party.

              Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

              by bobtmn on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 07:13:53 AM PDT

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