Badgered From All Sides!

Bonus extra School of Thought column in TIME tied to teacherageddon in Wisconsin.  It’s ten questions it would be great to hear the Governor, the unions, and President Obama answer about this whole episode:

Last Tuesday, Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, convened hundreds of teachers union leaders and school district leaders in Denver to discuss ways management and labor could work together better. Kumbaya!

Two days later, on Thursday, all hell broke loose in Madison, Wisconsin. The flashpoint was Republican Governor Scott Walker’s plan to address that state’s budget gap by making public employees contribute more to health care coverage and his proposal to eliminate collective bargaining by most public employees — including teachers. Democratic state legislators went into hiding to thwart a vote on the measure and schools closed as thousands of teachers left their classrooms and descended on the state capital.

The two episodes vividly illustrate the hope, and the reality, of labor-management issues in education today. As Madison becomes ground zero for the debate over government spending and public sector reform some hard questions are getting lost in political theatrics and overwrought rhetoric. Here are questions Wisconsin’s governor, labor leaders, and President Obama should have good answers for, and so far don’t:

Read the entire thing here.

9 Replies to “Badgered From All Sides!”

  1. To your Question #10, I would say that the Democratic Senates skedaddle is helping the debate by precluding the premature end of the debate. What’s missing from you question is the context – the proposed change, a major change in policy, is inserted into an emergency budget reconciliation bill, introduced only a few days ago, with a lapdog GOP assembly and senate ready to ramrod the changes through to quick passage. The fact that the Dems left town was the ONLY way to slow this freight train down and give the public and the legislators a chance to think and react to this power grab. I live in Wisconsin, I have many differences of opinions with local teachers unions, but right now. I support them and their Wisconsin Democratic State Senate allies.

  2. The Senate is trying to force the legislature to slow down, think, and listen to its constituents. The Governor is trying to bypass the democratic process and avoid input and discussion.Walker didn’t get elected with a publicized platform to destroy collective bargaining, or a lot of people would not have voted for him.

  3. Question 11:
    Where do those the police and firefighters stand on the issue of bargaining rights?
    Would they like their rights revoke by the legislature?

  4. I’m not sure how much children are suffering from this event. They may not get all the lessons they need, but they still have their books at home, if they’re inclined to study, and they learn a larger lesson about civic duty – many students may have just found a new reason to respect their teachers.

  5. Do you really think that children are at home with books studying while their schools are shut down? Come on, lets think realistic for a moment. The school year consist of already to many general days off and holiday breaks. Everyday lost is another day that these children are going to get further behind. Our education system is already behind other nations and continuing to loose more ground. The text asked this question “Is closing schools for days (especially in places like Milwaukee, where students can least afford it) so teachers can go to the state capital to protest really the best way to persuade the public that this is all about serving children?” I thought this question absolutely needed a answer.

    No, it’s not professional to leave your job and leave innocent kids barring the consequences of your actions. Your job is to teach, to further the education of the youth and to help in the advancement of our society. Your being selfish! We’ve all have had to make sacrafices during these hard times and there’ll be more to come if our state and federal deficit continue to increase. Lets take care of these problems now, make the neccessary cuts now and later down the road we can all prosper.

  6. I have to respond to Mr. Dinardi’s comment above: “Your job is to teach, to further the education of the youth and to help in the advancement of our society. Your being selfish!”

    Teachers have a job. They are paid for their job (often not very well) and despite their mediocre pay, most teachers devote many extra hours each week to their job. They are not martyrs, they do not work for free, and they do not work “for the children” to the detriment of their own livelihood and health.

    As a former teacher, it angers me when non-teachers berate educators for caring about their quality of life, when professional adults in all other fields are of course permitted to care about their salaries, benefits and other aspects of their jobs. Teachers, social workers, nurses and other individuals in “helping” professions are not immune from the need to pay their bills like any other person. It’s hitting below the belt to criticize teachers for “not caring about the children” when they advocate for themselves.

  7. The private sector pays for the public sector. The private sector has been hammered in the recession; the public sector has to adjust but they refuse. Utah pays half of what Wisconsin pays per pupil with higher test scores. The citizens of Wisconsin have not been getting good value for their education dollar. Yet the union insists on keeping the status quo.

  8. Re Taxpayer,
    I’m sure the teachers in Wisconsin, as elsewhere, will be relieved to know that they don’t have to pay income taxes.
    Maybe you can help find these taxes that have been coming out of their checks and get them back to the teachers.
    While you do that, maybe you find those in Wisconsin who have refused to adjust. Even George Will said those supporting the status quo are a minority of a minority.
    So Utah pays spends half of what Wisconsin pays?
    Are their scores double?
    4th grade reading Utah 220 Wisconsin 219
    8th grade reading UT 266 WI 266
    4th grade math UT 240 WI 244
    8th grade math UT 284 WI 288

    Oh yeah, those are higher test scores.
    By your level of discussion, you must be a Wisconsin public school graduate.

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