Teachers Unions – Not about the Kids
Nov 6th, 2010 by johnbeagle

Some teachers only support the union passively, they don’t want to rock the boat. But they also don’t like the idea that union dues are used to finance political things that many don’t want, don’t agree with.In the US, teachers unions are motivated to retain good and bad teachers to help maintain the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in dues. They don’t want to rock the boat by firing anyone. That would be bad publicity for the unions.

“Teachers Union leaders’ are primarily interested in more money to hire more teachers, who are then likely to become dues-paying union members as evidenced by this quote from

Al Shanker, former President of the American Federation of Teachers,

“I don’t represent the children.

I represent the teachers.”

Merit Pay vs Tenure

Our teachers can not be given raises base on merit. In Ohio, for example, after 5 years, public school teachers receive what’s commonly called “tenure,” a special employment protection that teachers unions defend. As federal statistics indicate, teachers with just a couple years of experience are practically impossible to fire. The Ohio Teachers firing rate of teachers with 3+ years experience is 1.91% vs 9.8% for private schools without unions.

Nationally, the NEA Representative Assembly passed a resolution that explicitly condemns offering higher pay to math, science, and foreign language teachers for positions a school district is having trouble filling than to any other teachers: “The Association opposes providing additional compensation to attract and/or retain education employees in hard-to-recruit positions….”

The National Education Association (NEA) employs a larger number of political organizers than the Republican and Democratic National Committees combined. This is pure political clout and that clout trickles down to local school unions including Monroe. The NEA assist local teachers unions, like the MEA with collective bargaining by supplying negotiation experience that often vastly outstrips the resources of a local school district.

Teachers Union Membership Dues go to a One – Sided Political Agenda
Unionized teachers have little choice when it comes to helping the unions promote their one-sided political agenda. A complaint I have heard from numerous teachers over the past two decades. Dues overwhelmingly go to democrat candidates and democrat pro-union policy support including advertising against charter schools, school choice and merit pay.

How do Teachers, Principals, Superintendents and School Boards View Teachers Unions?
According to a 1980 Cornell University study survey, each group sees unions differently. Principals were likely to be less in favor of unions vs everyone else employed in the school system. The study surveys attitudes of school personnel toward teacher unions and draws some implications concerning the dynamics of labor relations in school systems.

Reference: Bacharach and Mitchells paper titled: Labor Relations in School Systems; Attitudes toward Teachers Unions across School District Hierarchies

Teachers, principals, superintendents, and school board members responded to questions on what areas unions should be involved in, degree of satisfaction with the local, and the state of labor management relations in the district.

Teachers showed general satisfaction with their local and favored more union involvement in all areas addressed.

Principals felt constrained by many work-related benefits teachers have obtained and saw the union as disrupting their ability to run their schools.

Although superintendents were more strongly opposed to union involvement in work-related areas and more unsympathetic to economic demands than principals, they were very satisfied with the union and with labor relations because they perceived the unions as a medium for dealing with the entire staff.

School Boards
School boards regarded the unions as limiting their ability to develop policy and administer schools economically and wanted unions to decrease levels of involvement in all areas. Thus a graduated shift in attitudes is seen as one moves up the district hierarchy, with attitudes reflecting the degree to which the union has helped or hindered the respondent’s job performance.

Why do All Teachers Seem Support the Union?
As a group, teachers are not very political, they just want to teach. Generally, teachers are put in a position where they are better off supporting the union rather than fighting the union. So many just prefer to not ‘rock the boat’. They just stick it out with the union, just like generations before them.

Sources: Personal Interviews, State University of New York, Ithaca, Cornell University, Teachers Unions Exposed, the New York Post, Washington Times

Other Suggested reading: The Failed UAW Monopoly

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Education is Waiting for Superman
Oct 6th, 2010 by johnbeagle

Bias in Education is alive and well in the ‘drop out factories’ of America.  In a new movie Guggenheim the director of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, yes the Al Gore film, does a much better job of telling the truth about our failing education system. Schools in America are indeed failing. It might take all the superhero moms and dads in the world to save our schools.

In the superman movies, the hero rushes in to save the day. Where is superman to save Anthony from a family legacy of drug abuse or Daisy a fifth grader in a failing school system. Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim shocks us back to reality when he tells the stories of real life American school children. They have a face and a name, Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of WAITING FOR SUPERMAN. WAITING FOR SUPERMAN follows a these promising kids in a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth.

The film is essentially a review of public education, surveying “drop-out factories” and “academic sinkholes,” methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems. Guggenheim also questions teachers’ unions, which sometimes act against the best interests of students. He’s particularly concerned about underperforming instructors who suffer no disciplinary measures due to tenure, but he credits the dedicated professionals who help at-risk kids beat the odds. The film ends with a potentially happy outcome for one subject, but updates on the others fail to materialize.

Join the national conversation on the failing education system in America, take action and then go out and help reform education in your town. ‘Involved’ parents have a huge advantage over parents who are ‘un-involved’ who accept whatever the school dishes out.

Start by watching the movie : Waiting for Superman

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California Student Expelled For Having Unloaded Gun Off-Campus
Nov 22nd, 2009 by admin

California Student Expelled For Having Unloaded Gun Off-Campus

Gary Tudesko, a  junior at Willows High School in Willows, California has been suspended for having unloaded shotguns in his pick-up truck.  However, the truck was not parked on school campus.   The Willows Unified School District board of trustees voted 4-0 in a public hearing to expel the sixteen-year-old, after the guns were found by scent-sniffing dogs.   When this occurred, Tudesko was brought out to the truck and asserted that the guns and shells were in the vehicle, allowing it to be searched.  Police also found a three-inch knife and are holding all of the potential weapons. 

The student’s mother, Susan Parisio, defended her son at the hearing and claimed that he should have stored the shotguns properly after a day of bird hunting, but insisted the district’s policies don’t extend to off-campus property.   She also claimed her family has owned guns for her son’s entire life and that ammunition was found in other students’ cars but they were not expelled.

While the school’s principal and district officials did not dispute that the truck was not on school property, they did attempt to justify their decision.  Principal Mort Geivett said the school is responsible for students traveling to and from school and it was his belief that students shouldn’t possess weapons within 1,000 feet of campus.  

Tudesko apologized to the school board, but insisted that he didn’t want to be late to school and felt that parking in a public place that was on school grounds would prevent him from getting in trouble.  The school board failed to comment on their decision. 

So, was this a case of government officials using their authority to force their anti-Second Amendment rights agenda?  I can’t be sure of that, but assuming there are no extraneous details, I can assume the School Board is out of line by expelling the student.  

I understand the principal’s desire to be safe, rather than sorry, but I don’t feel that he was within his right, nor was the school board.  Punishing a student based on “beliefs” rather than rules and regulations is, in my opinion, unconstitutional.  The student was within his right to carry the guns in his car and never brought them on campus. As far as I know,  the student didn’t even threaten or talk about bringing the firearms on campus.   If the principal “believes” that students shouldn’t be allowed to bring weapons to school, he should act on making this into a school policy, not make one single student into an example and permanently ruin that student’s record.

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