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Posts Tagged ‘NEA’

With the Unions, it’s ON!!


And if you don’t believe me, Just listen to the luminaries of the left like Jessie Jackson or Michael Moore.  They’re calling for blood in the streets, though they haven’t yet come right out and said “get a weapon”, their tone and their meaning is clear.

A bigger fish, film director Michael Moore, announced on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Wednesday that, “This is war. This is class war,” and that a national walkout of government school students would happen Friday. Jesse Jackson told Fox News that public unions will retain collective bargaining or “you’re going to have it through the streets. People here will fight back because they think their cause is moral.”

Read more…

A Lesson in Winning at Hardball.



Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The PEOPLE won one yesterday. And it is potentially a huge win. The score is now People 1, Public Employee Unions 0.

And thank you John Kasich the new Republican Governor of Ohio. That’s right, Ohio. A union stronghold state, and they booted public employee unions.

Republicans, and it must be noted that they were split on this issues, won a big victory in Ohio with the state Senate passing SB05, a bill that basically strips public employees of most collective bargaining rights.  The bill now goes to the Ohio House where Republicans hold a solid majority and then on to the Governor for his signature.  Cleveland.com describes the highlights of the bill this way…

The bill redefines what contract terms public workers can collectively bargain with their employer. Wages can still be negotiated. Health care benefits, pension pick-ups and other provisions, however, will be off the table. And management can decide to negotiate other terms, including safety forces’ equipment.

The bill also bans public workers from striking, establishes penalties for striking — including jail time — and establishes a new system for resolving labor disputes. Instead of binding arbitration, the employer’s legislative body, such as a city council, would decide whether to side with a union or management.

A merit-based pay system would be established . If workers are laid off, length of employment could not be the only factor under consideration.

This is a great start and needless to say, unions and Democrats (sorry for the redundancy) are apoplectic over this.

“This law is not only unjust, it is unconscionable,” Sen. Nina Turner, a Cleveland Democrat, said. “But it is also un-American. It strips middle class Americans of their rights.”

Hardly Senator Turner.  It’s just a decent start at leveling the playing field and putting the ball into the hands of the people who have to pay for the contracts that up until now have largely gone un-reviewed and unnoticed and are going to run the state, as well as the cities and towns on Ohio, into either bankruptcy or the Ohio river.  The parts of this particular law that have the ability to begin to be game changers include the following provisions:

  • Ban strikes by public workers, including teachers.
  • Establishes penalties, including jail time, for strikers.
  • Eliminates binding arbitration.
  • Puts the legislative body responsible for finding the money to pay for contracts in charge of contractual decisions.
  • Merit pay.
  • Benefits are off the table.

Let’s make no mistake about this win folks.  It, in itself, is no game changer.  It’s still the bottom of the first inning of what will be a very long game.  Labor and Democrats won’t take this lying down (they will lie about though), the war is just beginning and it’s not like the Republican Party is solidly behind either Governor Kasich or the idea of neutering public employee unions.  Six Republicans in the Ohio Senate joined Democrats and we ended up with a one vote win.  But “W” is a “W”, just ask Obama.  Governor Kasich and the Republican leadership – who could give lessons to their Washington DC counterparts – had to play real hardball to win this victory.  In order to get the bill out of committee and to the floor for a final vote they had to address a problem very much like the problems faced by Conservatives in the US Senate with the swing vote against the bill in committee was “Republican” Bill Seitz from Cincinnati.  Cleveland.com notes that the Republican leadership took matters in hand and replaced Seitz on the committee with a pro-sanity Republican, Sen. Cliff Hite, of Findlay.  The bill was then voted out of committee and to the floor on a 7-5 vote.

So, I’m pleased to start the day on a positive note and I trust Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans are taking note of the win in Ohio.  This can be the start of a roll-up for Republicans and for the people who have to pay the bills.  Republican administrations in several states are looking hard at similar legislation, including Iowa, Pennsylvania and Florida.  It’s time to build a real head of steam and take out the trash.  And just so there’s absolutely no misunderstanding, the picture to the right is the leftovers from a union demonstration in Wisconsin and yes, I am absolutely equating pubic employee unions to trash.

The problem with education…

February 28, 2011 1 comment

…is three-fold. First, unionized teachers. Second, administrators. Third, the politicians who employ them.

OK, got the message on the sign?

We don’t pay teachers enough.  At least according to this American Federation of Teachers picket. I’m sure the larger and leftier National Education Association agrees. As does every Democrat elected official or wanna-be-elected-official in the country, given that the NEA and the AFT fund Democrats and in the 2007-08 cycle,

The National Education Association has earned a reputation for using campaign contributions to purchase the loyalty of lawmakers at the federal and state levels. 

In the 2007-08 election cycle, for instance, the union, through its political action committees, spent a whopping $56 million on various candidates and state ballot proposals. That ranked the NEA as the largest political contributor in the nation, outspending the second-place donor by more than $12 million.

The smaller American Federation of Teachers doesn’t give as much, but it’s still a major player in the purchase-a-politician game. In 2007-08 the AFT spent about $12 million on candidates and ballot proposals. The two teachers unions even combined to form a third PAC, “NEA AFT,” which spent more than $3.3 million on campaign contributions.

As one writer recently put it, “America’s two teachers unions outspent AT&T, Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, General Electric, Chevron, Pfizer, Morgan Stanley, Lockheed Martin, FedEx, Boeing, Merrill Lynch, Exxon Mobil, Lehman Brothers and the Walt Disney Corporation – combined.”

 

OK, you got that? More than fifteen of the largest corporations in the world, evil corporations that the Democrats are constantly railing about, give to political parties. Oh, and virtually every dollar of the NEA/AFT money goes to Democrats. I didn’t look, but I’d be willing to bet the money given by corporations is closer to 50/50. And just where do you think the money comes from? Well, that would be from dues the unions collect – for the most part on a mandatory basis – from teachers who are required to join the union and pay the dues. Bottom line, unions launder taxpayers money through teachers to Democrats so Democrats will pay teachers more and hire more administrators.

So, what’s all that got to do with “education”? Thanks for asking. From the New York Post

The Department of Education pays about 1,500 teachers for time they spend on union activities — and pays other teachers to replace them in the classroom. 

It’s a sweetheart deal that costs taxpayers an extra $9 million a year to pay fill-ins for instructors who are sprung — at full pay — to carry out responsibilities for the United Federation of Teachers.

With Mayor Bloomberg calling for thousands of teacher layoffs to balance the 2012 budget, critics say it’s time to halt the extravagant benefit.
[…]
That $9 million would cover the salaries of 198 new teachers at the current annual $45,530 starting pay

The DOE lets 40 experienced teachers collect top pay and fringe benefits, but work just one class period a day.
[…]
English teacher Tom Dromgoole, for instance, collects top teacher pay, $100,049 a year, from the DOE for his slot at Leadership and Public Service HS in downtown Manhattan. But he is relieved for most of the day to serve as a UFT high school rep. The UFT supplements his salary by $50,461…

Read the whole article if you’ve got a strong stomach or access to lots of alcohol.

And then there’s the Central Falls High School in Central Falls RI. Last year the school district announced they would close the HS because it was a complete failure and had been for a long, long time. Graduation rate was less than 50% and 93% of students scored below “proficient” on standardized tests. There was great howling and gnashing of teeth by the teachers – who average $76K in a blue collar town where the average Vinnie makes $22K – and the district negotiated a plan to make everything nice-nice. The teachers all got raises. You can read about the initial announcement here.

Well, last week the district announced that CFHS had risen from the ashes and was a transformed school. Here’s what a five-year transformation plan looks like:

The percentage of students scoring proficient or above in math was 12 percent in 2010, but the 2011 target is 25 percent and the 2012 target is 40 percent. in reading, 65 percent of students were proficient or above in 2010, while the 2011 target is 75 percent and the 2012 target is 85 percent. The district committed to improving the school culture created a Parent-Teacher-Student Organization. 

Got THAT? Instead of firing the idiots who are being paid three times the average wage in the town to teach kids and move the kids to a currently successful school or open a charter school, they keep kids in this pit for another five years. And instead of the 88% who couldn’t add a column of numbers last year, only 75% will be unable to this year. According to the plan. No report on reality yet.

Posting guidelines for a family site prevent me from expressing how I really feel. But I will note that Florida Governor Scott has the right idea – shut down public schools entirely, provide parents with vouchers and use them in private/charter schools.

Governor Walker, in a side note, don’t back down in Wisconsin.

More on the failure of “education” in the US.

December 15, 2010 1 comment

Or maybe that should be “the failure of ‘educators’ in the US.”

Over the last week, we’ve highlighted what seems to be the growing realization that the education establishment – and that would be the NEA and their union cohorts, the so-called schools of education that produce the idiots who have run our school systems into the tank and the politicians of both parties who support them – is a failed institution. In our first article, about parents in Compton, CA who are using a new state law to take over a failed public school and replace it with a charter school, a spokesman for the California Teacher’s Association, Frank Wells, made this statement…

“Were all the alternatives considered to help turn this school around?”

This, at a school that’s been failing the kids and parents it’s supposed to be serving for a couple of generations at a minimum.

Yesterday, a new report was published that gets at the crux of the problem with our schools. The report is from The Fordham Institute.

The study, “Are Bad Schools Immortal?,” examined more than 2,000 of the worst-performing district and charter schools in 10 states over five years. It found that very few of them closed, and even fewer – about 1 percent – truly “turned around.”

“So far, [turnarounds] happen rarely and unsystematically,” says Chester Finn, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which released the study. “And nobody to my knowledge has a proven recipe for making it happen in a reliable or predictable or scalable way…. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

That may be bad news for the Obama administration…

It’s important to note that this report was produced by part of the education establishment and that makes the conclusion rather earth-shaking. As for the “bad news for the Obama administration”? Well, it’s bad news because RexO™ and his party leaders spend a significant amount of time and legislative energy on their collective knees before the educators and their PACs. The education lobby is one of the major funding sources for the Democratic Party.

THIS is a picture of the state of “education” in the US…

Second point from the article, with respect to the gentleman from Fordham, yes there is a tried and true method for dealing with failed institutions, shut the damn things down. The parents in Compton figured that out a long time ago, the State of California just got around to giving them – note THEM – the ability to actually do it.

The authors of the article go on to discuss how hard the problem is to deal with…

“We haven’t actually been investing resources in this question for very long,” says Justin Cohen, president of Mass Insight Education’s School Turnaround Group in Boston. “We’ve been spending a lot of money on light-touch stuff…. I think the conclusion you should draw from this is that you need to try something dramatic.”

Some chronically poor-performing schools probably do need to be closed, Mr. Cohen acknowledges. But others, he believes, can turn around quickly if important elements are truly changed and not just tweaked. And to be successful, he says, districts can’t shy away from political lightning rods such as changing collective-bargaining agreements or the terms of employment for administrators.

In other words, it’s time for an ox goring party. And the ox would be the people who are irresponsible with the future of our children and our nation – teachers unions and politicians who serve them.

They go on to note that both public and charter schools fail and that the closure rate for failing charter schools is higher than for failing public schools. They also note that with charter schools, they are designed to close if they don’t live up to their obligation to actually educate children.

Where I part company with the folks from Fordham is on the action plan. They want to design a new turnaround model that recognizes the difficulty of the job. I don’t like that idea at all. You’ve got generations of families who’ve already paid a horrendous price for the incompetence and failure of the educators who’ve run their schools into the ground, why would we want to extract that continuing payment from another generation? We shouldn’t.

The Compton model is a solution. It requires parents that care about their kids enough to get up and do something – start a petition drive and find a charter school provider – and gives them the ability to actually accomplish their goal of having a quality education for their kids. Another great idea is taking root – hopefully – in Florida. Incoming Governor Rick Scott is talking about a statewide voucher-type program and he’s already enlisting allies in the legislature and has Jeb Bush’s education foundation solidly behind him.

To quote somebody, and in a completely new context, “It’s for the children…”

There may well be good things happening in the land folks. Stay tuned…