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Why teacher's unions need to be controlled

pilotyip

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from the WSJ 3-2-11
No good idea goes unchallenged by the forces of the educational status quo, but the tactics they're using to stop the first experiment at "parent trigger" school reform in California sure are revealing—and ugly.

As we reported in December, a majority of parents (more than 250) have exercised their right under a new state law to petition to replace the administrators at McKinley Elementary school in Compton, California and invite a charter-school operator to take over.

McKinley is one of the worst schools in one of the worst-performing districts in the country. Fewer than half of the Compton Unified School District's students graduate from high school, and only 3.3% of those graduates are eligible to attend California's public universities. The parents want McKinley to be run by Celerity Educational Group, which operates three high-performing charters in the Los Angeles area.

The educational empire has not taken this well. At a PTA meeting teachers urged parents to rescind their petitions, and during school hours they pressured students whose parents supported the trigger effort.

When that intimidation failed, the school district suddenly came up with a new signature-verification process. The district required parents—many of whom work multiple jobs—to show up at McKinley at appointed times on one of two days. It also required parents to bring official photo identification, knowing that some of them are illegal immigrants. (The Supreme Court said schools must educate children of illegals in Plyler v. Doe, 1982.)

The parents have sued to stop this harassment. "This is akin to an elected official who is subject to a recall petition requiring that each voter meet with his office," said their legal team from Kirkland & Ellis, which is working pro bono. "The District intends to make it more difficult to petition a local school for reform than vote for President of the United States."

A judge issued a temporary restraining order stopping the district's verification gambit, so the empire struck back again, declaring last week at a hastily-called community meeting that every petition had been disqualified on technicalities: Some legal code numbers were mistyped, for example, and some petitions weren't stapled. Really. The parents will now also challenge this in court.

Meanwhile, the powers in Sacramento are trying to undermine parent trigger statewide. On his first day in office, Governor Jerry Brown replaced seven reform members of the state board of education with union allies, including a lobbyist for the California Teachers Association. The new board immediately announced that it would write new rules to govern the parent trigger law, throwing out eight months of work by the previous board.

In addition, state Assemblywoman Julia Brownley and new state schools chief Tom Torlakson—both of whom voted against parent trigger last year—are drafting what they call "cleanup legislation" to amend the law. Expect "cleanup" to equal repeal: When Sacramento first debated the trigger option, Ms. Brownley proposed allowing parents in failing schools to petition only for "public testimony and comment."

This is nasty business, another example of rigging the system to help the adults who run it rather than the children it is supposed to serve. Would it be too much for Education Secretary Arne Duncan or President Obama to speak up for the parents and kids of Compton?
 

rigger

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And this surprises any thinking person......the moochers are winning yip.....these parents only recourse isto move and leave the state to the ilk of who has been running it for 60 years.....hows it working thus far.....oooops
 

maru657

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This argument is allegorical to what is occurring in Wisconsin, however I suspect you got your facts from fux news. In context the real news is that idiot in Wisconsin and the other tea bagger politicians elected in 2010 due to voter apathy and please note these are as usual a bunch of chicken hawk, no load, never worked a day in their lives, typical repubs. Ann Ryand ? These not been an original idea from them in their entire lives and if an original concept did occur, their heads would explode just from the pressure of it. They fit right in with Shrub and Little Dick Cheaney.
 

pilotyip

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This argument is allegorical to what is occurring in Wisconsin, however I suspect you got your facts from fux news. In context the real news is that idiot in Wisconsin and the other tea bagger politicians elected in 2010 due to voter apathy and please note these are as usual a bunch of chicken hawk, no load, never worked a day in their lives, typical repubs. Ann Ryand ? These not been an original idea from them in their entire lives and if an original concept did occur, their heads would explode just from the pressure of it. They fit right in with Shrub and Little Dick Cheaney.
WSJ, not Fox News

BTW, everyone is now doing it including the Dem's

Heavily Democratic Massachusetts on Friday became the latest state to curtail public workers' collective-bargaining rights, as lawmakers approved a $30.6 billion budget that gives cities and towns greater leeway to force employees to pay more for their health care.

The restrictions come as states including Ohio and Wisconsin, where Republicans control the governor's office and legislature, have been attacking collective bargaining.

More-recent moves elsewhere show Democrats, long union allies, are starting to demand more savings from public employees as well. In New Jersey, the Democrat-controlled legislature recently passed cuts to pension and health-care benefits pushed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

In Massachusetts, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, a Democrat, said after Friday's vote that "this common-sense reform will save $100 million for cities and towns and preserve the jobs of fire-fighters, police officers and teachers."

Currently, state employees in Massachusetts don't have collective-bargaining rights for health care, while municipal employees do. The new budget, which takes effect in the fiscal year that began Friday, allows municipal officials, if they choose, to change current co-payments, deductibles and certain other out-of-pocket costs—although employees can't be forced to pay more for health insurance than state employees pay.

The law requires municipalities to have a month-long discussion with unions before making changes. If the two sides can't agree, a three-person panel, made up of representatives from both sides and a neutral party, will begin to implement the changes, and can make modifications.

Members of a labor coalition said Friday that while they agreed that municipalities needed to curb health-care costs, they were disappointed with the plan and worried that vulnerable employees would face unworkable out-of-pocket expenses.

Employees will be "seeking changes to protect retirees and people who are very sick," said the Public Employees' Coalition on Municipal Health Insurance, which includes teachers, fire-fighters and other employee unions in the state.

Geoff Beckwith, of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, a nonpartisan group representing cities and towns, called the plan a "strong compromise that will save taxpayers money" while still giving public employees a voice at the table. He said health-care costs take up as much as 15% of some local budgets, "where it used to be 7% or 8%," and that rising costs are forcing layoffs.

"The unions may not be happy, but that's because they've advocated for the status quo and the status quo can't stand," he said.

The budget now goes to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, who has 10 days to review it. His spokesman wouldn't say whether the governor supported the health-care changes. But the spokesman said that in the past, the governor has stated that cities and towns need to save on health care, while also giving labor a seat at the table.

Write to Jennifer Levitz at jennifer.levitz@wsj
 
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maru657

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WSJ, editorial page, just another version of fux news. Try an original thought someday.
 

pilotyip

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WSJ, editorial page, just another version of fux news. Try an original thought someday.
that is an easy out, as if the libs have original thoughts while signing the I love BO song.
 

maru657

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I don't know about the "libs" but the new right wingnuts can be garunteed to spouting in unison, in 4 part harmony, with gusto, what ever doush limpbaugh and the gay right are proselytizing at any given moment and the tea baggers are the new boy in town except he sounds just like the old boy.
 

Whistlin' Dan

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McKinley is one of the worst schools in one of the worst-performing districts in the country. Fewer than half of the Compton Unified School District's students graduate from high school, and only 3.3% of those graduates are eligible to attend California's public universities. The parents want McKinley to be run by Celerity Educational Group, which operates three high-performing charters in the Los Angeles area.
As is so often the case, the parents would like to blame school administrators for their kid's poor acasemic performance. Along comes an organization which claims to operate independently of the local school board, but which is in fact comprised of many of the same people and will be forced by economics to employ many of the same teachers, but which nevertheless promises to improve the performance of the local schools. Exactly how they are going to do that is usually shrouded in mystery, but usually invokes language dealing with "government waste and inefficiency" and the "evils of public unions"

Shades of Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man," anybody?

This is just another ploy to transfer a public asset (one which is owned by the taxpayers) into private hands (which is owned by a for-profit organization and which contributes heavily to the campaign coffers of the politicians who are giving it away)

It's also a convenient way to transfer reponsibility for a failing educational system away from the home and students themselves, and into some large, mysterious organization like a "school board" (who, despite meetings which are held in public and announced well in advance, are usually poorly-attended).

I understand taxpayers frustration with increasing taxes and shrinking government services. But this is such a bad deal in so many ways, that it would only make sense to the residents of "Compton, California"
 

pilotyip

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As is so often the case, the parents would like to blame school administrators for their kid's poor acasemic performance. Along comes an ..........reasing taxes and shrinking government services. But this is such a bad deal in so many ways, that it would only make sense to the residents of "Compton, California"
Have you seen "Waiting for Superman"?
 

Whistlin' Dan

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Have you seen "Waiting for Superman"?
No I have not. According to Wiki, however, the movie and the conclusions it draws are somewhat controversial. That doesn't mean that it's not deserving of my time or attention, only that it should not be taken as a sole-source of information on the subject.

I'll be sure to watch it, but first I have to find a job... :)

Most of my impressions about public education I take from my own experience in that system, that of my children and the children of friends, and by having close relatives in key positions in that system up to and through the post-secondary level. Are there problems in public education? Yes....and I hear about them on an almost-daily basis. Will those problems be solved by privatizing "public" education, breaking the unions, and cutting teacher pay? I'm not convinced of that, and neither is anybody I'm aware of who has actually spent time on the front lines of that battle.

"Public schools" are to an "educated populace" what a blast furnace is to the making of steel, in that neither creates a product, they simply refine whatever is loaded into them. Ten-tons of horse crap heated to 2,200 degrees and blasted with oxygen is still just a lot of stinking, flaming horse crap. Likewise, for a kid whose ultimate goal is to become a pimp or a street-thug, an education, no matter how well-funded or well-intentioned, is a waste of his time and our money.
 

livin'thesim

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Victory for the overburdened taxpayer.

Defeat for the greedy and childish.
 

pilotyip

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Victory for the overburdened taxpayer.

Defeat for the greedy and childish.
In the light of the Walker victory, this thread started in Mar of 2011 seems even more significant. The lower income private workers are done with this tax and give to public employees. It is not the nasty greedy GOP, but the 67% of the people calling themselves "Blue Collar" workers than supported Walker and his efforts to bring reality into public employee compensation and benefits. There is hope we may avoid becoming Greece.
 

Whistlin' Dan

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In the light of the Walker victory, this thread started in Mar of 2011 seems even more significant. The lower income private workers are done with this tax and give to public employees. It is not the nasty greedy GOP, but the 67% of the people calling themselves "Blue Collar" workers than supported Walker and his efforts to bring reality into public employee compensation and benefits. There is hope we may avoid becoming Greece.
Yeah. We can become like Honduras instead.

Kinda hard to resolve words like "greedy" and "childish" when you're talking about the Koch Bros...
 

maru657

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Got to break those nasty teacher's unions. They have the gall to teach stuff like Civics and history. If these kids actually learn how govt works they might vote all of the chickenhawks and teabaggers out.
 

pilotyip

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Got to break those nasty teacher's unions. They have the gall to teach stuff like Civics and history. If these kids actually learn how govt works they might vote all of the chickenhawks and teabaggers out.
Have you seen "Waiting for Superman"?
 

maru657

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Saw the flick, was not impressed. Cognitive dissonance was expressed in a film. It's kind of like the screamers leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Richard Clark resigned over that and part of the reason schools are strapped for cash and the VA hospital system is in such poor shape is that your "fiscally conservative" pals spent the country so deep into debt that it will take 20 years to repair the damage. Find me one Repub that can balance a budget or win a war.
 
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