Public V. Private.Ohio,Wisconsin,Other States Must Slim Down Gov Union Bennies, Especially Public Ed
I wrote the below letter to the editor to a liberal editor at a liberal newspaper (Akron Beacon Journal) in a liberal city (Akron), and so it had to be not so critical of teachers, public employee unions in general, or Democrats at large. That is how you get an editorial written in local newspapers which have the same mindset as the NY Times.
"I can understand why public school teachers would object to being judged by how they perform in schools where undisciplined and uninterested children stifle the teaches so much that they would never be able to "merit" raises.
I cannot understand why teachers do not empathize with the general public's need to have a government which spends budgeted tax money within its means. This is all that Ohio Senate Bill 5 is advocating. With high unemployment, and the
economy and housing not rebounding fully for much of the population, teachers and all public employees should understand that we do not want to starve them, "kill off" their union membership, nor deprive them of that much of their public
employee salaries and benefits. The state of Ohio, as other states, must slim down and tax less in order to attract businesses into a state which otherwise is known as a 'no right to work state.' The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that nearly *16 percent of Americans are either on the unemployment rolls or are discouraged from finding work. The statistics are even worse for
African Americans. This is no time to squabble over a few dollars in benefits that we simply cannot pay the teachers, especially when the educational outcomes are so inadequate."
On any given Sunday, or any other day of the week, local newspapers will be chuck full of op-eds featuring stories expounding on how trimming any public union benefits is tantamount to treason. State legislatures in Ohio, Wisconsin and elsewhere will be fighting union-sponsored impeachments, recall elections, and media campaigns geared to undo states' slimming of over fat, unaffordable budgets.
Day after day after day, public school teachers (the semi literate contingent among public unions) pound those greedy Republican and Tea Party people who want to rob, starve, and kill public unions into nonexistence. One writer this past week had the nerve to write, "Teachers are the only professionals who have not had any increase in wages in the past several years." What?
The fact is, that the amount of money thrown into education has distanced every other investment in real dollars. The cost of colleges has risen 900% in the past thirty years, and the same can be said for elementary and secondary education. And where does the money go? 85% of school funding goes to salaries - and that to mainly teacher and administrator salaries. Meanwhile, it was reported that less than 50% of Detroiters are literate. One billion 300 million dollars is fed into the Detroit public ed system, and as of now, Detroit schools are operating with a 300 million dollar deficit. These stats are are comparable to those in every Democratic city across the country. Poor performance after maximum investment.
I have lived through so many failed education experiments that I cannot count them. Back in the 60's, they tried School Without Walls - the beginning of the "let the child lead the teacher" philosophy. Outcomes Based Education was another loser. Educrats also had the brainstorm that, "If we increase kids self esteem, their school proficiency will accelerate." Notta. Bill Gates convinced the educrats that if you divide a high school into four smaller high schools (within the same building) the kids' cognition will advance. Not so much.
Busing was an extremely expensive experiment which, instead of helping blacks by sending them to white schools, chased white people out into the suburbs - away from the inner city schools. And, they took a lot of tax money with them. Now, many schools are nearly 100% black, such as in Detroit. Citizens who have fought hard to send their children to charter schools, funded by the government (or, us), have been resisted every step of the way by Democrats in general (including Obama), and the Public School Unions in particular. However, when the educrats wanted to initiate an "Afri-Centric" public school in my home town of Akron, that was not problem. But, it became a problem after it was discovered that the Afric-Centric curriculum,including courses on how to bang drums and chant African hymns, could not teach the children to read, write, or do math. The public sponsored Afri-Centric school closed after just a few years of embarrassing results. However, these educrats cannot be embarrassed.
There is always one more futile experiment to try.
... Such as, locally, in the year 2000 about 200 parents of children enrolled in a local black High School (Buchtel) marched into downtown Akron complaining that their children (who were particulary misbehavin') were being over disciplined, and therefore suffering in their learning performance.. The city schools decided to establish a "Zero Tolerance" policy where white kids in other schools would be punished for things such as wearing a shark tooth necklace, so that it would make it seem that the white kids were just as disorderly. At the same school (Buchtel) a newer, new academic program was initiated, and it was promised that this program called "New High Schools" would finally bring children to see the light of educational enlightenment. Well, after ten years of that failed experiment, the local public schools have provided another new program entitled "New Tech High School", which actually hires an outside private corporation to do the brunt of the teaching - all the while fighting voucher and charter schools, which cost much less than public schools, and are safer and more disciplined.
Charter and voucher schools usually do not do that well performance-wise, because their classrooms are stocked with the poorest, worse performing students, whose parents are desperately seeking an alternative to those wild, undisciplined public schools.
There is no end in sight to the many future experiments planned by effete, elitist academics which will be only designed to bluff the tax paying public into believing that unruly kids will finally be irresistibly attracted to a Magic Bullet Curriculum. One local liberal newspaper editor requested that the schools "be given a billion dollars," so as to make school study "exciting." I wrote back and told her that the public schools have been given billions of dollars, and that studying is sometimes drudgery and rote memorization. What, should Big Bird teach every class K through 12th grade?
Speaking of discipline, I do sympathize with the teachers who are not allowed to excercise their in loco parentis rights to seriously discipline young ne'er-do-wells. The teachers' unions have actually requested that corporal punishment be avoided at all costs, not recognizing the deterrent effects that a smack on the butt with a board of education can produce. Aside from that, modern women, especially teachers, abhore physical punishment and according to another liberal group, "corporal punishment always encourages more violence." However, if my rear could speak it would say, "Ouch, that Sister Rose smacked me so good I don't want to disrupt the class again." So, we have lib teachers (mainly women by design) who cannot teach a class to a rowdy group of kids, because these kids know that there is no physical retribution required for their errant behavior. The misbehavior is very disruptive to the majority of kids who do want to learn in a stable, quiet, well mannered classroom - like you see in every other country in the civilized world. Sister Rose could command a class of over 50 boys and girls to keep quiet and sit erect, not having to compete with goof-offs such as myself.
Teachers cannot discipline children as they did, nor can they fail failing children, because this would anger the parents who vote for the levies that pay for the teachers to babysit the children. That is the cycle of life. The money means so much to public ed that around here the schools have paid agents which actually go to the homes of truant kids, who are not attending school, to plead with them to go back to school - just to get their head counted for state funding purposes. When I was a kid, if an "agent" visited your home to find out why you were not attending school, you could be forced to go to juvy, and even sent to a special School For Juvenile Delinquents. Year after year, they have falsely claimed that they needed mo and mo money "for the kids." To be honest, the kids have not been profiting very much at all from levy increases - certainly not as much as the teachers. Test scores bear witness to this.
The all powerful teachers unions are spending gobs of money to challenge Ohio's Senate Bill 5 which would put their benefits package (far better than most people could every dream) off the bargaining table. Ohio teachers are donating through their omnipotent union over 6 million dollars to fight the state's drive to fiscal austerity. Their oligarchy may be ending, as the majority of people who are unemployed (the Burea of Labor Statistics states that 16% of Americans are unemployed or underemployed) would work for a fraction of what they make. Local Akron teachers have been paid full salary to take off with sick time from their teaching jobs to rally and protest Senate Bill 5 - many miles from Akron, even as their substitutes are paid to teach in their absence at a very expensive rate. Add to this, nearly 1 million applicants were recently rejected by hamburger stand McDonald's - when the request went out for new hires by the mega burger franchise.
I don't think public ed teachers will be getting as much sympathy as they have been over the years, even though many of them do very admirable work. Their own union has hamstrung them by throwing out classroom discipline, and not sticking to simpler, proven educational standards that require a stricter classroom atmosphere, and the necessity of failing some kids. We just cannot afford them and their antidemocratic, socialist agendas