"Quality" Teachers for Wisconsin – UPDATED

Photosource, Althouse, taken by Meade.


They need teachers who can instruct them to love the qualifiers that denote the character of a quality – whether it is high-or-low, good-or-bad teachers that they neen and want.

But apparently Wisconsin students are being pulled from their necessary classes in order to help teachers protest “whatever this dude [Governor Scott Walker] is doin’.

My favorite observation on this story
of schools closing so teachers may protest — and offer their dragged-along students some dubious “lessons” — has been made by Glenn Reynolds:

So, at the demonstrations are they saying that we shouldn’t limit children’s educations over concerns about money? Because that’s kinda ironic. . . .

Yeah! Because public schools neen more money and Cadillac-class benefits for teachers of unspecified quality.

As I wrote the other day:

On some level, what is weak knows that it is weak; it understands that foundationally, it cannot support the weight of its own ideas, much less endure an opposing wind. And because weakness knows this, it goes out of its way to deflect the opposition by sowing confusion, chaos, guilt, fear. These are the by-products of weakness and its attendant insecurity.

The teacher’s unions have been sowing weakness for far too long, and getting away with it. And now, strength is rising up. But it needs to be sustained.

Seems to me, all the governors had better learn from the big man, and hang tough or their office will be meaningless.

Look, I am the daughter of union folk; I appreciate why unions were initially formed. I also understand, however, that for too long unions have overplayed their hands, and we’ve reached a point of unsustainability. The money is not there. Tax revenues may have been at their highest levels in 2006 (as the NY Times even admitted) but tax revenues are currently (by at least one measure) at 1950′s levels, and something’s gotta give. The rest of us in the private sector are going without raises, seeing cuts to our benefits, ungodly increases in our insurance premiums and so forth. The unions have to either share the burden or lose the goodwill of the public. They’re right on the edge, right now. Are they going to be smart enough to pull back?

Watch this video

We neen more governors willing to lead, and to make the hard turns that are going to be needed if we’re going to avoid hitting an iceberg.

Take a closer look at the top photo and note the hangman’s noose. And the hyperbole. How is it that the people who are loudly demanding “civility” on one hand are so quick to paint Hitlerian mustaches on a man over a policy dispute? Jay Nordlinger writes:

Many of the letters from Wisconsin today have to do with violence: threats against Governor Walker and members of his administration, the increases in their security details, their worries about their spouses and children, and so on. I have heard from people closely connected to the threatened individuals. Their letters are hard to take.

The last few days have made quite clear that, if you cross the public-employee unions, you run risks: and not merely political risks (which are nothing).

Do the public-sector unions want to overturn an election?

Ed Morrissey:

. . .taking the kids out of classes to march with them underscores another significant concern of the public regarding education. Most of the students marching with their teachers had no idea of the finer points of Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to bring teacher pension contributions in line with the private sector, a position the union called “slavery” just a couple of months before conceding the point. Nor do they understand the budget gap that Walker faces, or the nuances of economic policy, tax burdens, and growth policies. All they know is what their teachers told them — and that speaks to political indoctrination conducted in public schools by activist teachers, and the inability of parents and communities to weed out inappropriate politicking in classrooms.

Tipping points and overplayed hands; that’s when strength rises up.

Stay strong, Governors. It’s for the children!

More pictures at Althouse. What a messy bunch. But they’re “great workers.”

Heh. Irony.

Noisy Room: Obama hasn’t been following Wisconsin but supports the unions.

The flu is still going ’round


First, Walker hasn’t “outlowed” unions, or even proposed outlawing them, either. Walker’s proposal would restrict negotiations with non-law-enforcement unions to wages only, and would require recertification votes each year. It would also make Wisconsin a right-to-work state, ending automatic deduction of union dues from paychecks and instead make them voluntary. That may put unions in a tough position to justify their continued representation, but it hardly outlaws the unions.

Besides, even if it did, it’s a fallacious argument. Hitler was also a vegetarian who owned a dog. Are all vegetarians Nazis? All dog owners? The Nazis aren’t history’s great villains because Hitler opposed public-sector unions. To equate that with Naziism isn’t just reprehensible, it’s downright ignorant and minimizes the actual horrors of Naziism.

And then there’s that tax-revenue issue again…

Ed Driscoll: Financial Catastrope Denialists

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • commonsenseohio

    Because, who are they are organizing against? their employers? who are they employed by? THE TAXPAYER…but when we the taxpayer, want to cut costs we can’t cause it’s for the chillllllreeeennn!!
    If they really cared about the students the wouldn’t be calling in sick, shutting down the schools, and actually do their jobs

  • Newyogi

    Unfortunately, Jean, you are the enemy. And so am I. Not the enemy of the fine people who write here. They are merely deceived into thinking that somebody else can be deprived of something and everything else will be better.

    Hence Elizabeth: “The rest of us in the private sector are going without raises, seeing cuts to our benefits, ungodly increases in our insurance premiums and so forth. The unions have to either share the burden or lose the goodwill of the public.”

    They are absolutely disconnected from any notion of cause and effect and any capacity to seek out evidence and reason from it to discern cause and effect. For them, things “just happen” and the fact that they are “burdened” has nothing to do with real and specific decisions made by specific people with more power than any of us have. Decisions which could have been made differently.

    We are, however, the enemy of the people who do everything they can to manipulate the fine people here and lead them around by the nose. These individuals are largely found in the nexus between money, politics, and influence. They usually occupy elected office, have a prominent place on corporate Boards Of Directors, or work in the lobbying offices that are the liason between the other two.

    They actually know very well that things don’t “just happen” because what they do makes things happen. So you won’t here them talking about “sharing burdens”. Why should they? They largely don’t have any.

    And, if they can help it, you won’t hear them say to you what, in private, they say to each other: If somebody else is deprived of something, my power or my money will increase. If you hang around them a while, which I have on occasion, they will slip and say it to you. They even slip on occasion and say it in the hearing of the press.

    Unfortunately, at least in the short term, they are often right.

  • Beatrix


    Nothing to do with lords and ladies; I’m saying that a huge portion of the British population is never taught to read, and that this was not always the case. The teacher’s Unions seem bent on inflicting the same fate on American children, to the extent that they haven’t already.

    (And I disagree about the American class system.)

  • Black Mamba

    “I am the only one who knows what I need, and what kids need to make our schools work.”

    Yikes! Tell me you meant something else and that came out wrong.

  • Joseph Marshall

    No, dry valleys, it’s subtler than that. I had a good friend who is a moderately prominent artist and teaches college in my town. He also has worked in New York City and personally knows the garment magnate Les Wexner, [Victoria's Secret and The Limited, among others]. Wexner is a high-profile patron of the arts in both cities, and has corporate offices and a home here in Columbus, as well as in New York.

    He put it to me this way: In NYC it is perfectly possible for Les and I to actually be invited to the same party, show up, and chat with one another. In Columbus, this would never, ever happen.

    American class is a free-floating and constantly changing interaction of who, where, and what. It is actually quite fluid. But it appears more rigid and exclusive than it is because its social signals are very subtle and complicated, and vary from place to place. If you don’t know the place, the people, and the local social signals, there’s plenty of America that you will never penetrate to–at all class levels, and not just the highest.

  • Beatrix

    Elizabeth Scalia’s point seems very straightforward to me: If teachers get raises, the taxpayers, who are not for the most part getting raises, will have to pay for it. Which seems a little off somehow, especially since nobody really believes it’s “for the children”.

  • Will

    Some do, some do not. That does not mean they do not have a right to a union and collective bargaining.

  • Joseph Marshall

    “My union has gone on strike once since I have been employed in this district, and the reason was to protest large class sizes.”

    Maybe you should read that a little more closely, Beatrix. It means far more than you might think. Since you were born in the UK, can you conceive of a single union there that would do this?

    These people struck, not for money or for benefits, but for the chance to be able to do their job well. They struck for the one thing that would have an immediate, lasting benefit “for the children” if the taxpayers were willing to fix it.

    Largely they aren’t. Don’t believe me? Then read this a little more closely:

    “Last year my contract was cut 10%. With my new reduced contract, I now pay more out of pocket to maintain my health insurance benefits–so my current take home pay is further reduced. Employment in my district has been reduced from over 700 teachers to about 520 teachers in the last 5 years or so.”

    Not only didn’t the members of this union “get a raise”, they actually took a massive pay cut. AND they just had the public undercut their chance to do their job better by INCREASING their class sizes by about 10%.

    So the “suffering taxpayer” got the same amount of work for 20% less. Has any “cost cutting” on this scale occurred in the private sector where you work? Has it occurred in Elizabeth’s life? 20%? I strongly doubt that it has.

    And the people here, undoubtedly just like the people there, have the cast iron arrogance to prattle that union workers like this are not “sharing the burden”? As well as the bad faith of complaining that the same workers now do their job less well than formerly?

    This is what I mean by a failure to use evidence to reason about cause and effect. This is a piece of evidence right before your very eyes that, at least in Washington State, the members of this union really do “care for the children.”

    That is, if you actually pick it up and reason with it.

    Here in America, we have since the very beginning of this country labored under the illusion that the government should do far more for us than we actually pay for. What do you think issues such as “the deficit”, are all about?

    We are also constantly complaining about what they do “for everybody else”, that wastes our money. And we complain that they “don’t do it very well”, even though we don’t know how to do it at all and would fail ludicrously if we tried to do it ourselves.

    The only reason to have public education at all is that I, as a citizen, have a vested interest in “everybody else” knowing how to read, write, and calculate; and that I, as a [purely hypothetical] parent, would like far more than this for my own child.

    But what gets our nose out of joint is that if far more than this is done for our children, then far more has to be done for “everybody else’s” children, too, and we have to pay for it to be done. For everybody. That’s what “public” means in public education or public anything else.

    Not only that, if you went to public school in America, “somebody else” paid for you to have it, too.

    Somebody else with far more disinterested civic spirit than anyone can muster in America today.

    Public service unionism has been the single most accommodating advocate for labor in the United States. Period. Go look at the evidence in the history of labor relations in this country and you will find that this is a fact.

    So now all those fine people in elected state offices who lead you around by the nose now find it inconvenient to bargain at all with the people who have taken a 10% pay cut and significant erosion of their work conditions.

    What costs do they expect to save? Eliminating the need to replace the bargaining table?

    Of course, they will have more time to vote themselves pay raises and improved health benefits. Dollars to doughnuts if you went and actually looked at the evidence on the record, the people who lead you around by the nose have already done so in both Wisconsin and Washington State.

    But don’t do it lightly. It really will demand that you reason with it. And you might even find a cherished opinion or two to be wrong. At least that happens to me now and again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1042051230 Ronald Davis

    Cant believe many of you here are crying about education but haven’t educated yourself as to what is really going on here. The union has agreed to the financial concessions the Gov. rejected them because he wants to take their collective bargaining rights away. That has nothing to do with the budget cuts he wants to make that money is already agreed upon. Look on line you can find the video in their own words instead of looking at biased accounts on pages like this. EDUCATE YOURSELF

  • Will

    Good post at the Wisconsin Catholic Conference web site(www.wisconsincatholic.org).

  • Jeannie

    The protest in Wisconsin is not about teachers’ pay or benefits. It is about taking away Collective Bargaining. Teachers would no longer have a seat at the table. It is about the teachers’ rights as professionals to have a say in their working conditions. Teachers wouldn’t have a say on any of the factors that concern children- Your children. Factors like hiring quality teachers, specific programs for children, offerings and prioritizing of extra curricular activities, class length, classes offered in high schools, block scheduling, recruitment of specialists to offer quality programs, gifted programs, school year calendar, preparation time for teachers… list goes on. These are just a few things teachers are able to negotiate. Who do you want to make these decisions about your child’s education, but the professionals in the field?
    It is not just teachers marching in Madison. There are many, many other unions–electricians, firefighters, nurses, EMTs, laborers… This will affect everyone. If not now, eventually. Gov. Walker excluded the Unions that supported him in his election. These unions (police & fire) are now supporting the protesting unions in Madison because they know they are next.

    Most critics (and some parents) are just focusing on the pay and benefits of teachers. Believe me, teachers get it. The economy is important. No one wants anyone to lose their job. Every teacher in my school is willing to pay into their insurance and pension. We know that something needs to be done Wisconsin is broke, but to include Collective Bargaining?
    Believe it or not, the teachers are marching for your children. Your child’s education will change if Collective Bargaining is included in Gov. Walker’s bill.

    I wish some of these facts would be on the news.

  • Joseph Marshall

    “Fiscal Reality” has been manufactured by the people in elected office over the past 30 years. How? By not being straight with the public that having the government do something for you costs tax money, whether it is toppling Saddam Hussein or paving the highways.

    And if you want more of it done–like fighting a couple of wars at once or taking on the virtually impossible task of trying to shoot a nuclear warhead the size of a large SUV, traveling at several thousand miles an hour, and camoflaged by dozens of decoys–it costs more tax money, now or later.

    I can’t count how many times in the last 30 years I have heard “the government has to do this, or that, or the other” ,”we need a Star Wars defense” or “we have to wage a War On Terrorism” without anybody in office having sufficient backbone to add “and you will have to pay higher taxes for it.” What did they usually say? “Deficits don’t matter.”

    Well now all of a sudden a different government proposes doing things that put your nose out of joint and “Obamacare! Obamacare! Obamacare! Socialism! Socialism! Socialism!” just like Polly the Parrot, and just about as well informed as Polly about the facts.

    And boy, DO deficits matter now!.

    All I can say is that canting hypocrites turn my stomach no matter whether they routinely vote themselves pay raises and better insurance coverage or run around throwing tea bags.

    Are your health insurance premiums skyrocketing? Then look to the elected officials who have looked the other way while the Insurance and Drug Companies blithely charge “what the traffic will bear” no matter how exaggeratedly the profits exceed the costs. What are the politicians looking at? Their cut of the same money and the power to be re-elected that it guarantees. Like Joe Lieberman, Democratic darling of the War On Terror Crowd, beating his breast on the Senate floor over the Health Care Bill.

    Just for amusement, check out some time how many insurance companies are headquartered in Connecticut.

    Is the economy anemic, and are jobs hard to come by and wages flat? Then look to British Petroleum’s rape and pillage of the wallet of every American who drives a car. And they did it not once, but twice, for the two largest transfers of wealth in human history. Straight from your pocket and mine into the bank accounts of their shareholders, whether directly or by proxy through mutual funds.

    All the others, Goldman, Sachs, and so on have done the same thing on a much more limited scale. After all, they don’t have an Arab dominated petroleum cartel to help them out.

    You know, you really can’t do something like that without other economic consequences following.

    Where did the smart money go? Where it’s always gone for the past 30 years. Into the campaigns of politicians willing to prevent ANYTHING that might reduce America’s gluttonous consumption of petroleum. And now they can spend even more of it, largely courtesy Judges Scalia and Thomas.

    By the way, “free speech” doesn’t mean very much when somebody else owns all the microphones. Who can now buy virtually all the microphones there are? Insurance companies, drug companies, and petroleum companies. What a concept!

    So you tell me your hurting and wailing and gnashing your teeth. Maybe you ought to think about just who it was that mugged you, and mugged everybody else in the bargain. And who it’s been that has looked the other way.

    Guess who the perpetrators aren’t. The aren’t the firemen. They aren’t the policemen. They aren’t the teachers. They aren’t the EMS squad. They aren’t the Federal Civil Servants. They aren’t the State, County, and Municipal Employees.

    I’m sure you’ve heard the “blame the victim” syndrome where people get raped, or mugged, or robbed, “because they must have done something to deserve it.” Well now we are seeing the “blame somebody else who was strolling in the next block” syndrome.

    So what do we have now? Largely the same people who lie in the same featherbed with companies like E.J. Lilly, Exxon, British Petroleum, Nationwide Insurance or whatever are the local equivalents. And what do they want to do? They want to cut the compensation and health care for the people who for the people who serve the public and the people who keep their little political fiefdoms neat and tidy.

    No, that’s not quite it, and what it really is the most important thing of all.

    They want to be able to do it without having to sit across a table and face the people they are doing it to.

    They want to wear masks, just like their patrons E.J. Lilly, Exxon, British Petroleum, Nationwide Insurance and any sensible mugger on the street.

    And what we also have are folks like Jane the teacher from Washington State a few posts down whose union HAS been willing to “share the burden”. So it’s not the case that they need the masks at all. They just want them.

    And what do most folks here want? Well, they’ve been mugged so they want everyone else to be mugged, too.

    I don’t know about the blood, but you certainly got the turnips right.

  • Beatrix

    Is there a scrap of evidence that smaller class sizes benefit children? It makes a certain intuitive sense, I admit, but as far as I know there is no kind of evidence to back it up. Yet according to you reducing class sizes is: ‘the one thing that would have an immediate, lasting benefit “for the children” if the taxpayers were willing to fix it.’ I’m sorry, but a sweeping claim like that needs some kind of evidence to back it up. Now if to ratio of pupils to teachers is reduced that will, of course, benefit the higher-ups in the unions enormously, being as it will expand their client base.

    Joseph, when you quote somebody, please indicate who it is you are quoting; otherwise noone knows what the context is.

    The unions make it effectively impossible to fire bad teachers, so how on Earth do they contribute to children’s “knowing how to read, write, and calculate”? They do the opposite, and that’s why so many kids are illiterate and innumerate these days; because their jobs-and-promotions-for-life-regardless-of-quality teachers are too.

    Joseph, you were talking about your medical problems earlier, and you have my sympathies. You were saying that you’re worried that your benefits might be cut. Are you in the least bit concerned that if teachers get tonnes of free taxpayer money, there might be less left over for expensive medication for those with serious health issues? There is no Washington Money Tree, Joseph.

  • Joseph Marshall

    Oh, my apologies. I was quoting Jean. But I should have thought that was apparent. I’ll take more trouble with “who” from now on.

    I must say I strongly suspect you have never been near a classroom in the capacity of a teacher.

    Have you ever even had a teacher who truly reached you and made a difference in your life?

    If you did, it was somebody who was able to take the time to talk to you personally, and not somebody who you merely listened to four rows back amid 44 other people.

    Do the math. Three classes a day that you have to plan and prep, 45 children each, 135 people whose tests you grade.

    Plus all the attendant baby-sitting duties that are inevitable when you have a crowd of energetic children with only rudimentary impulse control. Or a bunch of estrogen and testosterone poisoned teenagers, itching to get alone with one another as soon as possible?

    And you’re going to do all that and reach all of them personally? You’re not going to do all that and even get all the confusion cleared up about what you meant to say in the lesson of the day.

    If it were me [having taught only in colleges to go by] I would expect that every 50 minute class would have at least 10 people out of 45 who are confused about something I have said in those 50 minutes.

    So what has to happen to fix it? Either I have to ask them questions or they have to ask me questions.

    Now if they’re really confused, they probably don’t understand well enough to even know what to ask.

    And since they’re not always going to be the same 10 people every time, I have to play a guessing game among the 45 faces about who to question in the 4-5 minutes that are left after I have plowed through all the lesson material.

    Simply put, real teaching is about personal contact with personal give and take. Some students need it most of the time and every student needs it some of the time.

    The more people in the room, the less likely any of them are to get what they need.

    That’s on the good days. Every teacher has days now and then when all the people in the classroom leave the room confused about something.

    That’s why people hire tutors: to get the personal contact that real lack of understanding always demands.

    Do we really have to have “scientific evidence” to prove that tutors help people to learn when they can’t any other way.

    This is what Jean means by “I am the only one who knows what I need.”

    She is the only one who stands in front of the 45 students and gets her hands dirty grappling with the problems. Everybody else is just an armchair quarterback who can’t even pass the TV remote without fumbling.

    Now you say, “The unions make it effectively impossible to fire bad teachers…”

    You are talking through your hat. No public service job has a legal basis of “employment at will” allowing termination without apparent cause, like when you work at McDonald’s. And this is the case whether the position is unionized or not.

    Why? Because that’s part of the public’s protection from having their kids taught, or their fires fought, by the Mayor’s brother-in-law, who has nothing better to do. Or by the young daughter of the Governor’s favorite lobbyist fresh off a BA in Women’s Studies, and with no work history doing anything.

    I’m not kidding. It really hasn’t been that long ago in this country that all government jobs were mere political patronage plums.

    That’s why we have Civil Service Examinations, teacher certifications, and laws in place stating that only certain positions in higher management serve “at the pleasure of” the Mayor, the Governor, or the President.

    Everybody else has to be both hired against standards and terminated for cause, and the cause has to be documented well enough to stand against a breach of contract suit in a court.

    And that’s not just my protection as a civil servant against arbitrary hiring and firing. That’s your protection as a taxpayer against hiring, firing, and promotion by political cronyism of people who are vital to the safety or the well-being of citizens or their children.

    A public service union makes absolutely no difference at all to this. Unions bargain for compensation, benefits, and working conditions. Public service personnel polices are mandated by published statute law as implemented in published administrative procedure that has held up to court test.

    No public service union has any say in it whatever.

    You also ask, “Are you in the least bit concerned that if teachers get tonnes of free taxpayer money…”

    I’m not concerned that ANYBODY is going to get tonnes of “free taxpayer money”.

    I wish people would take the trouble to learn how things actually work. For example, the so called “bail-outs” of banks a couple of years back were NOT mere gifts of cash.

    They were LOANS that had to be paid back, with interest, and any banker with any sense got them paid back as soon as the stockholders could be reasonably assured that the bank was no longer in danger of insolvency.

    Moreover they were mere special cases of what the Federal Reserve System does every day, which is loan member banks money, at interest, to stabilize their cash flow while doing business. The only difference was that the terms of those one-time loans were more generous because the bankers had a far larger problem to manage.

    But does anybody who goes around mouthing off about “Obama’s Bank Bail Out” know any of this? Not so much as you’d notice.

    The notion that teachers are getting “tonnes of free money’ is ridiculous.

    They are being paid for services that they are legally obligated to perform. They might wish they were paid more and you might wish they were paid less, but nobody is coming to the Union Hall with a check for $1 million from Publisher’s Clearing House.

    Everybody who receives money from the Government has to jump through legal hoops for it, even if it is a direct stipend such as I receive. I have to re-establish my disability ANY time the SSA asks me to. And it took me 3 solid years of rejections and appeals to get it established in the first place.

    Every year I have to document to the State of Ohio that I make so little money that I qualify for food stamps and Medicaid. If I can’t prove it, with award letters and bank balances, I don’t get them. Nobody does.

    If I get heating and cooling assistance, I have to bring in a genuine termination of services notice first. I don’t get the aid on the cuff. Nobody does.

    Hey, I can’t even get food from my local food bank unless I bring in a current utility bill to prove that I live in the Zip Code that the bank serves. I also have to prove income to them as well.

    And THEY have to have a copy of it on file to justify what they’ve given me in order for them to keep getting food beyond individual contributions–such as the ground venison from culls killed on public land by professional hunters.

    There are two things I like to tell people that sum it all up:

    Being disabled is a full-time job requiring real clerical skills.

    In this country the rich know how things work, the poor know how some things work, and everybody in between is clueless.

  • skeeter

    Simple. These government workers have 1) civil service 2) are shielded from accountability by those unions 3) are closely aligned with the political structures that they are funnelling taxpayer money to political parties, and co-opt the folks who in theory, supervise them on behalf of the taxpayers. This leads to corruption like night follows day.

    If these workers need protection from the government and/or the taxpayers, what about us poor schmucks who pay the tab for it all? The fact that the benefit contributions are so insulated and out of line with the private sector proves the point.
    Not to mention the fraud occurring with the medical note scandal.

  • skeeter

    Nice leap. Regulatory costs, green litigation, and UNIONS have driven costs up so high that jobs go overseas. We didn’t just “send” those jobs. Government intervention and selective intervention (read social experiments, like CRA) have cause most of our bubble.

    Drop corporate taxes and onerous regulation and see what happens.

  • skeeter

    And they only made that agreement after closing the schools, and only after all of this kabuki theatre had failed. Only then did they SAY they would discuss the finances.

    Too little. Too late.

  • skeeter

    Let’s see, 9 people arrested due to violence. Legislature shut down due to threats of violence. Fraud/theft created through phony “sick notes”.

    Yeah, just your regular tea party.
    (And links, please on your stupid tea party signs. They do not begin to compare.)

  • Will

    How about greedy companies, with CEOs who only care about short-term profits? How about other countries that lower the value of their currency so they can export more? How about other countries that protect their own markets?

  • Rdmurphy42

    Gee. Thanks a pantload for the 8 hour work day> All those overtime laws have pretty much just made it so that I can’t work more than 40 hours in a week if I wanted to.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    She’s the only one who knows what kids need? Yikes!

    What about the parents? Or are they just chopped liver? Good for paying taxes, but not much else? Mere mindless buffoons, manipulated, as Joseph would say, by nebulous others, who hate unions?

    What an attitude!

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Um, speaking of civility, Joseph. . .

    You really might do better at getting your point across,if you didn’t accuse us all of being “turnips”, of throwing tea bags around (hey, I’ve never tossed a bag of Lipton at anybody in my life!) and just wanting to see others mugged, because we’ve been mugged ourselves (are you saying we’re bad because we’re unhappy with the nation’s current financial situation? That we should just shut up and take it?)

    Are you angry because people are criticizing teachers? Because we’re criticizing unions? Are you saying both these groups never overreach, and never make mistakes and can never be held accountable for anything, even when they pull stunts like calling in sick en masse, forcing students’ parents (who are also working people) to stay home and look after them?

    Are you angry because we’re not opposing the people you think are to blame? (And could you provide some links, or something, showing the ones you accuse, such as the big corporations, are the ones really responsible for all this?

    I’m sorry for your medical problems, and the fact you have to live on disability. . . but I also think it makes you biased, and overly defensive, and unwilling to see any merit in your opponents’ arguments.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And, to you, objecting to Obamacare, or socialism (with its disastrous record throughout the 20th Century) may just be screaming like “Polly the Parrot”—sorry; that doesn’t change the fact that there are serious questions to be asked about both things, and, as Americans, we still have the right to ask them.

    (And if you have proof it’s all British Petroleum’s, or the drug companys’ fault, then can you provide some links, or some reference, to show proof? And, even if they are up to something, does that mean the Unions are entirely blameless, and everything they’re doing now is right, and beyond criticism?)

    Again, I’m sorry for your troubles; you’re hurting; a lot of us are right now. But you won’t convince anyone lobbing insults.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    And speaking of Americans’ “Gluttonous consumption of oil”. . .

    A while back, I worked in a city with a very good bus line; no need to own a car, the bus could take you pretty much everywhere you wanted to go.

    Then, the bus drivers went on strike—a strike that went on for months. Some working people lost their jobs over this, since they had no other means of transportation. Some rode their bikes to work (if they could manage that), or walked, or got friends and/or family to drive them. And a lot of them simply went out and bought cars; automobile sales soared in that county. This was not because of manipulation by wicked oil companies, or some gluttonous desire to burn up lots of oil; it was because they wanted to get to and from work—or the store—or the doctor, and were no longer willing to rely 100% on a system that was likely to go on strike for months, stranding them.

    Well, the buses started rolling again—with much higher fares this time around. Fewer people rode them—they lost a lot of their ridership, and those nice, cheap monthly bus cards you could once get were a thing of the past.

    If all our current woes are, indeed, predicated by evil oil companies and the like, then the unions, as much as anybody else, has helped them along. Certainly the auto industry should have given a big vote of thanks to the striking bus drivers!

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    About that teachers knowing was kids need. . .

    My autistic son is in the public school special needs class. Some of his teachers have been wonderful. Others are, all too obviously, marking time. Or are more interested in private crusades, such as preventing the kids from eating sugar, than in teaching.

    The administrators have been touch-and-go. Twice, my hsuband and I had to fight tooth and nail to keep him in the regular special ed class, instead of having him warehoused in a special school, with severely retarded kids. One administrator, on the basis on observing him a few minutes on the playground, declared he was nothing but a little zombie, who never displayed any emotions. (Not true.) I remember this female giggling and eating patato chips, during his psychological evaluation.

    When my husband was a teacher, he taught at a school where a neurotic woman on the school board did everything in her power to protect her son, and his friends, who boasted they could get any teacher there fired. At another school, the administrator insisted on the kids, most of them from lower income families, be taught the new, touchy-feely math—which would, of course, have made it hard for them to get desperately needed jobs in the future. These kids were poor, many of them minority, and their parents, while not well educatd themselves, desperately wanted a better life for them. The Administration there pulled stuff on them they’d never have dared in, say, Beverly Hills or Orange County.

    So, no, the teachers don’t always know best, and, even if some of them do, the administrators and the school board might not.

  • Rhinestone Suderman


    Public unions work for the public, i.e., the taxpayer; if the taxpayer isn’t making much money at the moment, then public unions also have to make do with less.

    I’m not sure what mysterious others Joseph is talking about, who are supposedly manipulating things: there’s the Freddie/Fanny meltdown, which precipitated the current economic meltdown, but I suspect he doesn’t want us to criticize that. . .

  • Josie Beard

    what is the approximate annual income a wisconsin school teacher earns?

  • Doc

    That tells me that the local bishop has some seriously distorted priorities, given the fact that all public unions basically exist to support the Party of Death, the Democrats, who scratch and claw in opposition to every single restriction on abortion any Republican has ever proposed.

  • Joseph Marshall

    Upon reflection and away from the issue for a few days, I think I should apologize for my shortness of temper and sharpness of speech. I do.

    But, also upon reflection, I think this is a fight which the Republican Party will regret having started. And even the Tea Party, as well as ordinary conservatives, may regret it too.

    There is one thing you can say about nearly all Federal, State, County, and Municipal employees.

    They vote.

    And they have good reason to regard these laws as a direct attack on their livelihood. Any member of any union does. Which is why you now see so many of them out there is so many states.

    It has been a long time since union members were a solidly Democratic constituency. I suspect that the numbers have been about 60/40 for a good many years. I wouldn’t be surprised if that changed to as much 90/10 in 2012. One in twelve American workers works union. A 90/10 shift among them would be somewhere between 3%–5% of the voting population.

    Quoting the Anchoress: “The unions have to either share the burden or lose the goodwill of the public.”

    It is a common thing for Conservatives to regard “the public” as a synonym for “the people with politics like mine” and to talk each other into believing that the majority of voters have politics like their own.

    But the facts are otherwise. The most either party can count on in elections are about 48% of the voting population. And the most they can expect in the best case in a Presidential year is about 52%.

    And committed Conservatives of any strength would fall somewhere between 30%–35%.

    Unions have not been that strong in our politics for quite a while because of split voting. But all these fine Republican Governors and Legislators are giving them a strong reminder why Union strength is still a matter of Solidarity.

    And a reminder that Solidarity still matters.

  • Joseph Marshall

    By the way, I undertand that in Detroit the class size average is going to go up to 60 students.

  • Bean

    I agree that the protest is not just about teacher’s benefits. But I work at a school, and I can tell you that I’ve not heard once about how this is going to impact the education of the students. Rather, I’m hearing about the financial impact to the teachers. I’m hearing about how much their paychecks are going to decrease, and I’m hearing about how they are going to lose tenure and their seniority rights.

    Don’t get me wrong, because I think that the district in which I live has a lot of great teachers. Our students ALWAYS rank well above state averages on WKCE, ACT, SAT, etc. But I’m learning that everyone can be selfish — and teachers are NOT exempt from this. Every teacher I’ve heard discuss this in the past few weeks has been concerned with themselves, and themselves alone.