O Cruel Economy That Makes Schoolchildren Suffer!

The AP reports that "Shaky economy hits kids," meaning the following hardships will be visited upon the K-12 population like frogs falling from the sky:

Children will walk farther to the bus stop, pay more for lunch, study from old textbooks and wear last year's clothes. Field trips? Forget about it....

In rural Minnesota, one district is skipping classes every Monday to save fuel. On the other days, classes will be about 10 minutes longer....

Kids will have to stay awake and alert later in the day, and some parents will need to find day care on Mondays. But it's a small district, with 700 kids, and many parents are self-employed with jobs in farming or construction.... 

Teachers once asked for hand sanitizer and tissue; now they want copy paper. Lenelle Cruse, the state PTA president in Florida, said last year's budget was so tight, Jacksonville schools actually had a toilet paper drive....

In Waterford, Conn., parents might have to pay for annual trips to New York or Boston. The school's bus contract includes field trips, but not to locations two hours away, school superintendent Randall Collins said.

Now, instead of visiting Revolutionary War landmarks in each city, students will probably visit nearby Hartford to see the Connecticut Capitol or the Mark Twain house.....

Montgomery County, Md., is cutting funds for its award-winning mathematics team. The district will still pay the coach's stipend, but parents will have to step in....

In Montgomery County and elsewhere, they are holding off on ordering new textbooks....

In Oxford, Ala., the bus has always made stops at every house. But this year, kids in fifth grade through 12th grade will have to walk to neighborhood bus stops.

Smaller, more rural districts require smaller measures: Paw Paw, Mich., is moving to all-day kindergarten, eliminating eight bus runs in the middle of the day.

Schools are also getting creative with computerized bus routes and heating and cooling systems. Montgomery County, the sprawling district that serves the suburbs of Washington, D.C., has a master control room straight out of NASA that lets one person regulate the temperature in every single classroom....

Jesus Christ, is this the worst of it? If so, please just stop. As someone who had kids in the Maryland's Montgomery County schools for a couple of years, I can guarantee you that they could choose to cut something other than funds for "an award-winning" math team with ease. Indeed, the district seemed hellbent on calling three-day weekends whenever snow was forecast for a Friday morning. And where are the calls to make administrators ride their bikes or carpool to school?

I feel genuinely rotten for kids whose school lunch programs might get dinged on this (again, money is fungible and you'll note that you don't hear about schools cutting football expenses) and stuff like that, but most schools are run so poorly from a money-management positon that tales of tight finances just don't cue the waterworks in me. Schools will use any pretense to a) keep doing things some old and inefficient way and b) so they need to getting more money from every possible source, whether public or private. Per-pupil spending is up over 300 percent in constant dollars since the early 1960s. You'd think somewhere in that increase, schools would figure out how to fund meaningful stuff and drop crap.

More tales of woe here.

And about that "shaky economy" here.

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  • Episiarch||

    In rural Minnesota, one district is skipping classes every Monday to save fuel

    This is a hardship?!?

  • ||

    *sobs, wipes tears from eyes*

    "This looks like a job for....

    Windfall Profits Man!"

  • Jordan||

    You'd think somewhere in that increase, schools would figure out how to fund meaningful stuff and drop crap.



    And put an end to diversity and global warming indoctrination?

  • ||

    It is time to rid ourselves of the teachers unions. They only work to lower the standards of education in the US they are evil. Do not let them preach that they are making your job better or more secure or that they are providing you more money, THEY ARE LYING.

  • ||

    If we cut this the parents will vote for a millage increase. Fucking asshole educrats. Fucking dumbass voters who keep electing the same self serving, socialist bastards to the goddam school board.

  • Nigel Watt||

    It is time to rid ourselves of the public education system.



    FTFY

  • ||

    While I'm at it, fucking George W. Bush and his No Child Gets Ahead legislation deserves some vitriol as well.

  • ||

    Indeed, the district seemed hellbent on calling three-day weekends whenever snow was forecast for a Friday morning.

    I was in the Montgomery Co. school system. I recall more than a couple times school was closed because it was too windy.

  • ||

    This reminds me of the funding crisis in New Jersey; Governor Corzine's first act, in order to make plain the extent of the emergency, shut down, with great fanfare, revenue generating casino oversight functions, while continuing to allow the state to hemorrage cash on "vital services" at an undiminished pace.

  • SIV||

    In Oxford, Ala., the bus has always made stops at every house. But this year, kids in fifth grade through 12th grade will have to walk to neighborhood bus stops.

    Good news for motorists sharing the road with school buses.

    How can they cut school lunches. Doesn't the USDA pay for those with the Farm Bill anymore?

  • ||

    "It is time to rid ourselves of the teachers unions."

    Shall we line them up and shoot them?

    What is it that people hate so much about teachers unions, that they bargain themselves into contracts with perks and benefits? How terrible...

  • ||

    And around the nation private school administrators are making only the wisest of choices about what to cut in the face of the economic downturn...The teachers in such schools are bravely sacrificing for the good of the children.

  • preston||

    As the editor-in-chief of a school paper in Montgomery County, Md, I can say for a fact that there are plenty of places for the county to cut spending.

    For example, this year, our school is getting a "state of the art" electric signboard. Why? Who knows. Also, the bleachers, which were "too small" to fit all 2500 students are being replaced. At the same time, we got new computers last year, a couple "smart rooms," new science labs, the list goes on and on.

    The fact is that this whole "budget crisis" is simply a ploy to get taxpayers to be willing to cough up more of their cash to pay for their kids' educations. In reality, schools have more than enough money to pay for everything they need, and if they claim they don't then they have their "needs" all wrong.

  • ||

    I heard McDonalds is taking the double cheeseburger off the dollar menu because of the economic downturn. What a bunch of bastards.

  • ||

    Shall we line them up and shoot them?

    Too noisy. I advocate putting the in sacks, like unwanted puppies, and drowning them en masse.

  • Waquoit||

    Teachers are overpaid. That's where all money goes.

  • Neu Mejican||

    MNG,

    And airlines are removing magazines and freshly brewed coffee...bastards.

  • Nigel Watt||

    P Brooks: Do we tell them soothing stories about Rainbow Puppy Island on the way?

  • ||

    "Teachers are overpaid."

    Like CEOs are overpaid?

  • ||

    I mean, why can't McDonalds just cut back where they should, like those fucking parfaits?

  • ||

    CEOs aren't overpaid on my dime. Let their shareholders thrash that out.

  • ||

    Sad news indeed, Montegomery county's textbook labels are one of my better accounts.

  • ||

    From the first to the fifth grades, I had a slate, a desk, and some composition books. The classroom had a teacher, an abacus and a globe. No books, no gym, no bus, no frills and no complaints from the parents. Of course there were lots of complaints from kids---the oral exams in Latin and mathematics really sucked!

  • ||

    I love it when the county school systems are compared to McDonalds. Why doesn't anyone else ever make those arguments?

  • ||

    "Per-pupil spending is up over 300 percent in constant dollars since the early 1960s. You'd think somewhere in that increase, schools would figure out how to fund meaningful stuff and drop crap."

    This is a variation of the old "national park dodge". Back in the 80s when mean old Ronald Reangan would actually try to stop government spending, the Democrats in Congress would respond by pleading poverty and start closing down national parks. Now we had a budget near a trillion dollars back then but somehow the only place they could find to cut was national parks.

    The same thing is happening here. The school districts are just trying to extort money from the tax payer. Rather than cut things like the mid six figure salaries of most administrators or trying to get by with fewer administrators and employees in general, the school cuts music programs, bus service and things that efffect tax payers in order to extort more money out of them.

  • adrian||

    how are private schools working out in this downturn?

  • ||

    Mr. Nice Guy | August 18, 2008, 12:10pm | #

    [snip]

    What is it that people hate so much about teachers unions, that they bargain themselves into contracts with perks and benefits? How terrible...


    I think it's that they do that under seemingly false pretenses. The reason I hate the teachers unions in not that they negotiate a good deal for their members, but the do so saying that it's for the benefit of the children and will make schools better.

    People buy into that nonsense. The more perks teachers have doesn't influence how good the school really is. I had good teachers and bad teachers in school. They all had tenure.

  • Seitz||

    And where are the calls to make administrators ride their bikes or carpool to school?

    Do the school districts pay for their commutes? If not, who gives a shit how they get to work?

  • brob||

    i have an "in" to my local school district's bidding process. even if they can find their products or services cheaper, they are REQUIRED to use state contractors for the products or services. not only is it a disincentive to find good prices for things, but in NYS, schools are actually punished for shopping around for a deal.

    to me, this is the biggest problem. there is NO incentive to save money.

  • ||

    "I think it's that they do that under seemingly false pretenses. The reason I hate the teachers unions in not that they negotiate a good deal for their members, but the do so saying that it's for the benefit of the children and will make schools better."

    Well, duh, and BP says they are into environmentalism so you should buy gas from them.

    People try to get the best contracts they can in employment. When they band together it strengthens their position. And they often dress up their demands as the public interest. That's everyone, not just "the teachers unions."

    "CEOs aren't overpaid on my dime. Let their shareholders thrash that out."

    And you are really pissed at the police unions too I guess? Never overpaid, never dress their demands up in the public interest.

  • ||

    I don't begrudge teachers unions for attempting to improve the pay of being a teacher. I do begrudge them for providing such incredible job security to the totally unemployable lowest [1%, decile, third, whatever] of the teaching pool.

    That said, I don't think that there is a district in America that doesn't spend an obscene amount of money on administration and various "prestige" projects. Start cutting deeply there and we can talk. Until then, there's no stunt they can pull that will make me the slightest bit sympathetic.

  • Abdul||

    It's fun to read this while envisioning Mr. Gillespie shaking his fist at a schoolboard meeting.

    But i read this article with the same sort of indignation. Hardships? I worked in public schools during the boom 90's and into the 'aughts. Half the places never had climate control. What kind of modern workplace has no frigging climate control? The kind where no one's accountable to anyone other than an outraged parent at the occassional public meeting.

  • Old Bull Lee||

    "I had good teachers and bad teachers in school. They all had tenure."

    That's because most of them are rewarded on an almost pure seniority system. Can't fire them, so you're stuck with them until they retire.

  • ||

    "As someone who had kids in the Maryland's Montgomery County schools for a couple of years, ..."

    I feel your pain. TOTAL RELIEF was the feeling that overcame me when youngest son graduated from a Howard County school. It could be worse, our kids could be going to Prince George County Schools. My girlfriend teaches in PG County school. What an effing mess!

  • ||

    The local high school, backed by the booster clubs, want to light the football field for $300,000 because today's athletes derive self-esteem from playing under the lights like they do in neighboring school districts. Boo hoo hoo, God's own sunshine isn't good enough for our kids. Meanwhile, in science class, they are indoctrinating the kids on solar power, not wasting energy, and Earth Day activities.
    Stand up to the field-lighters and you are some kind of mean ogre who probably is against
    Olympic-grade swimming pools too.

  • ||

    "And you are really pissed at the police unions too I guess?"
    Hell, yes. Shouldn't I be?

  • robc||

    MNG,

    To me, the teachers union is like payday loan places. They are acting in a rational manner, what they are doing is and should be legal, but they are still scum.

    You are like the people who expect libertarians to be libertines.

  • ||

    In Oxford, Ala., the bus has always made stops at every house. But this year, kids in fifth grade through 12th grade will have to walk to neighborhood bus stops.

    WTF? I've seen this waste in Detroit and it boggles the mind. You walk to the bus stop, talk with your schoolmates and then you get a bus ride to school. Right? Of course when you view public education as a jobs and patronage program, this is the kind of shit you come up with.

    Maybe Detroit could justify it due to crime. But Oxford, Alabama? 5th thru 12th graders? Seriously? Some dumbass school board though that this was an appropriate expenditure of tax revenue? I'll wager they asked for more money while this ridiculous nonsense was going on. Any takers?

  • robc||

    My bus top in Louisville, KY was no closer than the end of my street from 2nd grade on. Sometimes it was a block or two up or down on the cross street. This was in the 70s and 80s.

    In first grade, I lived close enough to the school to either walk or get dropped off, when weather was bad. If I had used the bus, same thing then.

  • robc||

    My bus top

    Apparently, it was a convertible.

  • Nigel Watt||

    J sub D, it makes sense in rural areas - I know the bus came to my dad's house back in the day, but that was because he was the only kid from that town riding the bus. But if there are neighborhood bus stops, it doesn't sound like that's the issue.

  • ||

    What is it that people hate so much about teachers unions, that they bargain themselves into contracts with perks and benefits? How terrible...

    In Detroit, they illegally strike is one reason. You can google their educational accomplishments if you wish. It is a fairly unimpressive record. They are quite effective when protesting charter schools though.

    I know, not all of it is the teachers/bureaucracies fault. I'll be generous and estimate their culpability at 30%.

  • ||

    The fact is that this whole "budget crisis" is simply a ploy to get taxpayers to be willing to cough up more of their cash to pay for their kids' educations. In reality, schools have more than enough money to pay for everything they need, and if they claim they don't then they have their "needs" all wrong.

    QFT. Assuming preston is on the up and up, he is a bright young man.

  • LarryA||

    study from old textbooks and wear last year's clothes.

    When I was growing up, and when my kids were growing up, we wore clothes as long as they fit. If we had an older sibling or cousin, or our mom had a friend with an older kid, we wore that kid's hand-me-downs until they no longer fit. Then we passed our hand-me-downs to the next kid in line.

    There was no trouble with textbooks, though. They were replaced every decade whether they were worn out or not.

  • ||

    Half the places never had climate control. What kind of modern workplace has no frigging climate control?

    A great many warehouses, retail outlets, office, factories, libraries, and yes, schools, do quite well without A/C. I didn't walk uphill through blizzards ten miles to get to school, but from K-12 I experienced exactly zero air conditioned classrooms. It's a blessing in disguise for elementary students if you have a decent teacher. Many lessons can be taught outdoors.

  • Les||

    And you are really pissed at the police unions too I guess? Never overpaid, never dress their demands up in the public interest.

    Well, of course. I suspect most folks here pissed at teachers' unions are equally pissed at police unions. And as was pointed out by Legate above, the worst things the unions do is protect bad union members. That's a constant, it seems, in unions, and it severely reduces their legitimacy.

    And before teachers get their pay reduced, the pay structure for administrative staff, and especially superintendents needs to be completely reworked. In San Francisco (where the schools are awful and constantly broke) the superintendent gets close to a quarter million a year, a free car, and an apartment. Nothing will change until the mentality that you can only attract the most competent public servants by offering them lots and lots of money and perks (this only works for administrators, but not teachers, of course) is thoroughly debunked.

  • ||

    I used to install process control systems (what would control the temp in the classrooms) for waste water and drinking water treatment plants. All were municipalities and all eliminated the need for all but 1 person; guess how many of the original 15 or so plant operators remained after the installation? Guess how much money was saved? Add in the cost of the system and it is probably going to cost the school system much more money then if they stayed with labor intensive system. Just my experience, but I doubt city labor unions are too weak to stop layoffs in MD.

  • Paul||

    At the high end of the salary scale, an Everett teacher with 15 years of experience and a master's degree will earn $71,377 in the coming school year. Mukilteo and Northshore are next with pay of $67,174 and $67,031, respectively.



    Yeah, money is tight...reeeealll tight. Gotta have a toilet paper drive.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/snohomishcountynews/2002416961_salaries03n.html

  • ||

    From Wiki (this is tyhe kind of stuff wiki excels at).

    Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The population was 14,592 at the 2000 census.
    ...
    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.3 square miles (47.4 km²), of which, 18.2 square miles (47.2 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.38%) is water.



    Sounds big enough and dense enough for the high schoolers to walk < 1/2 a mile to catch the bus.

  • Paul||

    Back in my day, we only had 15gig iPods. Kids these days have no idea what tough is.

  • Abdul||

    A great many warehouses, retail outlets, office, factories, libraries, and yes, schools,

    J sub D,

    Look, I'm no prima donna. I spent years in outdoor education where the only climate control was provided by a vengeful God. And I'll grant you that warehouses and factories may not be climate-controlled due to the practical problems involved.

    But there are few modern workplaces in the US where 20-30 people gather in small conference rooms all day that are not climate-controlled. In every school where I worked, the only climate-controlled portion was the administrative office. It's an example of priorities--bureaucrats first, students somewhere after that.

    And, regarding the schools you went to, wasn't that--trying to be diplomatic here--some time ago?

  • Charles||

    Public unions are an abomination. If I were allowed to add one constitutional amendment, banning public unions would be among the handful I would consider.

  • Jennifer||

    In every school where I worked, the only climate-controlled portion was the administrative office. It's an example of priorities--bureaucrats first, students somewhere after that.

    The school where I taught was the same way: only the principal's office was air-conditioned. My classroom was on the top floor, with floor-to-ceiling windows facing south, and even with the shades down and fans running full blast temperatures in late spring and early autumn would approach or occasionally surpass the 100-degree mark.

    If you're going to build schools without air conditioning, then at least have enough sense not to model the classrooms after greenhouses.

  • ||

    What is it that people hate so much about teachers unions, that they bargain themselves into contracts with perks and benefits? How terrible...

    I wouldn't have a problem with a private teacher's union. But, when you mandate that children must attend school, and confiscate enough taxes for public schools that most parents can't afford private school tuition, and then have a public school teacher's union that uses their power at the legislature to try and eliminate private schools altogether, or outlaw homeschooling, or extract more and more money for things (such as scads of overpriced administrators) that don't result in better education ...

    See how none of this is particularly libertarian?

  • Kolohe||

    What's wrong with the McD's parfait?

  • ||

    My classroom was on the top floor, with floor-to-ceiling windows facing south

    I bet it was awesome in January.

  • Jennifer||

    I bet it was awesome in January.

    No, because glass walls don't provide good insulation. The temperature was very nice for about three hours one afternoon in late March. The rest of the time it was either too hot or too cold.

  • Paul||

    What is it that people hate so much about teachers unions, that they bargain themselves into contracts with perks and benefits? How terrible...

    Nothing, if they'd start bargaining with their employer: Me.

    Unfortunately, they don't, they bargain with an interested party: themselves.

    Approval of Public Sector Union contracts should come in front of the voters they serve. When politicians can buy votes and constituencies by awarding phat contracts on the backs of the public, it's corruption on wheels.

  • dee||

    Teachers once asked for hand sanitizer and tissue; now they want copy paper. Lenelle Cruse, the state PTA president in Florida, said last year's budget was so tight, Jacksonville schools actually had a toilet paper drive....

    Wait . . . wasn't the Florida state-wide lottery going to cure all of Florida's public schools' money troubles . . . yet they can't afford toilet paper?!?!!

  • ||

    Here in TX, the reading, writing & 'rithmetic will be de-funded before the football squzd does without equipment.

  • ||

    "In Detroit, they illegally strike is one reason."

    You, a libertarian, think it should be illegal for people to go on strike? WTF?

    "the worst things the unions do is protect bad union members. That's a constant, it seems, in unions, and it severely reduces their legitimacy."

    What you call "protecting bad members" is probably just that they make contracts that the employer must follow before firing or disciplining workers. And as you may find in life there are bad people who hide behind good rules (and bad rules). But these contracts protect the good and bad and are freely arrived at between the governments and the unions...You think contracts should be followed, right?

    "But there are few modern workplaces in the US where 20-30 people gather in small conference rooms all day that are not climate-controlled." Indeed, workplaces were often a masters degree is required at entry level usually have air condition. And while you may be horrified by this, the employees often are in a bargaining position to get many perks in their contracts.

  • Paul||

    Wait . . . wasn't the Florida state-wide lottery going to cure all of Florida's public schools' money troubles . . . yet they can't afford toilet paper?!?!!

    One word: salaries.

  • ||

    "and then have a public school teacher's union that uses their power at the legislature to try and eliminate private schools altogether, or outlaw homeschooling, or extract more and more money for things (such as scads of overpriced administrators) that don't result in better education ..."

    They lobby the legislature for legislation which favors their benefits? OH NOES!

    You mean an organization that lobbys the legislature for something that will benefit it or to drive out competition and then dresses it up as being in the public interest? That includes just about every major corporation in the world btw, but I rarely hear conservatives and right leaning libertarian howling about "the corporations" the way and as much as I hear about "the teacher's unions."

    The funny thing is that, implicit in many of you guys bitching about them is that the teachers unions are somehow crapping on a public good (fucking up "teh kids"). But then your ideology doesn't let you come out and admit a public good so it goes into some incoherent rambling about how this one organization doing what every normal organization does is especially terrible for some incomprehensible reason...

  • ||

    "Nothing, if they'd start bargaining with their employer: Me.

    Unfortunately, they don't, they bargain with an interested party: themselves."

    Paul
    That's incoherent. They bargain with your elected representative. Vote them out if you don't like it.

    You guys are hilarious. A consumer can be assumed to be informed and strong enough to not need any consumer regulation to protect them, but those stupid ignorant voters somehow can't break out of the mesmerizing thrall of the mighty teachers unions, no matter how much they prey on their kids futures.

    Yeah, whatever.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    What you call "protecting bad members" is probably just that they make contracts that the employer must follow before firing or disciplining workers.



    http://oldsite.reason.com/0610/howtofireanincompetentteacher.pdf

  • robc||

    MNG,

    They bargain with your elected representative. Vote them out if you don't like it.

    That makes the assumption that democracy is the proper means for choosing representatives.

    You keep picking on peoples criticisms of unions but didnt respond to mine comparing them to payday loan joints. Is that an acceptance that it was a fair comparison?

  • robc||

    MNG,

    That includes just about every major corporation in the world btw, but I rarely hear conservatives and right leaning libertarian howling about "the corporations" the way and as much as I hear about "the teacher's unions."


    Good God, do you not read this site? We criticize rent seekers of all types, including every major corporation.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    You mean an organization that lobbys the legislature for something that will benefit it or to drive out competition and then dresses it up as being in the public interest? That includes just about every major corporation in the world btw, but I rarely hear conservatives and right leaning libertarian howling about "the corporations" the way and as much as I hear about "the teacher's unions."



    There's actually a lot more furor over ethanol subsidies on this board than teacher's unions.

  • robc||

    99.9% of school related issues can be solved by separation of school and state.

    This is another example.

    Teacher's unions? Sure, why not, Im sure some schools will be unionized and some wont be, parents can choose which they want their kids to attend.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Vote them out if you don't like it.

    We libertarians don't have enough votes. Thus, our sitting around discussing on the Internet how to convince more people to vote our way. Teachers would be doing the same thing if they were currently on the outs.

    A consumer can be assumed to be informed and strong enough to not need any consumer regulation to protect them...

    That's not the libertarian argument. The libertarian argument is that government officials cannot be assumed to be any more well informed than the public, nor wiser, nor to be looking out for the public's interest.

  • Paul||

    Paul
    That's incoherent. They bargain with your elected representative. Vote them out if you don't like it.


    It's not incoherent. At. All.

    If it were only as simple as pulling the "no" lever. I've been doing that since I was 18. Where's the one place where unions have flourished: the public sector. The system is designed as a closed feeback loop. Basically, a state entity supports the expansion of a state entity by member of the state entity.

    Now with campaign finance reform: supported by many incumbent politicians of the Democratic stripe, who are also heavily supported by organization such as the SEIU.

  • ||

    but I rarely hear conservatives and right leaning libertarian howling about "the corporations" the way and as much as I hear about "the teacher's unions."

    You have selective hearing. An even playing field, free of government interference and favorism, is a pretty basic libertarian belief. But you rarely hear it? We never rail on and on about forms of corporate welfare? Stadiums? Imminent Domain abuses that favor private parties? Police unions?!? No, libertarians love all that, but we are just too regressive to understand the societal benefits of strong public teachers' unions.

    As a parent (present, future, or fantasy), are you OK with teachers unions using their members involuntary dues money for political advocacy in the area of fighting competition?

    BTW, I like the quotes around "the corporations" - Biafra style and all! The "oh noes" is farking good too.

  • Nigel Watt||

    bigbigslacker, is using "Imminent" domain a snide comment that is going over my head or a random typo?

  • ||

    "That makes the assumption that democracy is the proper means for choosing representatives."

    I'd love to hear a better way.

    "Is that an acceptance that it was a fair comparison?"

    No, I don't find either to be scummy. They both provide a service and bargain for the best one they can get. I'm sure some are more willing to dump on the public than others are in both areas. I'd say teachers unions are usually better though, they are amazingly public interest minded at times.

    Yes many folks here decry other rent-seekers, but often not in so pervasive and general term, i.e. the words "teachers unions" are generally always followed by some criticism while "corporations" are often followed by a "hey they are just doing what they are designed to do" kind of defense. Besides, I limited my criticism thusly: "I rarely hear conservatives and right leaning libertarian howling about "the corporations""

    "As a parent (present, future, or fantasy), are you OK with teachers unions using their members involuntary dues money for political advocacy in the area of fighting competition? "

    I'm a parent and I'm fine with organizations, including teachers unions spending their members money however the democratically elected leaders decide to. The unions bargain and represent the non-members (they have a legal duty to do so) so yes they can compel fees for that. What's your problem with that?

    Paul-Teacher's unions hardly have control over any governments. There are lots of organizations, many of which have interests in gov. money, that urge their members to vote in a certain way, and the public is free to inform themselves about such groups and assert the public good. Should people with government contracts not be allowed to vote? WTF?

  • robc||

    I'd love to hear a better way.

    [insert obvious quote here]

    No, I don't find either to be scummy.

    Really? I may support payday loan places legal right to do what they do, but they are often preying (I almost typed praying :) ) on people who dont know any better. Its why I oppose lotteries too - I dont have a problem with gambling, but I have a problem with a government of/by/for the people ripping the same people off. There are lots of things I support being legal that I find reprehensible. Including teachers unions.

    Privatize the school system completely and I wouldnt have even a bit of a problem with the unions, however.

  • robc||

    I limited my criticism thusly: "I rarely hear conservatives and right leaning libertarian howling about "the corporations""

    It isnt the least bit rare, if a significant proportion of the political discussion you hear is from this site. You arent cheating on us with LGF are you?

  • Paul||

    "corporations" are often followed by a "hey they are just doing what they are designed to do" kind of defense. Besides, I limited my criticism thusly: "I rarely hear conservatives and right leaning libertarian howling about "the corporations""

    I'm an ex-Republican libertarian of a hawkish bent. I hate corporations-- the bigger the more-- because of rent-seeking. I'm really not sure you read this thread very often.

    We like free enterprise- therefore corporations might get a pass from us when we see them doing something kind of--gross (for lack of a better word) but only if the behavior doesn't accompany rent-seeking or regulatory protections.

    Should people with government contracts not be allowed to vote? WTF?

    I never suggested any such thing. Knowing that we can't rightfully take a vote away from a citizen, some serious contract reforms need to take place. When a union with 30,000 members can be given marching orders to vote for 'x' candidate because 'x' candidate is likely to preside over a cushy contract, that's corruption to the core.

    As a libertarian, I don't believe we should limit the organizations right to give said marching orders (first amendment concepts not popular with liberals vis. campaing finance reform). Hating the message, but defending their right to the death to say it, all we can really do reform the way public sector unions operate and bargain collectively.

    Ultimately, it may be an impossible task. But it doesn't mean I have to like the relationships-- a relationship which is entirely unique, unlike a private sector union bargaining with company management.

  • MJ||

    ""and then have a public school teacher's union that uses their power at the legislature to try and eliminate private schools altogether, or outlaw homeschooling, or extract more and more money for things (such as scads of overpriced administrators) that don't result in better education ..."

    They lobby the legislature for legislation which favors their benefits? OH NOES!" - Mr. Nice Guy

    Damn. Just damn.

    If they lobby for things which objectively hurt parents trying to get their kids a good education (like getting private schools and homeschooling discredited), or which causes their own schools to fail in their mission of educating children, then what the teacher's unions are doing is not defensible, for any reason, ever. It does not matter what corporations may or may not be doing. That someone else may be doing similar is no excuse fo doing the wrong thing. I suppose when you mother asked you if you would jump off a bridge if everyone else did it, you told her: YES!

    Mr. Nice Guy, I really hope that you not serious about what are arguing for, because it is truly disgusting.

  • ||

    You people don't know jack shit about education. Teachers are one of the hardest working groups out there and have very little to show for it other than having libertarian fools like yourself give them crap.

    Your philosophy is as empty as your heads

  • ||

    You people don't know jack shit about education.

    Everything I know about life, I learned from Yosemite Sam.

  • ||

    When I was a kid, I had to walk (on my hands) over molten lava 48,000 miles (yeah, around the world - twice) to school, and I was eaten every day by grizzlies - - kids today!

  • jtuf||

    I estimate my education (k through grad school) costed about $350,000. That's about the same as all non-educational costs for raising the average child from birth to age 18. The current burden of America's education system is unsustainable.

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