Chicago

Can Bipartisanship Actually Do Something Good, Like Smack Down Teachers' Unions?

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Won't somebody think of the unions?

Teachers' unions took another publicity hit over the weekend as hundreds of mayors across the country announced their support for "parent trigger" laws. Reuters reports:

Hundreds of mayors from across the United States this weekend called for new laws letting parents seize control of low-performing public schools and fire the teachers, oust the administrators or turn the schools over to private management.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors, meeting in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday unanimously endorsed "parent trigger" laws aimed at bypassing elected school boards and giving parents at the worst public schools the opportunity to band together and force immediate change.

Such laws are fiercely opposed by teachers' unions, which stand to lose members in school takeovers. Union leaders say there is no proof such upheaval will improve learning. And they argue that public investment in struggling communities, rather than private management of struggling schools, is the key to boosting student achievement.

The unions' intransigence in the matter is costing them Democratic support. Mayors Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, and Kevin Johnson of Sacramento (of all places) support parent trigger efforts, creating a bipartisan effort that, for once, might retract the power of government rather than expand it.

Unfortunately, mayors don't necessarily have all that much power over what the school districts do. California already has a parent trigger law, but teachers' unions have managed to block efforts to use them in both Compton and Adelanto.

Change is in the air, maybe:

In Los Angeles, Mayor Villaraigosa blasted union leaders as an "unwavering roadblock to reform." In Philadelphia, Mayor Nutter has backed a plan to close dozens of neighborhood schools and convert many others to charters, which are publicly funded but privately run—and typically non-union.

And in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel successfully pushed to cancel a scheduled 4 percent raise for teachers and extend the school day by more than an hour. Teachers are so angry, nearly 90 percent of union members just voted to authorize a strike if ongoing contract negotiations falter.

"We are on the path to change," said Gloria Romero, a former California state senator who now runs that state's branch of Democrats for Education Reform, an advocacy group that funnels donations to politicians willing to buck the teachers unions. She called the mayoral vote a "landmark" that would inspire poor and minority parents to demand change in their schools. "This is a civil rights fight," she said.

In Chicago, teachers are demanding a 30 percent pay raise over two years in the face of a $700 million school deficit. As The Wall Street Journal reports: "The city's teachers are among the most well-paid in the nation, even though its school day is the shortest of any large school district in the country. The average teacher earns about $75,000, which is 50% more than the median Chicago family income."

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  1. “This is a civil rights fight,” she said.

    Is always 1965, and every place is Selma, in their world.

  2. demanding a 30 percent pay raise over two years

    HEY, HEY, HEEEEEEEEEY!

    I believe that’s ONLY a 29% increase over two years!

    STOP TRYING TO MAKE THE TEACHERS LOOK WORSE THAN THEY ARE BAD!!!!1!11!

    1. A lot of CPS teachers and union apologists in Chicago have tried to trot out the old “teachers are underpaid” line, but it just isn’t working anymore. I hope they strike. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if the ~90% who voted to strike all lost their jobs. CPS teachers are extremely well compensated, especially when you take into consideration their lower tax rate (no SS tax!) and generous pension plans.

      I was debating with some who were talking about how they have to work all summer, but I personally know a teacher in CPS (who also voted for the strike authorization, dammit) who immediately left on a 5-week, 2 continent vacation after school let out. Please.

  3. union leaders are an “unwavering roadblock to reform.”

    ya think?

  4. Let’s hope like hell this builds momentum.

  5. Such laws are fiercely opposed by teachers’ unions, which stand to lose members in school takeovers.

    First priorities: membership and dues. Education is an externality.

    Union leaders say there is no proof such upheaval will improve learning.

    But there is proof that a lack of such upheaval has failed to improve learning.

    And they argue that public investment in struggling communities, rather than private management of struggling schools, is the key to boosting student achievement.

    SEND. MORE. MONEY. Because all of that other money that was sent was insufficient to their needs.

  6. teachers are demanding a 30 percent pay raise over two year

    If their paychecks increase by only 20%, then they will complain of a 10% cut.

  7. Those asswipes make 75k a year?! I seriously never knew what actual public teacher salaries were like, I can’s belive I listened to those cunts whining about their dismal salaries for like 12 goddamn years. If you’re smart with your money you could lead a pretty posh life on that.

    1. Not to mention benefits, summers off and no SS tax.

    2. $75K for 9 months converts to $100K for 12, and per Apatheist, that doesn’t include benes.
      Nor does it include the side bene that they can’t be fired.

  8. Yawn. Hey Mayor Nutter and the rest of ya’, I got news: It ain’t your teachers unions that are conducting armed robberies under color of law.

    1. Obama should call them up and tell them to stop. Maybe *snicker* have Holder do something *guffaw* about it.

    2. Hey, RAL, did you notice a subject to the thread?
      Or is any old misdirection as good as any other?

      1. Sevo — Do you expect to be taken seriously after the way you have conducted yourself on these boards?

        1. Registration At Last!|6.18.12 @ 8:22PM|#
          “Sevo — Do you expect to be taken seriously after the way you have conducted yourself on these boards?”

          Why would a screaming idiot like you ask a question like that?

  9. In unrelated news: Hundreds of mayors across the country had no serious Democrat primary challenges.

  10. If you’re having a problem with a union, here’s a radical, crazy, off-the-wall idea: LET THEM STRIKE!!!

    What’s the fear? Six months without a full complement of classroom teachers is going to retard a generation of youth? Let there be a test of economic resolve between producer and consumer as in all other spheres of economic life.

    1. That sounds fine as long as the government doesn’t prevent the school from hiring temporary substitutes while the strike is going on. (If the teachers are as good as union says they are, substitutes shouldn’t be a threat). Something tells me that you’d be against that, though.

      In general, I have no problems with unions themselves. It’s when they get the government to pass laws that prevent the fair “test of economic resolve between producer and consumer” that I have a problem.

      1. Speaking of retard, RAL… well, the joke writes itself.

      2. NAL — the state/local government and the school is one-and-the-same (assuming it’s a public school), so the scabs will be hired to the extent that the state/local government chooses to hire them.

        Current federal law expressly allows scabs. I know of no serious legislative push to change that.

        1. Registration At Last!|6.18.12 @ 8:19PM|#
          “NAL — the state/local government and the school is one-and-the-same (assuming it’s a public school),”

          No, it isn’t. Nice try.

    2. Registration At Last!|6.18.12 @ 3:53PM|#
      “If you’re having a problem with a union, here’s a radical, crazy, off-the-wall idea: LET THEM STRIKE!!!…
      Let there be a test of economic resolve between producer and consumer as in all other spheres of economic life.”

      Yep, let them strike and be fired. I *LIKE* it!
      (but that’s not what you meant, is it?)

      1. Current federal law is that you are not “fired” but “permanently replaced.” I’ll let you figure out the difference, if you can.

        1. Registration At Last!|6.18.12 @ 8:20PM|#
          “Current federal law is that you are not “fired” but “permanently replaced.” I’ll let you figure out the difference, if you can.”

          Pretty simple; they can’t be fired. I’ll let an ignoramus like you suggest why that’s OK.

  11. That last paragraph was reported in the local (Chicago) news last week. They did not mention the school day was short. But even without knowing that fact, that 30% raise sounded ballsy.

  12. 30 percent pay hike?

    The idea that we allow unions to negotiate with the very school boards and mayors and city councilers that union money and volunteers helped elect takes the concept of adversarial negotiation outside behind the gym and pummels until its bloody visage croaks out the words, “30 percent? Sounds great. See you at my fundraiser.”

  13. Teachers unions do get away with some of the most absurd contracts out there (http://eng.am/MmMoX9). Hopefully people are made aware of all the good that are coming to school districts when they put in place legislation that cleans up all the problems that these union created contracts cause (http://bit.ly/IHUdsH). Hopefully we can come to realize that the onus should be on what’s best for students.

  14. It’s past time to eliminate school districts altogether.

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