Sunday, July 15, 2012

"It's For the Children"

It ‘s for the Children

Remember, the teachers unions always claim “It is for the children.”

They urge tax increases for the children.

They campaign to raise levies for the children.

They want assessments up for the children’s sake.

They fight tax reductions for in the name of the children.

So explain to me if “It is for the children,”

Why do they agree to furloughs, and

Why do they support lessening the school year when they could agree instead to pension reform or changes to their health care?

It can’t be for the children.

Why, when expenditures are increased, do they go almost entirely into teacher salaries with little left over for classroom supplies, maintenance, or extracurricular activities?

It can’t be for the children!

If they care about the children, why do they oppose vouchers?

If it’s for the children, why do they fight charter schools?

If the American Federation of Teachers cares about the students, why did it spend $1 million to defeat the reelection of Mayor Adrian Fenty of Washington, D.C., and thereby watch his successor, Vince Gray, fire Michelle Rhee as Superintendent of the D.C. school system? Ms. Rhee is an advocate of school reform and now Mayor Gray is under investigation for campaign finance violations.

Why, pursuant to union contracts, can’t school districts like Los Angeles or New York, terminate teachers for misconduct or incompetence?

Instead, why are hundreds of teachers fully paid to sit in rubber rooms?

It can’t be for the students!

Police arrested two teachers earlier this year at Miramonte Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District for lewd activities. Even L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa, a former union organizer, was outraged when it was disclosed that the teacher’s union contract requires the school district to purge teacher personnel files, except for cases of formal discipline, after 4 years, thereby making it difficult to identify teachers accused in the past of abuse. Attempts to change the provision by the legislature were blocked by the teachers unions a short time ago.

Was that for the students?

If it is for the students why did the heads of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association reap 20% pay increases last year? Randi Weingartner’s pay and benefits from the AFT reached $493,859 and Dennis Van Roekel of the NEA soared to $460,060. Almost 600 staffers of the two unions earn 6 figure salaries.

That came from the students.

Let me state though I am not opposed to unions. I remember when teachers and nurses were paid peanuts because it was considered “women’s work.” Only by unionizing were they able to obtain decent salaries. My wife retired last year, but is still a member of CSEA, the California State Employees Association, the union of classified employees.

I also hold feckless civic leaders responsible for entering into outrageous contracts with the public employee unions. 

I am opposed to the acquisition of such political power as to own the Governor and legislature, just like the Southern Pacific Railway, “The Octopus,” a century ago in California. The teacher unions’ political power has blinded them to fiscal realities, and causes them to act with arrogance as they did in Wisconsin the past few years.

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