I grew up in northern Wisconsin. I can vividly recall that in my small town, nearly every two years, we got more days off for teacher strikes than snow. Seriously. Lake effect snow had less of an impact on my attendance than teacher negotiations.
The teacher contracts in my hometown were for two years (smart) but expired on 12/31 (not so smart). That meant that every other Christmas season while preparations were being made for the Christmas programs and parties and we pushed to finish work before the Christmas break we'd also be given verbal propaganda that they trusted we'd take home to our parents. Parents where then expected to pressure the school board and city council on behalf of the teachers. It was a union town. Folks knew what they were supposed to do. It took me until the 9th grade before I figured out I was being used by teachers as a propaganda conduit to my parents. That's likely the beginning of my interest in politics.
So I look at all the comments, videos and news reports about what's going on in Madison and remember all too well what I could see outside my 7th grade Science class windows as teachers took turns picketing before the actual strike action was called, the news reports from the local paper and television stations and shake my head. It's so sad to think how far they haven't come. It's OK to bankrupt a state and to demand that those hard financial cuts that must be made be made by someone else and not actually shared by all. All this from a group of people who want to be considered professionals but refuse to shed the shady shackles of union thug leadership and tactics. What sort of professional organization requires membership and the payment of tribute? Seems awfully 12th century feudal to me. And the children, well, they're children. Pawns caught between. That's just wrong and an abuse of the relationship they have with their authority figure teacher.
And to segue to our own recent legislation stripping the special rights of teachers here in Tennessee to have collective bargaining and increasing the years before tenure kicks in and assessing that tenure based on performance markers--I'm all for those. There's a lot more in those Educational Contracts than people realize. Read it sometime. Who gets a contract like that? They complained about Sarah Palin's bendy straws but these requirements are sacrosanct? Most of us are working without a contract at all, let alone a year long one, let alone tenure.
And here's a tease of longer comments from a Tennessee teacher:
I’m a teacher in Tennessee. Our legislature is primed to pass similar legislature. Good for them. Time to give some of these incompetent teachers incentive to either do well or get out. Read the rest, scroll down.
Finally, a bit of that new rhetoric the left demanded after the shootings in Arizona.