Tag Archives: Governor Scott Walker

The Declining Popularity of Teacher Labor Unions #TCTOT

We wanted to share this post from the Association of American Educators. “AAE is America’s fastest growing national, nonprofit, nonunion teachers’ association with members in all 50 states.”

This week’s recall election has thrust union special interests and teacher freedoms back into the national dialogue like never before. After a bitter campaign and an estimated $60 million spent on election efforts, the commanding win for Governor Walker illustrates an overwhelming shift in public opinion against teachers unions. As the dust settles on this historic election, it’s no coincidence that according to a new public opinion poll, teacher unions nationally are reaching all-time low approval levels.

In the latest national survey instituted by Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance and Education Next, scholars found that the share of the public with a positive view of union impact on local schools has dropped by a whopping 7% in the past year alone. Among teachers, union approval has reached an astonishing 16% decline. Whereas 58% of teachers took a positive view of unions in 2011 for example, just 43% feel the same in 2012.

These sentiments are further confirmed by a dramatic decline in union membership nationwide. According to Education Intelligence Agency’s Mike Antonucci, the National Education Association is reporting a decline of 150,000 members in the past two years and they further project that they will lose 200,000 more members by 2014.

According to researchers the survey’s most striking findings come from teachers themselves. Obviously teachers are frustrated by the unions’ controversial tactics, political spending, and outlandish dues. As the unions cope with the unilaterally negative press and legislative and legal battles across the country, members understandably do not want to be identified with a dying organization based on an outdated model of representation.

Based on the data, teachers are fleeing the unions and seeking alternative organizations in record numbers. It’s no coincidence that while the unions lose members, the Association of American Educators (AAE) and state chapters throughout the country are growing by leaps and bounds. Not only has our membership grown exponentially across the country, but AAE membership has particularly grown in states that are at the forefront of the education and labor debate, including the forced union battleground of Wisconsin.

The results of this poll also give further evidence of the need for a robust non-union educator movement nationally – a movement that embraces innovation and reform while focusing on professionalism, collaboration and excellence. It is this positive voice that teachers are demanding as a professional option. As respected professionals, teachers should distance themselves from the self-serving interest of labor unions and align themselves with an organization that respects their true priorities.

As the summer begins and teachers look to a new school year in the coming months, we encourage teachers across America to take these findings to heart and choose membership in an organization that best represents them and their profession. Those who don’t identify with the unprofessional, hyper-partisan tactics of the unions should join with the over 300,000 other teachers who have embraced truly professional organizations like the Association of American Educators.

If you are tired of the unions in your profession, consider joining the AAE.

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#Conservative #Teachers Arise! #StandWithWalker #TCTOT #education #edchat

The final vote totals have not been counted, but the race has officially been called. Scott Walker has survived the challenge from the union thugs in Wisconsin. Conservative teachers need to recognize that there is a huge implication for them. For far too long conservatives have kept quiet in our profession. To often we refuse to stand up to the union thugs and we let them control the discussion. Conservative teachers need to stand up and be heard. Do not let the union speak for you, speak for yourself. If you live in a state where you are forced to be in a union. Get active and demand that your freedoms be respected.

A huge thanks goes out to the PEOPLE of Wisconsin. Congratulations to Governor Walker!

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Wisconsin teachers’ unions trying to hide benefits of Gov. Walker’s reforms?

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Teachers Must Protect All Students from Bullying to Encourage Critical Thinking and Effective Debate

Teachers are typically caring people who are deeply concerned about the intellectual, emotional, and educational needs of their students. Over the years, many teachers have found protecting students’ rights more challenging as the educational system and the school curricula become more political. A teacher’s commitment to recognize the needs and protect the rights of each student becomes most important at that time.

During my 36 years as a conservative teacher in the classroom, it was difficult to witness the removal of conservative current-events materials from library magazine racks, to witness the removal of conservative ideologies from the text books, and to read the demeaning representations of the few traditional American values that remained in school textbooks. Nothing was more upsetting than hearing from students who supported conservative ideologies that they were bullied by classmates and teachers for their political stands and for expressing their intention to choose abstinence during discussions in health class.

I volunteered to donate two conservative magazines and one conservative newspaper to my school library so conservative children would feel comfortable discussing that side of political issues during current-events classes. The librarian told me, “NO.” She had to present only those items recommended by curriculum guides.* While conservative teachers were upset by this, few were willing to take a stand. It is time we all take a stand. We now must protect political diversity just as we support other diversity issues.

State governments have wasted millions of dollars creating and implementing anti-bullying curriculums which have been destined to failure because of the often unintentional but institutionally accepted bullying practiced by most political and social institutions, including the educational system. If there is any chance of limiting bullying within the educational system, legislation and district policies must include anti-bullying standards for the role models and leadership of the very institutions required to implement the anti-bullying curriculums.

Educators recognize that school libraries set the intellectual and social tone of the school. Librarians have been diligent about including literature that recognizes the contributions made to America by every race and nationality. The current-events materials may include everything from Mother Jones, Monthly Review, Mother Earth News, to Time, and Newsweek; but one typically will not see a copy of a conservative magazine such asThe Weekly Standard or National Review. Censorship is one of the most aggressive forms of bullying.

A Wisconsin teacher brought his fourth graders to the state capitol for a field trip and encouraged those children to participate in the anti-Governor Walker protests that are a well-known daily occurrence. When this instructor used his influence to encourage students to ignore the political views of their parents and to protest a Governor whom their parents support, intimidation was being used to bully young children. Fortunately, most teachers use better judgment.

This teacher, like so many others, was simply following curricula recommendations which encourage student activism. Unless teachers encourage students to become active on both sides of the issue, critical thinking and effective debate are lost.

When a student is met with derision when he responds to discussion questions presented by stating that the he or she intends to practice abstinence, that is bullying. When the instructor does not stop the mocking and/or if he participates, the instructor not only condones these behaviors but becomes a bully. Peer pressure is often used to push children into abandoning their goals and values. A common peer pressure tactic is represented by the false statement that “everybody does it”.

If bullying in schools is going to subside, teachers must support anti-bullying policies which include well-defined examples of bullying, well-defined consequences for any acts of bullying, and standards which must be applicable to adults as well as to students in the educational setting. Once that has been accomplished, legislators must take a careful look at curriculum core standards for every subject area and assure that those standards are fact-based and scientifically sound, that the data is replicable, and that the content encourages respect for the traditions and customs that have served the American people so well for over 200 years.

This is a piece written by Karen Schroeder. Ms. Schroeder is a member of Conservative Teachers of America and President of Advocates for Academic Freedom. She can be reached at 715-234-5072.

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Recommended Reads 9/25/2011

Below you will find some educational articles from the past week that we think are worth reading.

Our Achievement-Gap Mania

This piece is by Frederick M. Hess, he is director of education-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and author of The Same Thing Over and Over: How School Reformers Get Stuck in Yesterday’s Ideas. This essay was made possible in part by generous support from the Hertog/Simon Fund for Policy Analysis.

The truth is that achievement-gap mania has led to education policy that has shortchanged many children. It has narrowed the scope of schooling. It has hollowed out public support for school reform. It has stifled educational innovation. It has distorted the way we approach educational choice, accountability, and reform.

And its animating principles — including its moral philosophy — are, at best, highly questionable. Indeed, the relentless focus on gap-closing has transformed school reform into little more than a less objectionable rehash of the failed Great Society playbook.

http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/our-achievement-gap-mania

Dear Rick Hess: There is Nothing Wrong with “Achievement Gap Mania”

In the spirit of open and honest debate, please check out the response by RiShawn Biddle to the above article in Dropout Nation.

When your Dropout Nation editor has been brought low by that horrible viral-based disease called Influenza, it not only forces him to spend days sleeping in bed (when not coughing and other disgusting aspects of being sick), but limits him to reading a lot of really smart people writing and saying dumb things. And if you have been reading this publication long enough, there are few things that displease me more than smart people — especially Beltway school reformers — uttering statements that shouldn’t even come from their minds, much less their pens.

http://dropoutnation.net/2011/09/21/rick-hess-nothing-wrong-achievement-gap-mania/

Five things students say they want from education

Technology, creativity, and choice are among the features students would like to see in school.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2011/07/28/five-things-students-say-they-want-from-education/

Obama rolling back Bush-era education law

Many teachers oppose NCLB, liberal and conservative, but this is not a solution to the problem.

President Barack Obama is giving states the flexibility to opt out of provisions of the No Child Left Behind law, a move he says is designed to energize schools but Republicans challenge as outside his authority.

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/national_world&id=8365374

Father upset over homework promoting polygamy, Islam

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A father’s complaint that his daughter’s homework promotes the Muslim faith could lead to a lesson change in Cobb County.

Channel 2’s Tom Regan talked to the father who showed him where his daughter’s homework which said there’s nothing wrong with having multiple wives.

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/29284189/detail.html#.Tn6PXb7YtFM.twitter

The Outrage of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is Misdirected

I have to say I am skeptical of Bill Gates asking for support of his educational vision. I am tired of the Gates Foundation putting out its version of how education should and can be fixed with The Gates Foundation plan using taxpayer money. Here is one of the latest articles and tweets from the Gates Foundation about “where’s the outrage”?

http://www.missourieducationwatchdog.com/2011/09/outrage-of-bill-and-melinda-gates.html

Finally, as just a fun item. Do you want to annoy a liberal educator from Wisconsin? We came across this piece by a Wisconsin teacher, and thought it might be fun to encourage conservatives to leave a comment. You’ll understand why once you get there and read this, it’s always fun to look into the mind of a liberal union educator once in a while. Just don’t stay there too long.

http://monologuesofdissent.blogspot.com/2011/09/scott-walker-vs-state-of-education-open.html

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Wisconsin Teacher Stands With Courage

We were sent this today and feel it is a story that everyone should hear. It represents exactly what this group wants teachers to do. Elijah Grajkowski is a teacher from Wisconsin, this is his story. His email is listed at the end of the article, if you have the time, send him a few words of encouragement.

My experience with WEAC and why I’ve chosen the non-union option

If the teachers union is as wonderful as it claims, then it should have no problem attracting members, without the need to force teachers to join. How is this any different from any other professional organization that teachers, as professionals, may choose to join? It’s a question I have been pondering since I became a public teacher in Wisconsin.

For years, I have chosen not to be a member of the union. However, this is a choice that I didn’t exactly have before Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill went into law. As a compulsory union state where teachers are required to pay union dues as a condition of employment, the most I could hope for was a “Fair Share” membership, where the union refunded me a small portion of the money that was taken from my paycheck that lawyers have deemed “un-chargeable.”

Every September, after lengthy, bureaucratic and unadvertised hurdles, I would file my certified letter to try to withdraw my union membership. Then, they would proceed to drag their feet in issuing me my small refund. I often wondered why this kind of burden would be put on an individual teacher like me. Shouldn’t it be up to the organization to convince people and sell its benefits to potential members afresh each year? Why should I have to move mountains each fall to break ties with this group that I don’t want to be a part of in the first place? Something seemed dreadfully wrong with that picture.

As a public school teacher in Wisconsin, I’ve thought critically about many unfair policies concerning the teachers union. Why is Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) granted special access to my paychecks through the school district, when other professional groups don’t have this privilege? Why should payroll clerks in school district offices do the job of collecting union dues money and then cutting and sending the union their monthly checks (all on the taxpayers’ dime)? Do other organizations get this privilege? If not, why not? What would happen if I went to my administrator and negotiated my own deal for my own salary and benefits? Why can’t I do this? Maybe I would be able to negotiate something better for myself. I don’t know, as I haven’t been given the chance.

I allowed them access to my paychecks so that they could turn around and tell me just how bad I had it. It’s their job to encourage unrest, discontent and unhappiness amongst the rank and file; this is how they justify their existence. In my opinion, this has encouraged adversarial interactions with administrations. This is not how I want to live my life while being a teacher. I wish to be thankful and grateful about what I have, and realize that there are people out there paying taxes to support my position and benefits. Many Wisconsinites don’t have the salary, security or benefits that I have. I’m really in no position to complain.

All this past spring, I sat watching and listening to Wisconsin teachers and others protesting, shouting, chanting and skipping school to protest in Madison. This is not a group that I wish to be a part of, nor do I wish to be represented by a group who endorses or engages in these kinds of tactics.

Now that I don’t have to pay my “fair share” of union dues, I have been informing my fellow teachers about the premier non-union alternative, the Association of American Educators (AAE). AAE is not a union — it’s a professional, nonprofit organization. The AAE model sees to it that I am fairly and accurately represented via their membership surveys and protected via an individual liability insurance policy and legal counsel. They don’t support partisan politics or issues unrelated to education and their dues are a mere fraction of WEAC. With AAE, I feel like a professional educator, not a union worker that is forced to pay excessive dues and contribute to controversial issues that don’t reflect my beliefs.

This school year, we must let the teachers unions sink or swim on their own, along with the multitude of other professional organizations that teachers can choose to belong to. Now that WEAC no longer has a money stream funneled from legions of Wisconsin teachers, they will have to compete for members just like every other organization. Whether this means downsizing or reducing costs, organizations will be held accountable to market forces. Examine the difference for yourself.

Elijah Grajkowski is a Wisconsin public school teacher. He lives in New Berlin and can be reached at grajkowe@att.net.

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Close Encounters of the Union Kind

We received this from one of our members, he would prefer to keep his identity and school district confidential, so we are going to post it for him.

Excitement always surrounds new beginnings. For the NEA, new teachers and the beginning of the school year is probably about as exciting as it comes. After all, the beginning of the school year presents fresh meat for the union pack.

I recently started at a fairly large school district in a middle sized city in the Midwest. I was certainly excited for the beginning of the year meetings, but I can’t say I was that excited about my inevitable encounter with the National Education Association. I figured why not turn this into a positive and go in as an undercover reporter, so to speak.

The NEA offered new teachers a breakfast and a lunch all on the same day. I decided that I would attend both of them, the ability to act like a liberal doesn’t present itself very often. Free food and the chance to waste NEA resources, what self-respecting conservative would turn that down?

For breakfast I had the option of some granola bars, juice, water, a fruit, and the ever important NEA membership form! You have to love the NEAs brutal honesty, it’s not about education, it’s about money. From a small flyer attached to the NEA membership form:

Research shows that over a ten-year period, school districts in [my state] with an NEA majority have experienced salary increases more than 30% higher than districts with an [other state teacher organization] majority. The higher the percentage of NEA members in a district, the higher the bargaining power for not only salary increases, but for benefits and working conditions as well.

Can we think about this a second? America is broke, but the NEA wants me to sign up so they can get me some more cash! Thanks for the breakfast (which really wasn’t much of a breakfast), but no thanks. The most irritating part of this form shoved in my face in the morning is they didn’t even tell me the cost of the membership. I guess it’s just assumed you don’t care and are going to join anyway. Hey, they were offering a free t-shirt on top of the promise of a higher salary down the road. What a deal!

I escaped the first meeting with no confrontation and headed off to my morning sessions. Lunch arrived, and it was time to head back into the lion’s den (snake pit?). While waiting in line for my sandwich, chips, and water I was given another folder with more exciting NEA information. It was apparent that time was waning for the NEA, and potential new members were escaping their grasp. Inside of this folder was another membership form and a little bright yellow piece of paper stapled to it.

Special New Member Incentive

Any new member who joins NEA between August 8 and August 12, 2011 will receive a crisp, new (or old, wrinkled) $10 bill!

Well, at least they have a sense of humor as they bribe you with money. It got better though, as I was eating my lunch our district’s NEA president marched in and told us that anybody that joined would be entered in a chance to win $100. At this point I was beginning to wonder if I could join, get the $10, have a shot at the $100, and then dump the membership in a couple days. As tempting as it was, I talked myself out of that. I did finally find out the monthly cost. I finished my lunch and headed on out. I actually had to come back down to the NEA area because there was some confusion on our meeting schedule. As was attempting to leave an NEA representative made some comment about filling out our forms. I can’t specifically remember what he said, but it was arrogant and presumptuous. At this point a somewhat heated discussion began.

Now the guy I was speaking to appeared to be a nice person, he seemed genuine anyway. Overall the conversation was semi-professional. As you would expect any NEA member to do he brought up the topic of Governor Scott Walker. I was a little annoyed with him and decided to tell him that I had a lot of respect for Governor Walker. He decided to share with me that he thought Governor Walker was “a douche bag.” Yeah, not kidding. Of course he attempted to bring up the Koch brothers, the left’s boogie men. I changed the topic quickly.

The thing that floored me as I continued to talk to him was just how little he knew about his own organization. I told him I was frustrated with the NEAs partnership with the AFL-CIO. He told me I had my facts wrong. I guess he ought to check their own website: NEA pledges to work with new AFL-CIO president. He told me that he was upset with WADC’s involvement in education. That’s been the result of decades of NEAs influence on education. He shared with me that he feels the country needs more personal responsibility. I mean, really, the NEA is an organization that supports the political left. I know of no other group in American society that celebrates and rewards personal irresponsibility more than individuals of this political perspective. After an hour I had about enough of Mr. NEA and decided to head on about my day. We shook hands, wished each other the best, and agreed to disagree.

At the end of the day I can honestly say my opinion has not changed of the NEA. I still think they are one of the biggest problems we have in education. This is why I am a member of the Association of American Educators.

Oh, one other beautiful piece of this story. I am working with another new teacher who is originally from Czechoslovakia. We are working in the same building so we were hanging out together. She was with me most of the day and saw the beginning of the discussion with the NEA representative. The next day we were talking and she said, “You know what that reminded me of? Communism.” Unprompted, unscripted, brutal honesty.

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