Tag Archives: Wisconsin

If unions do so much for their members, then why bully?

larrysand1

Cross-posted from EAGNews.

by Larry Sand from UnionWatch

LOS ANGELES – The Michigan Education Association had its apple cart turned upside down when the Wolverine State went “right-to-work” in December.

This means that, unlike California and 25 other states, a worker doesn’t have to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

My introduction to union coercion came in 2005, when, as a middle school teacher in Los Angeles, I joined the Prop. 75 campaign. That initiative would have prohibited public employee labor organizations from collecting the part of union dues which goes for politics without prior consent of the employee. Sensing a disruption in their forced dues gravy train, the California Teachers Association went into overdrive. It raised union dues on its members for a three-year period and mortgaged their offices in Sacramento, then used the millions they accumulated to scare teachers and the public – ominously warning them of imaginary horrors that would be visited on them if the proposition passed.

Teachers unions are forever telling its members how much the union does for them in the way of wages, job benefits, etc. You would think that an organization that does so much for its members wouldn’t have to resort to bullying to keep them in the fold. But the unions know that without forcing the issue, many teachers would just say, “No.” For instance, in Wisconsin, after Act 10 came into law allowing teachers to quit their union, about 30 percent have already quit with more to follow this June when their contracts expire.

Also, typically unspoken in the unions’ talking points is the fact that while union members in forced union states may make more than their counterparts in RTW states, the costs of goods and services are far lower in these states, the result being a net gain for the employee. The unions also don’t tell you that workers are flocking to RTW states, which have a lower unemployment rate than in states that are dominated by unions.

In Michigan, a skittish MEA is doing what it can to intimidate teachers. First, they are scrambling to get new contracts for teachers all over the state before March when the new RTW law takes effect. Also, MEA boss Steve Cook issued a threat that any teacher who decides to bail in March will be sued. According to a Wall Street Journal editorial,

“Members who indicate they wish to resign membership in March, or whenever, will be told they can only do so in August,” Mr. Cook writes in the three-page memo obtained by the West Michigan Policy Forum. “We will use any legal means at our disposal to collect the dues owed under signed membership forms from any members who withhold dues prior to terminating their membership in August for the following fiscal year.”

Got that, comrade?

If nothing else, recent events have shown without a shred of doubt, the union is about maintaining its power and collecting every last penny they claim is owed to them. All the lofty talk about the children is just so much camouflage for their real agenda – accumulating money and power.

Another expression bandied about by the unions is the term “free rider.” They try to gain sympathy by suggesting that those in RTW states who don’t voluntarily join are getting something valuable for free. This specious argument really needs to be countered. Many teachers would happily say, “I don’t want any part of the union and the perks it may get me. I think I have a valuable service to offer and want to negotiate my own contract.” Seems reasonable, right? Well, that decision is not up to the teacher. As Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk points out,

Unions object that right-to-work is actually “right-to-freeload.” The AFL-CIO argues “unions are forced by law to protect all workers, even those who don’t contribute financially toward the expenses incurred by providing those protections.” They contend they should not have to represent workers who do not pay their “fair share.”

It is a compelling argument, but untrue. The National Labor Relations Act does not mandate unions exclusively represent all employees, but permits them to electively do so. Under the Act, unions can also negotiate “members-only” contracts that only cover dues-paying members. They do not have to represent other employees.

Teacher union watchdog Mike Antonucci adds,

The very first thing any new union wants is exclusivity. No other unions are allowed to negotiate on behalf of people in the bargaining unit. Unit members cannot hire their own agent, nor can they represent themselves.

So those deemed free riders by the unions are really forced riders.

Having seen the union’s lies and intimidating ways up close and personal, I am hardly surprised at MEA’s hardball tactics. But it seems that the voters in states like Michigan and Wisconsin have awakened, perhaps signaling that worker freedom just may be the wave of the future.

Larry Sand, a retired teacher who taught in Los Angeles and NYC public schools for 28 years, is the president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network. This post originally appeared as a guest column in the Orange County Register and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Wisconsin Teachers Choose to Be Non-Union

Huh, look at that, we are not all union-loving zombies. Some of us like professional organizations that treat us as…wait for it….professionals! Some of us like CHOICE! Have you thought about joining the Association of American Educators? If not, you really should. Below is the newest promotional video from the AAE. Check it out!

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Educators Can Turn Policy Change Into An Opportunity

We received this from Karen Schroeder, President of Advocates for Academic Freedom. We would love to hear your thoughts on her ideas below.

EDUCATORS CAN TURN POLICY CHANGE INTO AN OPPORTUNITY

When powerful Democrats join President Obama in advocating school choice and accountability in education, educators must be prepared to turn this policy change into an opportunity. Most politicians and citizens do not understand that teachers are typically told which teaching methods to use in the classroom and are evaluated on how successfully they execute those teaching methods. Now that the academic success of students is becoming the focus, teachers have a chance to define their standing as professionals. Teachers must begin by demanding the right to choose the teaching methods used in their classrooms.

Administrators and legislators expect to deal with union leaders, so we must be well organized and prepared and ready to provide concrete examples of teaching methods that have impacted student academic success. While many examples exist, cooperative grouping of students is an example of a technique that has limited value although many college professors continue to prepare new teachers to use cooperative grouping as a main method of instruction.

If the public and legislators are going to get a true picture of the challenges facing the classroom, teachers must reveal that many teaching methods implemented in American classrooms discourage academic success. Cooperative grouping of students, for example, teaches children to surrender individual educational goals and support collectivism.  Sixty years of failure have not deterred college professors from encouraging teachers to use cooperative grouping in classrooms. The educational goals of those college professors are not academic. Their goals are political.

Cooperative grouping requires the teacher to organize students into small groups each representing a microcosm of society by including a student from every socio-economic group and every ability group. The teacher provides a task for each group to complete. Students receive a group grade because the success of each student is the responsibility of the group.

This method requires children who enjoy academics to relinquish personal educational goals and encourage, motivate, and educate less academically talented students. Students with high potential learn to devalue their skill and replace it with community service. When top students are not encouraged to develop their true potential, personal expectations of all students drop.

Cooperative grouping teaches children with little interest in academics that their success is dependent upon the level and quality of sacrifice made by more academically capable students. It promotes fear of failure rather than recognition of failure as a part of any learning process. No longer are children taught that success means overcoming challenges and developing skills to deal with failures. Instead, failure seems to occur because a fellow citizen does too little to bring success to others. That fellow citizen becomes anyone who accomplishes more than others. Political and social implications are obvious.

This teaching method has helped create a society that accepts pitting one group of citizens against another in the name of “social reciprocity” or equity. American children are being taught that some have the right to take from others.

Cooperative grouping of children demonstrates what history has repeatedly proven: collectivism is a policy of destruction. The method discourages creativity, ambition, productivity, independence, and happiness. Politically, anyone who does reach his potential is seen as a power-hungry oppressor who must be taxed into dependence, his creativity regulated into subservience, and his individuality forced into conformity.

Instructors must reclaim our professional responsibility as teachers of academics and refuse to spend classroom time shaping social or political policies.

http://advocatesforacademicfreedom.org/ 

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Advocates-for-Academic-Freedom-Corp/192295727462155?v=wall

Karen Schroeder is the President of Advocates for Academic Freedom (AAF) which is a proponent for a return to fact-based curricula, accountability, and academic excellent in public education. Karen was appointed to the Governor’s Educational Communications Board on May 1, 2012.  She provides seminars designed to inform and motivate citizens to reclaim their responsibility to become involved in the decisions made at the local and state levels of the educational system. Among other projects, AAF donates conservative current-events materials to libraries of public schools.

With a BA degree in education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education, Ms. Schroeder has taught in suburban public schools for thirty-six years. During her teaching career, she became a free-lance writer to provide citizens with information revealing the impact of social and political policies on the educational system. Her works are published in the Eau Claire Journal and numerous other newspapers across Wisconsin. As an education consultant, Ms. Schroeder provides seminars for the public and campaign training programs to political candidates.

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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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Teachers union brags about Walker recall indoctrination

This video comes from Kyle Olson’s Education Action Group. The truth has no agenda, and it becomes quite apparent in the course of this five minute clip. We are tempted to say it is hilarious, and it is at times, until you start to consider that these individuals are actually in classrooms with children. Parents in Wisconsin schools need to take the next step and start to “recall” some of these worthless educators through their school boards.

Isn’t it fun to see the sunlight shined on cockroaches!?

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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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