Comments for: Five myths about teachers’ unions

Posted Sept. 15, 2012, at 11:47 a.m.

The Chicago teachers strike, which tentatively ended Friday, thrust teachers unions into the national spotlight. In Chicago and around the country, some see unions as saving public education and others as driving it into the ground. But the reality of how teachers unions operate is more complicated than the rhetoric …

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  • Anonymous

    Wow…how did this get in here.  #2 sums up most of my issue with public sector unions.

    • Anonymous

      Your comment, “Wow … how did this get in here,” is odd.  The BDN publishes a wide variety of opinion pieces.
      So I’m a liberal, and for nine years was a non-unionized school teacher.  And I agree with Mayor Rham Emmanuel in his struggle with the teachers’ union.  Yes, we all like a fair wage and job security, but it’s also important to be able to replace poorly-performing teachers, and stay within municipal budget constraints. 
      This was an informative, well-written opinion piece.  Bravo.

      • Anonymous

         I didn’t find his comment odd at all. Though the BDN periodically brings reasonable opinions to the fore, it is relatively rare compared to the many shrill pieces from our more leftist friends.

        That said, This article says many of the things about teachers and public sector unions I have been trying to find the words for.

        • Anonymous

          The BDN publishes lots and lots of conservative stuff, regularly from folks such as Charles Krauthammer, George Will, and Matthew Gagnon, a recent (Sept. 10 on line, Sept. 11 in the newspaper) piece by Republican Rep. Jonathan McKane, far-right lies from Erik Bennett last Tuesday (a piece the Portland Press Herald rejected because of its blatant falsehoods), center-right stuff from Kathleen Parker — I really don’t see why that surprises you.  They print a range of opinions.  That Erik Bennett piece was nothing but smelly garbage, but they even printed that. 
          This piece on teachers’ unions was a good center-right piece, and I’m a liberal who liked it.  Why does it surprise you that the BDN is so much more fair and balanced than the Murdoch Media?

          • Anonymous

            I missed the Bennett article so I can’t comment.
            Though you see a few conservative writers I would expect that if you were to quantify oped pieces left v right you would find a preponderance of left wing writers. I am willing to bet for instance that over the last year when unions were the topic the majority of the pieces printed were pro-union. In addition to national writers there is the union outfit from Brewer that seems to get an op-ed space 4-5 times per year as well any number of other local folks.

          • Anonymous

            One of the things Erick Bennett, a “political consultant and strategist who owns FNX Enterprises,” said (in the print edition Sept. 11) was, “same-sex couples have registered their wedding ceremonies with the state and received certified copies licensing that union since 2004.  …  Same-sex couples have been able to join together in legal matrimony in Maine for eight years with the same rights and benefits as everyone else …” 
            This is blatantly false.  What is true is that since 2004 there has been a domestic partner registry, and that those who register as domestic partners get a couple of benefits, such as being considered next-of-kin at the hospital or for funeral arrangements.  But the domestic partnership registry does not cover income tax filings, joint parenting and adopting, joint insurance policies, immigration and residency for spouses from other countries, bereavement or sick leave to care for a spouse or child, veterans’ benefits, or a whole host of other things.  And the domestic partner registry is not “a wedding ceremony.”
            Bennett said that “wedding ceremonies” have been registered since 2004 — not true.  He said that “legal matrimony” for same-sex couples is legal in Maine — not true.  He said gay and lesbian couples get “the same rights and benefits as everyone else” — not true.  He said, “Clearly, same-sex couples already get licenses despite all the rhetoric.”  Well, maybe drivers, and hunting and fishing licenses, but not marriage licenses! And he goes on and on, all of it untrue!  And the BDN published this bunk. 
            They have said that they will edit the on-line version of his opinion piece because they now realize it was untrue.  But the print edition went out with all of these falsehoods in it.  The BDN failed to fact-check before they published it.
            Maybe we see this from different directions.  As a liberal, I’m more likely to see a conservative bias.  As a conservative, maybe you’re likely to see a liberal bias.  Or maybe the BDN is actually “fair and balanced” in a way that Fox News is not.

          • Anonymous

             I expect that SSM issue is more immediate for you than it is for me. I generally jump over pro-ssm/ anti-ssm commentary and just plain don’t comment on it. I think there are bigger issues than who someone has a relationship with.
            Never the less …. The preponderance of op-ed/ed pieces I see come from a liberal perspective.

    • Sorry! 

      This article only enforces and creates new Myths!

      “”””Bankruptcy is not an option in Fair Collective bargaining! “””

      If you ask for to much in wages the school has other remedies including layoffs!

      Having the ability to negotiate a wage should be protected under the 14th amendment for everyone.

      • Anonymous

         Contractually negotiated layoffs you mean, negotiated with yourself. hmmmmm.

        Let us not forget the insurance payment kickbacks the union get that goes directly to the union bank accounts from the taxpayer wallets.

      • FELT

        The public schools are sinking under the weight of the Union demands, just like the American Steel industry did several decades ago. Bethlehem Steel is now a museum. 

        • Demands?

          Huh!

          I have been thru many contract negotiations and usually the Company does the DEMAND ing!

          You can’t get blood out of a Stone!

        •    There was a Time when the Teaching Proffesion had Nothing to offer in wages, now that manufacturing has been sent to countrys that pay the help pennies on the dollar to the American counter part,  Teachers Pay looks astronomical!

          The Decline of America is the result of “Corporate” Greed not a few Teachers looking for a fair wage!

          Try looking at the world without Limbaugh , and Howie Carr lenses!

  • County Escapee

    In NYC, the unions won’t let the schools get rid of hundreds of teachers that have assaulted student’s and each other on and on and on. Instead they stick them in “rubber rooms” where they spend years just sit, collecting full pay, and building up their pension.

    Much of the problem in Chicago is that they don’t want to be evaluated on a regular basis. I recently saw a cartoon showing a teacher yelling “down with evaluations” while a kid asks her if that means no more report cards for him!

    • Anonymous

      Actually, the unions in NYC won’t let the schools get rid of teachers that have been ACCUSED of those things you listed.  Many of the teachers in the rubber rooms you mentioned are there awaiting the results of investigations into accusations.   While I’m not saying that everyone of them is innocent, it would be equally erroneous to assume that everyone of them is guilty.   Sometimes kids do lie about incidents with teachers, and it would really bad policy to fire people outright without finding out the truth first.

      • County Escapee

        Some are in limbo, but the plurality have been found guilty (usually in state/city courts.) The Unions appeal and often win. The schools don’t want them back, so they spend time (usually years) in rubber rooms collecting full pay for nothing. One ran a real estate business for over 10 years from one ’til he got busted for it last spring! Some get bored enough that they move on.
        Reading the print version of the NY Post daily, following the many articles for the last year, I stand by my comment.

    • Anonymous

      I would also say that it is misleading to say that teachers are against evaluations….the fight is over what kinds of evaluations to use.

      • County Escapee

        It can be called misleading, I suppose, but I’m not trying to write an article with complete info of all the details. If I had added the part of how they’d be graded on their student’s performance, I would be a published man of letters. If people want the full story, they can look up full the details for themselves.

        • Anonymous

          There is a difference between not writing a detailed comment and writing one that is wrong.   If you had said that the teachers don’t want to be evaluated the way the city wants them to, that would have been a true, short comment with few specifics.  By saying teachers are against evaluations, you are stating something that is absolutely false.  The disagreement isn’t over whether or not to have evaluations…its over what kinds to use and which are better indicators of actual teaching ability.

          • County Escapee

            Hmmm. First you call leaving out a detail ‘misleading’ and now you say it makes it ‘absolutely false’. Kind of a moving target, eh?

            edit: See my poorly placed continuation next frame down.

          • County Escapee

            Most large school systems see no other way of grading teachers other than to put them all on a system wide curve of their student’s performance. What other ways are there really, w/o a monitor sitting in each classroom?. Their complaint about it is not unique.

  • Anonymous

    Giant corporations ignoring environmental laws and buying politicians and elections are not your enemy.  Teacher’s unions are your enemy.  –your friends at the GOP 

    • Anonymous

      The GOP has no choice but to tackle the teachers unions head on. The haven’t figured out a way to send those jobs over seas yet. Oven Mitt should be able to help with that one.

    • FELT

      I feel you don’t write so good; educated in a public school or just working on your G.E.D.? 

      • Anonymous

        It looks like good CATHOLIC school grammar to me.  What would Jesus write?

  • FELT

    I always felt that the teachers’ unions stuck with only contractual issues; and then I went to a convention of the A.F.T. and visited the exhibits.  

    The A.F.T. had several tables of ‘how to’ books on operating public schools, everything from school boards, to curriculum, to governance.

    The distinct impression was they expected their members to run the entire damn public school from top to bottom….which makes them responsible for its failures!

    I suggest the author visit one of their conventions and pick up a few books on how to get a compliant principal or superintendent; or …..

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