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Wisconsin Gov. Walker Threatens To Deploy National Guard Against Unions

Discussion in 'Alley of Lingering Sighs' started by Ragusa, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    Well, as I see it unions try to push for better conditions for their members, that's their job - just as it is the job of other advocacy groups to push for the opposite interests. I'm not sure if they would push against any testing measures, or just found disagreements with the testing measures proposed in that case - which might have been designed to bring changes in the teaching method the teachers disagreed with. There are advocacy groups who believe that unions are harmful and the policies they support should be fought - and perhaps they have the sympathies of some of the people proposing the reforms, turning a molehill into a mountain. Perhaps the evaluations were honest and passing them would improve the quality of service, perhaps not - I do not know enough about the testing measures proposed and the education situation in the US. I do know, however, that I saw 3-4 different education programs during my time in high school, and all of those "new and improved" formulas didn't magically fix education - many of them had little, or no, positive effect.

    Personally, I view unions as just another group from a wide spectrum that is trying to push forth some interests. They aren't always right, but sometimes they are - and generally, it's better to have them around and occasionally humor them than to let their counterparts run rampant for lack of opposition. In fact, I'd say they are neither as powerful nor as entrenched in their positions as they are often portrayed- but yes, if you want them to make concessions, generally you should be expected to make some too, that's how it works between near-equal partners anywhere. In fact, Gov. Walker got an even sweeter deal: he pushed for iirc benefit cuts, and at some point they acceded to those demands. He got them to give up the money, basically. The part that is giving him problems, as I see it, is that he wants to weaken the unions and pretty much take them out as a serious force for future negotiations (something generally no advocacy group would willingly agree to) regardless of the budget issue that prompted the debate of a bill. That he is still pushing it means to me that he wanted to exploit the current crisis for political gains, and in a fairly blatant manner - a trait I rather dislike in any politician.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  2. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    For those who think public sector jobs are equivalent to private sector jobs in the US:http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-02-20-pensions-cover_x.htm
    Some quotes:
    And look at California: After 30 years (so as young as 50) some public employees (Police and Fire at a minimum) get 90% of their last year's wage as their pension. Who get's that in the private sector? How can you pay someone (for the rest of their life) doing nothing for you any longer 90% of what they were making when they were producing for you? And since they can retire so young, they just get another government job after they've retired, so you're paying them twice: Once for doing nothing and once for doing something.
     
  3. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    As someone whose dad receives that kind of pension [the state took his health benefits from him last year] for being a cop for 30 years, they more than earn it in how hard they work, for typically pretty low pay. I'm not a big fan of the police, but I will say that it's a pretty thankless job, for not much pay, which may be one of the reasons that the force is fairly low quality in the people it attracts.

    I guess since it pretty much blows to work in the private sector these days [unless you occupy the top tier, Big Bonus City], I suppose it should be the same for everyone, even government workers. We don't really need good people in those positions anyway. It's only the government. As in my signature, you pretty much have to be asleep to believe in the "American dream" these days.
     
  4. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    Hmm, if that is true some of the areas are a bit overdone (I don't see how someone can have a pension of 103% their wage, or even more than 80 unless they paid high additional contributions). It is possible that there are some excessive cases that should be cleared. However, I think a lot of the outrage is either misdirected or intentionally inflamed for political reasons.Government employees, generally, tend to be middle class folks. If their lot is so good in comparison to everyone else's... I think the problem isn't that they are doing too good, but other people seem to be getting a raw deal. This article made me wonder rather if the private insurance companies aren't, well, ripping people off when it comes to benefits.

    Isn't it ironic how and scant months ago, there was a serious debate if the tax cuts should be continued for everyone or only the people making under 200k per year? Apparently increasing the taxes on someone making over 15K per month is punishing success, yet people making that for a quarter are the envy of the town in most states. How things change in so short a time...
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  5. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    What, what?! No! Can't be true. (But it could account for the fact that the only people telling me that retirement isn't safe have so far been insurance and bank people.)
     
  6. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I'm generally supportive of unions, but 90% is excessive IMO. We have public unions in Maryland. Their pensions are much lower though - 30% of their final salary. And no, you don't get health insurance with that.
     
  7. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    The part that's being left out is that until recently - the bad economy - there was an extreme shortage of teachers. It must have been all that "great pay and benefits" that kept people from wanting to be teachers. Now, that they bumped it up to attract more college grads to become teachers, they want to take it away. "Bait and switch" is what that is called in someplaces.
     
  8. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Yes. They're much like corporations that way. Greed is still the motivating factor. People forget that. When balanced against the greed of a corporation, things can balance out. When placed against government, especially a government they're helping to elect, things aren't so balanced.

    They have objected to every testing measure proposed for the past 30+ years.
     
  9. Rotku

    Rotku I believe I can fly Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    A lot of the time, the problem with these proposals is that they are made by politicians who really do not have the slightest clue about education and learning. I don't have a clue about these specifics, but look at the absolute wreckage that is No Child Left Behind. I know that often the teachers are the obstacle to such a thing, but do bare in mind that just as often as not it is the politicians who are ignorantly sticking their nose into a delicate area that they are likely to completely screw up.

    I have been working in the education sector, in one form or another, for the past five years, and am currently studying to be a Primary school teacher (Elementary school, for the Americans out there), so my views on this matter may be a small bit bias, but here it goes.

    Teachers do need regulating. Many professions are currently regulated. Medical practitioners are regulated, dentists are regulated, accountants are regulated, even lawyers are regulated. I know it's difficult for schools to fire a teacher - even in New Zealand where the school won't get sued left right and centre if they step out of line, firing a teacher is a nightmare. The unfortunate outcome of this is that the common way to get ride of a bad teacher is to give them a great reference for other jobs they apply for - if they get the job, you get rid of them. You can see the problem there. However, I'm in a few minds as to how this should be done.

    The first step has to be at a larger level - hold the schools themselves accountable. The best source here is the parents. Like in the business world, the customer knows best. If a shop constantly gives terrible service, faulty products and crap value for money, the customers will stop going there and they will take their business else where. The same concept needs to be applied to schools. Let parents have the flexibility to vote with their feet and let people know where the good schools are. Simple market mechanisms would dictate that the good schools roles will increase - funding should increase with it. Details on such systems can be found here, under Education Vouchers. Making schools compete like any other business would increases their need to get rid of bad teachers who way down their ratings and appeal. Of course, in such a system regulations would be needed on schools who wish to receive the funding - a key phrase in the New Zealand education system is "Compulsory, Secular and Free".

    As far as the teachers themselves go, law makers have to realise that the Unions can be their ally in this, rather than their enemy. It is in teachers interest for their profession to have a good reputation. Also, as a teacher, I want my colleagues to be decent teachers, as I know that where they fall down, I'll have to pick up. If a teacher fails to teach their kids maths well one year, the next year another teacher will have to work harder to bring the kids up to the level they should be at. Teachers know this, and you can assume the Union workers know this as well. The government needs work on an equal, cooperative basis with the Unions to achieve a result that works well for all, instead of dictating from the top what should happen.

    FWIW, I have no intention of ever joining our Teacher's Union here, even though the vast majority of teachers do.
     
  10. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    I'm not so sure. Governments tend to have a lot of interests, and unions aren't the only ones vying for their attention - and in a two-party system, not the only group that helps either party elect people in office. Also, a lot of their supposedly most grievous missteps seem to have popped up in recent years, long after unions have lost the position they had in the 60s or 70s.
     
  11. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    Teacher unions have fought school choice here in the US for decades. Even though poor minorities (an important part of the Democratic base)consistantly are in favor it.
     
  12. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    I would give this argument weight if the teachers unions had proposed some ideas of their own, only to be shot down by the politicians. They haven't.

    School vouchers! An excellent idea! Which has been protested against by teachers in the US.

    Actually, sadly, it isn't. A certain amount of education in the US is effectively mandatory, and certainly mandatory to get any kind of job. That basically puts teachers in a monopoly position. They sadly don't need a good reputation, and they know it.

    One thing you need to realize is that, from what I can see, teachers' unions in the US aren't mostly made up of bright-eyed just-starting idealist teachers like yourself. I wish they were. They mostly seem to be made of the burnt-out, just-doing-it-for-a-pay-check teachers that honestly don't care about their profession any more.

    One other thing that bugs me. In many states in the US, that isn't really an option. If you want to teach, certainly in public schools, and often even in private schools, you have to join the union. You aren't allowed to work if you don't. Tie that in with the unions' consistent donations to the Democratic party and you get what is effectively a mandated donation to one political party if you want to work in certain job sectors. Often deducted right out of your paycheck.
     
  13. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    Er... that's kinda like saying Bank X has a monopoly, since you need money from somewhere.

    Yes, you practically need some level of education - as in, it dramatically improves your chances to have a good job on which to enjoy a good lifestyle/raise a family. Now, it has to come from somewhere - religious school, public school, private school, school in Canada (or any other country as long as your next institution accepts the diploma). I think it was possible to enroll in a university if homeschooled, so I'd suppose find a job if you have only been taught at home is possible (if notably harder) in most cases. So while you have to be taught by somone at some point, public school teachers aren't the only ones that provide education. In most places there is at least a choice between several options, so upholding reputation is still useful.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  14. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    What are you talking about? You are free to send your kids to whatever school you want as long as you can afford it. You can even home school your kids, and not send them to school at all. I knew people who were home schooling their kids 20 years ago. I don't get this "anti-choice" business you are talking about.
     
  15. pplr Gems: 18/31
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    Since teachers unions have come up I would like to point out that Wisconsin students have above (the national) average ACT scores in all ACT categories.

    If the teachers weren't doing their job then you may have a stronger argument for removing their union in this state.

    However they do seem to be doing a good job right now, so I would argue the union should be allowed to exist.
     
  16. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Sweden deregulated schools 15 years ago or so, allowing private schools to compete with public schools for pupils. The result has been horrible. Pupils generally perform much worse, Sweden has dropped like a stone in international comparisons and massive segregation flourishes. Now this may not be only due to the influx of private schools but many studies show that it is a key factor. Children with aware, educated, caring parents end up in the good schools and perform ok, the rest are stuck in bad schools (private or public). "Bad" schools that often weren't bad before but have been now since all the "good" students have been taken out. Back in the day when you went to school you had class mates from all levels of society and backgrounds now with "free choice" the children of the rich go to one school while the children of the poor to another. Basically the children of **** parents get punished in yet another way for being born in the wrong family. This also leads to the issue that a well adjusted child with educated parents needs way less resources than the child of a single crack smoking mother but the "voucher" is the same for both leading to the "bad" schools getting worse and the "good" schools getting better. School should be equal for all, we can't let the quality of the parents decide the quality of a child's education.
     
  17. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I'm not sure that would help. The more I see of our education system with my wife as a teacher, the more convinced I am that while there are good and bad schools, the teachers are a very small part of that equation.

    My wife has taught in two different schools that are about 15 miles apart from one another. One school consisted of children from middle and upper class families, and the other consisted of children from poor families, many of whom were being raised by their grandparents because there parents were dead from drug overdoses or in jail.

    To be blunt, unless you suck as a teacher, there's no way you shouldn't be successful teaching children from that first group. The parents are involved in their kids lives, and they have comfortable, supportive home lives. In the second group, there's almost no way you can be successful no matter how good you are because there is no direction from home.

    When students in the second group come in without their homework, their excuse wasn't because thier dog ate it, or something like that. It was because the electricity was turned off in their homes for not paying their electric bill, and they couldn't do it in the dark. (That's a real example - I didn't make that up.) So what's a teacher supposed to do in that scenario?

    Maryland does not require you to belong to the union, but IMO, it's really foolish not to. For a few dollars per paycheck, you're guaranteed a lawyer should you need to go to court for any reason. My wife has never hit a student or anything, but you could imagine the nightmare scenario if she was ever (falsely) accused of such. It's worth it even if you look at it as lawsuit insurance.
     
  18. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    The private sector unions have lost influence; the public sector unions have gained influence in that time. Hopefully they're about to lose some now :)
     
  19. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    School Vouchers. Republicans have been trying to implement them for decades, but the political influence of the teacher unions always blocks it. It is probably the only thing that the poor like about Republicans. Basically what it means is if a school district spends $5,000 on a student then the parent of that student should get to pick which school to send the kid too and the $5,000 goes to that school. The problem is (in some peoples eyes) is that the money could go to private schools and some of them are religious based so they are worried about seperation. In addition the Teacher unions don't like it for the flow of money would be a defacto way to rate schools and performance. If a school lost all of its students, the school would close and the teachers would get fired.

    Currently, most people have no choice as to what school their kids go to, they go to whatever public school their home has them linked to or the pay for private, or home school.
     
  20. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    That's just plain wrong. You still have the same amount of students that would require teachers to teach them, there would be no loss of teachers. Besides, there are enough crappy students to ruin any school, or system, regardless of where they send them. If the students go to private schools then that is taxpayer money going to private schools, which should excite Republicans to no end. And since private schools are in business to make a profit, you can tack on at least another 30 percent of the overall cost, which of course the taxpayers will pay for to float more corporate welfare, as if there isn't enough already. Both parties love corporate welfare, so I couldn't just hang that one on Republicans. The only things is all those corporate schools will get huge tax breaks and the Rs would certainly be in favor of that.

    That sounds like a lot of choice to me - public, private or home? Sounds as if you contradicted yourself on that one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
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