A teacher friend of mine angrily asserted, “I don’t belong to a union. I belong to an association.” Fine. Your association is behaving like a public union, compelling professionals to pay dues, using those dues to pay a PR firm to develop a marketing strategy using teachers to put charter schools out of business, and using its large membership to lobby for legislation in a state controlled by one party, a state where 47 percent of registered voters are Democrats.
Governor Walker won the fight over collective bargaining in Wisconsin and now school districts have millions of dollars more for education they would have otherwise paid for major medical insurance to the Wisconsin Education Association Trust, which was associated with WEAC, the state teachers’ union. Competition opened the door. Sadly, the unions (or “associations”) use the power of their numbers to lobby for money while nonpartisan parents, employers and potential employers care about knowledge and outcomes.
Delaware was the first state to get Race to the Top (Slog to the Bottom) money because the Democrat-controlled State Legislature, “Big Education” and Democratic Governor Jack Markell all agreed on a plan to give them $119 Million in federal dollars. Now, our own big education, the DSEA, is interviewing state house and senate candidates for possible endorsement. Candidates seeking endorsement are required to answer seven questions. Here’s a quiz for you: choose which of the following queries that come straight from the DSEA questionnaire demonstrates the union’s interest in student outcomes, such as graduation, attainment and retention of knowledge or college acceptance.
Question 1: Please discuss your philosophy pertaining to the use of standardized student test scores in the evaluation of professional educators and compensation. What other factors should be considered?
Question 2: Please discuss your thinking about salary levels currently being paid to public education employees. Please consider… a minimum salary of $40,000. “Alternative compensation”… such as bonuses… creation of a so-called “career ladder where teachers would be paid additionally for non-direct instructional work” such as curriculum development and coaching other teachers.
Question 3: Please discuss your views regarding the current health insurance program.
Question 4: Please discuss your views regarding the current pension program.
Question 5: Please discuss your thoughts about Delaware’s current method of public school finance.
Question 6: Charter schools. Have they achieved their purpose? Do you favor or oppose providing capital construction funding to charter schools?
Question 7: What is your position regarding the various tax increases set to expire in 2013 and 2014?
It should be excruciatingly embarrassing for any member of Delaware’s education “association” to know that their professional education association has zero interest in knowing how their lawmakers see their role in improving our state’s desperate level of poor education outcomes. Obviously, raising entry-level salaries, keeping defined benefit retirement plans and fighting off the horde of charter schools is more important.
University of Delaware graduate and now New Jersey Governor Chris Christie got it right at the Republican National Convention: “They believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, lobbyists against children. They believe in the teachers UNION. We believe in TEACHERS!”
© Copyright 2012 Rick Jensen, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Rick Jensen is Delaware’s Award-Winning Conservative Talk Show Host on 1150AM WDEL and 93.7FM HD3, Streaming live on WDEL.Com from 1pm – 4pm EST. Contact Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter@JensenVoiceover.