December 17, 2008

Predirecting Anger

Justin Katz

My response to Richard Joslin made it into this week's print edition of the Sakonnet Times (as did TCC President David Nelson's), and I'm sure it'll spark an angry response or two from unionists.

Who knows but that ringleader Crowley will pen a guest letter from across the state. Given the extent of his so-called research and other writings at RI Future, his day job apparently leaves him with copious amounts of time for extracurricular activities. That assumes, of course, that the teachers aren't paying his salary for his blogging.

Whether that's the case or not, I'd suggest that teachers are misdirecting their anger if I'm the recipient. I'm merely arguing in what I believe to be the best interests of my town and its students (agree or disagree). On the other hand, the central justification for teachers' union dues' going to the state NEA would seem to be for state-level advocacy and planning.

Tiverton teachers should take especial note of the latter, because for all of their "research" and statewide contacts, the union officials appear to have failed to foresee and/or advise members of the likelihood of a state budgetary collapse. Inasmuch as it contributed to the local's dogged pursuit of a better deal, that failure cost the union members thousands of dollars, with no end to the state's and town's fiscal crises in sight.

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Sounds like the teachers and School Committee of Tiverton are caught in the crossfire of a pissing match between two bloggers. The situation is being overpowered by the personalities.

Posted by: rhody at December 17, 2008 6:05 PM

Behold my power!

Actually, I suspect I'm less significant to Tiverton politics than I might hazard to claim.

Posted by: Justin Katz at December 17, 2008 6:36 PM

Justin said: ..."I suspect I'm less significant to Tiverton politics than I might hazard to claim."

OldTimeLefty says: "Let's hope so."


Posted by: OldTimeLefty at December 17, 2008 7:05 PM

I suspect that more and more teachers -- say the 80% who aren't rabid supporters of their union (and who are often among the worst performers in the classroom) -- are coming to the painful and angry realization that they have been screwed by their leadership.

What has the NEA and AFT's grand bargain with the Poverty Institute bought them? A massive pension funding deficit and fears that their post-retirement standard of living will be much lower than they had expected.

And what of the NEA and AFT's vociferous opposition to standards and testing, to ever expanding special education budgets, and resistance to firing bad teachers and giving performance based pay to the best? It has brought ever increasing anger on the part of parents, business leaders, and others, that this summer even boiled over at the Democratic Convention.

Just ask any rank and file teacher what it is like today to go out in public and tell people you're a public school teacher.

Thanks NEA and AFT...

Posted by: John at December 17, 2008 11:53 PM

To correct an unclear statement in the previous post: anybody who has spent much time around public school teachers rapidly learns that there is a strong correlation between support for the union and poor performance in the classroom.

The good teachers are increasingly realizing what the union has really bequeathed them.

Posted by: John at December 18, 2008 12:01 AM

I think Pat e-mailed the whole East Bay Newspaper group with his tripe, as it was in several other local newspapers around the state, too. Perhaps he actually believes what he said. It's just a bunch of old talking points. Who knows what he's thinking.

His detachment from the reality is refreshing, because most regular folk reading it would have a visceral reaction against it. More powerful unions equals higher costs for the rest of us who are not a part of the "in" crowd. I saw a good response to his letter in the Newport newspaper today.

PS I'll make a prediction, although not with absolute certainty. I don't think the EFCA will ever make it to Obama's desk. I think the unions have been used by Obama, and he's done with them for a while. I don't think it's a part of his high priority core legislative agenda. if he puts too much emphasis on it, it will slow down his efforts in other areas, and give Republicans a huge issue for the 2010 midterm elections.

Posted by: Will at December 18, 2008 12:45 AM

Thanks you Justin for having the courage to put your letter in the Times. You have done the town a great public service.

Posted by: thinkaboutit at December 18, 2008 9:05 AM

these RI liberals dont even surprise me anymore, all they want to do is place blame and spend us further into oblivion

Posted by: scott D at December 18, 2008 1:14 PM

Coouldnt agree more.. all these libs want to do it spend spend spend

Posted by: alfred at December 18, 2008 3:11 PM
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