So why and how are Republicans trying to do away with collective bargaining within our educational system?

The “why” I’ll leave alone for now and let others answer. The “how”, is far more interesting….

I will now try to put myself in their shoes and argue like a Republican.

“An honest examination of the facts proves that collective bargaining between the school systems and unions has created a climate of antagonism between those who should be working together to advance a positive agenda for our children and preparing them for a bright future.”

“The process itself is adversarial and confrontational and does not lend itself to cooperation. Due to the mandatory negotiating privilege given to the unions by their State, a school system will often agree to unreasonable demands in a contract simply to prevent an expensive lawsuit. Ultimately, this impacts the taxpayers—the very people whom the teachers, the school board, and the Legislature work for and from whom they expect positive results in the classroom”

“In the poisonous atmosphere that has been created through collective bargaining, do we really have to ask why this nation is ranked so low in education results?”

“I do not want teachers to suffer. I want to reward excellent teachers for doing a great job and producing students who are prepared for the challenges of the 21st century. I believe effective teachers are the greatest resource we have in providing a quality education to our students. Good teachers deserve to be rewarded for their excellence. Unfortunately, collective bargaining preserves the status quo and prevents merit pay for highly effective teachers and teacher bonuses and incentives for those who will rescue a failing school.”

“There are schools that do not collective bargain. These school systems use “collaborative bargaining” where the teacher association representatives sit down with the school board to negotiate. Teachers in those school systems have the ability to directly negotiate their contracts while continuing their ability to remain in an association and attend board meetings.

It should be pointed out that, on average in these systems, teacher pay is increased more rapidly and students achieve at a higher rate.”

“Collaborative bargaining” empowers our teachers and allows the State to bring willing partners to the table to advance the interests of its children. Under collective bargaining, the non-union teachers in are prohibited from taking their concerns directly to the school board. With these current conditions, these non-union teachers must adhere to contract negotiations, whether they like the terms or not. If they want their “voice” heard, their only option is to pay the union so they can go through the union representatives.”

“The truth is that the bill to remove collective bargaining, is a pro-teacher bill that rewards achievement in the classroom and helps promote the best and the brightest in the educational field. By eliminating the collectivist authority of the unions that are trying to dominate the conversation, this bill serves the best interests of students.”

“For years in this great nation, unions have stymied education reforms. If you don’t believe me, just do the research. I recommend you read “Collective Bargaining in Education,” a study by the Harvard Education Press. This is an examination of the history of collective bargaining and how unions motivate their members. For decades, the union has promoted the idea that the “working conditions of our teachers are the learning conditions of our students” while blocking vital reforms and favoring existing arrangements that protect jobs and restrict accountability for student performance and achievement.”

The study “A Better Bargain: Overhauling Teacher Collective Bargaining for the 21st Century” by Frederick M. Hess, American Enterprise Institute, and Martin R. West, the Brookings Institute reveals:
“Collective bargaining contracts are especially problematic on three fronts:

• They restrict efforts to use compensation as a tool to recruit, reward, and retain the most essential and effective leaders.

• They impede attempts to assign or remove teachers on the basis of fit or performance.

• They over-regulate school life with work rules that stifle creative problem solving without demonstrably improving teachers’ ability to serve students.

“Union leaders typically greet this diagnosis with a reflexive refrain: “What is good for teachers is good for students.” While superficially appealing, that sentiment is simply untrue. In fact, the results of the collective bargaining process are too often incompatible with providing a high-quality education for all students.”

“According to Tennessee’s Comptroller’s most recent weighted salary reports, teachers in systems that are not involved in collective bargaining on average make more in salary and benefits than those in systems involved in collective bargaining. Student achievement is higher in non-negotiating systems according to data from Tennessee Department of Education `Report Card’. Statewide average student test scores of non-collective bargaining local school districts top negotiating school districts, according to an analysis done by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s office using the data of the Tennessee Department of Education Report Card.”

Collective bargaining is about what is best for the union and its ability to retain power, not the children. That is the union’s mission and you can hear it for yourself by going to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyGiuoKr-ew&quot; here. Collective bargaining prohibits performance pay for teachers. All teachers are treated the same—the excellent ones are paid the same as the poor performers. In a nation where we try to motivate students to achieve more and aspire to be more, what kind of message does this send?”

“It is fundamentally unfair. Collective bargaining makes it almost impossible to dismiss teachers for poor performance or misconduct, which means less pay and lower benefits for high performing teachers”.

“The good teachers know exactly who is getting the job done and who is not, yet the union blocks the solution and ultimately our children suffer. The union is focused solely on protecting its self-interests, not educating students and this one-size fits all approach denigrates good teachers and good students alike.”

“The sweeping reforms contained in Race to the Top (RTTT) would have never passed if they would have had to occur on the local level through negotiations. Ask yourself, “Why did we have to get the union to sign off on RTTT? Why were they blocking the reforms in the first place?” More alarmingly (and perhaps unsurprisingly) reports are already coming in from school systems that the local unions are throwing up roadblocks to these reforms the State agreed to in order to participate in RTTT.

I hope that all conservative teachers do their research to fully understand what the NEA is all about and that by being a part of that organization and investing your hard earned money, you are promoting their mission. This is a mission that I know the people of Sussex County do not agree with at all.

Here is the NEA’s 2010 legislative program (which is in direct opposition to what conservatives and Republicans believe).

* Mandatory full-day kindergarten attendance for all children, with federal money if the state can’t afford it.
* Substantial increases in federal education funding.
* Repeal of the right-to-work provision of federal labor law.
* A tax-supported, single-payer health care plan for all residents of the U.S., its territories and Puerto Rico.
* Federal funding for the education of illegal aliens.
* Federal programs to teach schoolchildren about different sexual orientations.
* Legislation to prohibit religious organizations that accept federal funding from basing hiring decisions on religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or HIV/AIDS status.
* Affirmative action to redress historical patterns of discrimination.
* Legislation to study possible reparations to African-Americans to address residual effects of slavery.
* Statehood for the District of Columbia.
* Opposition to tuition tax credits, vouchers and parental option or “choice” in education programs.
* Opposition to denying student aid to illegal alien college students.
* Opposition to using draft registration as an eligibility criterion for financial aid.
* Opposition to the testing of teachers as a criterion for job retention, promotion, tenure or salary increases.
* Opposition to legislation that denies illegal aliens’ access to public schools.
* Opposition to designating English as the official language of the United States.
* Opposition to the use of voter ID cards for voting in local, state and national elections.
* Opposition to privatization of Social Security.
* Opposition to any constitutional amendment limiting taxes or the federal budget.

“Finally I want all to keep in mind. Not only do our representatives represent this state’s teachers but they also represent the students, the parents and the taxpayers who grudging give over their hard earned cash, to publicly fund each and every school system…. They have rights too, and one of those rights… is to demand quality education for their children.”

“And the easiest and quickest way to do that, ….. is to reward good teachers and punish bad ones. Collective bargaining currently makes that impossible…”

And there you have it. That is the best case I could come up for busting up the unions and making them powerless to impact anything.
I’ll be back to rebut myself sometime later……..

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