Education Partnership Reports: Learning a lot more about RI teachers’ union contracts
A lot of fur is flying in the Comments sections of various posts on teachers’ union contracts.
If you want to get some good information on such contracts in RI, your best bet is to go read the three annual reports by The Education Partnership:
Teacher Contracts: Restoring the Balance (Volume I, 2005)
Teacher Contracts: Restoring the Balance (Volume II, 2006)
Teacher Contracts: Restoring the Balance (Volume III, 2007)
Oh, you won’t find it a surprise that the NEA whines about these reports. No doubt they will do it again. But just remember this: The terms of these union contracts have been the dirty little secret of government. Unions and their partners in government have thrived by being largely invisible to the working families and retirees whose hard-earned monies are taxed to pay for all of the outrageous public school teachers’ salaries and benefits.
That invisibility is finally being destroyed now — and the resulting transparency explains their vehement reactions.
The good news is that the new-found transparency will never go away.
FURTHER THOUGHTS ON UNIONS & BOTH ECONOMIC AND EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM:
In the Comments section, the NEA’s Bob Walsh shares an 1893 Samuel Gompers speech which he suggests shows that labor unions have offered a consistent message over the years. It is worth reading for its historical value.
Here is what I wrote as a response to Bob in the Comments section:
It is now 114 years since that speech. A lot of societal dynamics have changed in major ways since then.
Many of us agree that private sector labor unions contributed to the betterment of society back in those days.
However, in recent decades, labor unions have become just another big business whose self-interest is promoting the ongoing strength of the unions, not doing things like ensuring our children get the best possible education so they can compete successfully as adults in a global economy.
Furthermore, an important distinction has arisen with the growth of public sector unions.
The demands of private sector unions have always been subject over time to market forces, where economic competition moderates the demands of both unions and management.
However, the demands of public sector unions are not subject to any market forces but achieve their ends through political power which then is used to protect their monopoly operations, like public schools.
It is incredibly ironic that it is now the labor unions who spend lobbying monies like a Fortune 500 corporation – just so they can protect their powerful monopolies. Underperforming monopolies at that!
For those of us in this century, the dominant issue is a passionate belief in freedom. But, my-oh-my, how times have changed who truly supports freedom. And who believes in the Founding principle that Americans are capable of self-government.
For some of us, this belief in freedom and self-government leads us to support entrepreneurial capitalism – not big business or country-club Republicans – because entrepreneurial capitalism enables any hard-working American to start a new business and have a shot at living the American Dream. (Nearly 20 years in Silicon Valley gave me a chance to see it up close.)
This belief in freedom also leads us to support school choice because we believe every poor inner city child should have the same educational opportunity that some of us – who are more economically fortunate – can “buy” for our own children.
Isn’t it ironic then that conservatives are the ones pushing economic freedom for the average American who, like each contributor to Anchor Rising, was born with no silver spoon or trust fund?
Isn’t it ironic that conservatives are the ones pushing educational freedom for poor inner city children while the teachers’ unions want to keep those same children enslaved in their underperforming public school monopolies?
Who then “stands for progress, for protection of the interests and rights of the masses” so no American is enslaved? Who then believes most fervently in freedom, self-government, and enabling every American to live the American Dream?