An Explanation for the Union

The reaction of RI Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals lobbyist James Parisi to news that Governor Carcieri’s 2010 budget includes a provision liberating charter schools from some personnel requirements suggests that the teachers’ unions are frightened that charters might become even more successful:

“It’s wrong, it’s unfair, it’s unconscionable, it’s absolutely unnecessary and it wasn’t the deal that was struck when the original charter law was put into place,” James Parisi, a lobbyist for the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, told the House Finance Committee in a hearing Tuesday.

Who knew the schtick of lawyer Jackie Chiles from Seinfeld worked for lobbyists, as well?
A more interesting quotation from Mr. Parisi comes at the end of Cynthia Needham’s article:

“What I don’t understand,” Parisi said, “is how the governor could propose expanding charter schools when the public school districts are hurting as much as they are hurting.”

The puzzle’s not difficult to solve. The governor recognizes the need to apply education money effectively, where it would do the most good. In the public schools, it would be soaked up by the teachers as a matter of course, without substantial connection to change or improvement. When an organization is fundamentally broken and displays little will to repair the core problem, society will find a way around it.

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Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
14 years ago

How about what some union clown used as a reason not to let the potential charter schools teachers out of the union system: “They would not pay their fair share of the unfunded pension liability!”
Just imagine the utter stupidity in that statement. So what do the unions view their members as, indentured servants to retirees, or anyone more senior to them? Unbelievable!
But, it’s all about the kids.

14 years ago

The whole public sector union pensions deal looks more and more like a scheme invented by Bernie Madoff or Charles Ponzi. If you got in early, you made out very well, with retirement after 30 or 35 years, COLAs and full health care benefits (correct me if I’m wrong, all you former RI public sector employees reading this in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, or, say, Hawaii). But if you got into the game late, you have contributed a small fortune and have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever enjoying a comparable deal. In short, you are screwed. And you are undoubtedly now trying to figure out just who it was that screwed you, so that you can direct your anger in the right direction, and perhaps improve your situation.
Pat Crowley and crew spare no effort to answer your question about who did this to you. And to emphasize, over and over and over again, that your union leadership has been fighting for your best interests all along.
Remember Sherlock Holmes’ “dog that didn’t bark?” Well, it isn’t barking now either. And that should tell you something.
By the way, how many public sector union employees should we expect to see at the State House marching shoulder to shoulder with the Poverty Institute, Ocean State Action, ACORN, Jobs for Justice, and Progeso Latino?

14 years ago

How about funding repair of the public schools themselves, a huge undertaking and like much of RI’s infrastructure repairs that long overdue?

The challenge facing Providence is enormous. Many school buildings are at least 60 years old. Nearly 80 percent are in poor condition. Roofs leak. Bathrooms are Dickensian. Heating systems break down. Hallways are dark and cavernous. Some schools aren’t handicapped accessible. And most are not designed for high-speed Internet connections.
While the buildings are structurally sound, they were built for a different era, when schools were organized to resemble factories with children sitting in rows facing an adult. They are simply too big to meet today’s smaller, more collaborative educational model. In many cases, DeJONG said, the cost of renovating these monoliths far exceeds the cost of new construction.
At the heart of the DeJONG report is the philosophy, one shared by Evans, that schools should be smaller, with no more than 600 students at the elementary level, 750 at the middle and 900 at the high school level. After listening to parents and community leaders, the consultants also agreed with the concept of neighborhood schools, the notion that elementary and middle school students should be able to walk to school.

But the governor would rather to scapegoat the teachers union and set up a few pet projects.

14 years ago

“with retirement after 30 or 35 years”
Only twenty years, in some cases, John. Simply astonishing.
“So what do the unions view their members as, indentured servants to retirees, or anyone more senior to them?”
Yes, quite the revealing statement.

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