July 11, 2011
Re: Notes Presented to Alan Colvin, Gov. Walker Staffer
Response to Walker’s “Vision” for Public Education
Walker Thought: Failing at Fundamentals and Failing Schools
- Are schools failing? Is society failing?
- Public Schools are the soul of society. Public Schools are a reflection of what goes on in larger society.
- Look in the mirror, if you do not like what you see in public schools.
- Blaming teachers & schools for rise of ignorance is like blaming doctors for rising obesity rates
- Teachers and schools get A+ for performing successful triage on faltering America
- As social ills rise (broken homes, less parental support, poverty) so should the funding for public education.
- Reform is necessary—must fund it
Walker Thought: Recruit, Retain and Reward Great Teachers
- Recruit—repair bill and current budget has discouraged educators in countless #’s
- Retain—good educators leaving profession in droves
- Reward—studies show merit has not shown to work in education, collaboration over competition best
- Stephen Sawchiuk , Education Week, 30 (September 29, 2010), 1, 12-13. www.edweek.org
Walker Thought: Finding Efficiencies
- Already underfunded—Walker’s cutting out the meat now.
- Public Education is the lifeblood of a fair, equitable democratic society.
- It is the greatest vehicle for civil rights and promoting the ideals of equality, life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
- Public Education is NOT a business. It is investment. It is costly to promote the ideals of equality, life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. We should make this commitment at nearly any cost.
Walker Thought: More Choices for Parents
- Why can’t this be done under our current system?
- Provide more choices at public schools
- School District of Janesville has limited choices (programs and high school classes cut) for parents as a result of Walker’s budget cuts
Walker Thought: Excessive Public Employee Benefits & Collective Bargaining Rights Are Cause of Budget Crisis
- Budget crisis caused by reckless private sector leaders & lenders (Housing bust)
- Public v. Private NOT apples v. apples
- Benefits & Take Home Pay Public Employees = Benefits & Take Home Pay Private Sector Employees of similar educational backgrounds
- National Institute on Retirement Security: Comparing Public and Private Sector Compensation over 20 Years (April 2010)
- Through collective bargaining, educators have accepted less take home pay for years for good benefits
Walker Thought: Unions Not a Right, Unions Bad for Business
- Public employee unions are the sole stabilizing factor in public agencies.
- Teacher’s unions, like the Janesville Education Association (JEA), provide the continuity vital for successful school districts, like the School District of Janesville.
- Unlike successful private businesses that often have stability in management, public education has a constant turnover of parents, administrators, superintendents, and unpaid board members managing what is essentially a teacher’s “business.”
- It is educators and their union that provide steadiness, perspective, and common mission to an otherwise erratic organization.
- Is anti-union attitude motivated politically because unions support democrats? Is it really about the balancing budgets? Is Walker playing politics with my life, my occupation, and my kids’ education?
Walker Thought: Hierarchical Management Style Best
- Biggest Failure Walker—mismanagement of the highest regard
- Undemocratic to try to shove Repair Bill through in a week
- Refusing to negotiate divides our state
- Conflict Management 101
- Respect the right to disagree
- Express your real concerns
- Share common goals and interests
- Open yourself to different points of view
- Listen carefully to all proposals
- Understand the major issues involved
- Think about probable consequences
- Imagine several possible solutions
- Offer some reasonable compromises
- Negotiate mutually fair cooperative agreement