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The People Have Spoken!

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  • #46
    Re: The People Have Spoken!

    I think we all can agree something has to change.
    Last edited by Flux; 06-10-2012, 12:03 AM.


    • #47
      Re: The People Have Spoken!

      Originally posted by Pipestone Kid View Post
      I can't help but notice that most of the posters who complain about unions, teachers, public service workers etc. have never belonged to any of those groups. Cws hit the nail on the head when he said that everything is lumped together. I don't know what the school situation is like in New York, so I won't comment on it--but I can tell you that in the midwest rural areas, teaching and their salaries are not what I am reading here. The average teacher spends 50 to 60 hours a week in their job and is called on to assist in every project that goes on in the community because " they are civil servants" Don't mention the fact that Joe Schmoo is next door neighbor to the chair of the school board and if his little Susie doesn't get an "A" on her report card the teacher is called to the board meeting to defend the grade Susie received. (which was probably more than she earned)Oh, by the way CWS around here if you bother to go to the school board meetings, you do have a say in how the money is spent. Bottom line is before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. ( If nothing else, you will be a mile ahead of them and have their shoes! )

      For the record: Yes, I've gone to a lot of school board meetings! IMHO, that attendance was an important part of being a parent of a student; and, I may add, that we took our child to as many of those meetings as possible. As a matter of fact, our son was one of the youngest elected school board members in the state of New York! In his "Senior" year, he ran for a primary 3-year seat against one of the top Corning Executives who had sat on that school board for a couple of terms, and he "unseated" him, winning more votes than three other winning candidates. During his service, he never missed a single meeting or an assignment as an elected official. While he voted for many proposals, he also staunchly supported action that curtailed some significantly wasteful proposals too. But, he also promoted and support initiatives that he thought would best serve the community and the future of our school district.

      Problem of course in our area is that what doesn't pass in the budget, gets rewritten and resubmitted over and over and over again, until the largest employer in the area gets their way. This has even gone to the point where the State has had to step in to block such dominance on at least one occasion.

      And yes, some teachers put in very long hours. Many, if not all of these teachers are absolutely loved by the student body and often held in great respect by both the students and the community. But there are far more who just put in thier hours and go home. They rarely inspire, and perform only to the prospectus criteria, and volunteer for nothing. Like many things, those teachers get paid equally with the best. "Tenure" too often becomes their shield. But still, in that district, the few teachers that I lived near seemed to be paid quite well, and their retirement is well above most of the "working-class" community that they serve.

      I'm NOT opposed to "unions" in the least. Some of my best friends are in unions as are many of my relatives. My Dad was a union member! But "unions", while doing good for a great many, can also be quite corrupt and they can be very restricting. My plant was a union plant, and not only did they have to put up with the shenanigans of our narrow-sighted management, but they also had to contend with thier own. While some "leadership" looked out for the guys, some of it appeared to do more harm than good and there was far too much unfairness, "if you weren't buddies with".

      So, I can't tell you that my opinion is based on my membership in a union... I can tell you that I've seen both sides of the union situation and I've stood up for union rights against my management and also taken some of the worker's concerns to union reps too. When our shop union did a couple of walk-outs, my wife and I were steady contributors to thier food pantry and when the weather was nasty, I was the only guy who went out and put a grill into my garage and provided coffee, food, and heat to the guys picketing that foundry entrance. That support, didn't do me any good with my employer either... but it was the right thing to do, it wasn't about the issues for me, it was about a bunch of guys I know who were standing out in the winter weather for something they believed in and for something they had a Right to do.

      I fully support a person's right to negotiate, but I'm against any group of people taking such advantage that thier benefits and pay provide them better than the taxpayers that they are supposed to be serving. This "I teach" so I'm better than you, is just so much self-serving hype. I taught too, both as a volunteer and on and industrial level, and I've faced classrooms full of adult union members who not only don't want to be in that class, but can be pretty beligerant about it. In the face of that you may want to run, but I've also found that if you understand not only what you are teaching, but also that your class can be shown it can be beneficial, then you will succeed and the vast majority will willingly join in.

      I've had teachers that I absolutely disliked, I was pretty boared and my performance in high school was barely passeable. But I had a handful of teachers which recognized my shortcomings and who took an interest. That turned me around significantly and made a tremendous impact on my life. For that reason, I have great admiration for the profession, but I also know that such teachers are by no means in the majority. And for that, I think the "union" does not particularly do all teachers a favor. It protects those who need to be shuffled and restrains those who might excell otherwise. That of course is just my opinion, but it is an opinion that has formed over lifetime of observation and interaction.



      • #48
        Re: The People Have Spoken!

        Kudo's to your boy, you should be proud. A good deal of what is wrong with any public school system is that people just don't want to get involved and unless you get involved you only know part of the story


        • #49
          Re: The People Have Spoken!

          CWS--Good post. You pointed out the good and the bad. I, too, have witnessed both, but I have yet to hear of someone who has come up with a better system. We all know what some of the working conditions were before unions and we all know of both the betterments and the pitfalls. Regretfully, some union leaders have been corrupt, but so has management. Do I have to say Enron for example? Or should I say Congress!! I contend that those who nock unions, teachers, and public workers in general are reaping the benefits of their services, but because they were not part of it, some don't even realize it. You mentioned tenure--yes, some hide behind it, but the only reason they get away with it is they have an administrator who isn't doing his/her job! Tenure does NOT guarantee you your job. It only insures that you have to be fired for just cause--not at the whim of some administrator or board member.


          • #50
            Re: The People Have Spoken!

            I recall once reading that "teachers" and the "educational system" is probably one of the few areas where the average citizen feels he can have direct interaction and effect through thier vote. With that feeling, it is the "school budget" that we often take out our frustrations with "the government". Whether that is entirely true, I don't really know. But I do think there is some reaction in this manner.

            Here, we are in a consolodated school district and as such, about the only vote we get is the final budget number with a "yeah or nay". We of course get to vote for our school board members. But like with any election, the candidates do not always run or appear to be what they will be after their election. What we don't get to vote on is the particulars of raises, maintenance, property actions like what gets maintained, closed, or built. Those all get lumped into the "budget" as line items and we don't get to pick and choose. WE can only trust that those who we have elected to the board have their eyes open and understand both the needs and the affordabilities of the community. And it is these issues which we most often find disappointing.

            I remember well the conflict we had with our son when he announced that he wanted to run. It was like a "WTF" moment within the family. "Are you really sure you want to put up with all that grief?", was my immediate response. And at first that is exactly what it was. The Suprintendant called us, a couple of teachers called us, neighbors called us... and one pompous jerk "Executive" beligerantly confronted us at a public forum where the new candidate were introduced.

            Some of the calls were happy ones, but most were about the lack of control that we had in allowing our son to behave in this manner. The Suprintendant, was concerned that "the kid" was going to promise everybody a raise... we invited him to the house and together we talked about "responsibility". (After that I think he too was a fan.)

            The "teachers" had thier concerns, probably out of some "conflict of interest"... but they knew our kid, "he was the little guy who came into Kindergarten with a 6th-grade reading level and almost everything after that was almost as equally astounding, at least through grade school. By highschool, they knew him as a good kid, but one who'd just as soon go for the laugh, rather than the "High Honor Role". Our whole "management-style" had been built around "respect", "responsibility", and that "learning" was fun. The target we wanted for him was "Honor Roll", but the responsibility that we demanded of him was to be the kid that he was, at whatever age, and to have fun, but be responsible. (Like you only get to be 16 once... but don't be stupid, it's good to live to be older too!)

            It was the Corning Executive that openly and disrespectfully confronted us about "controlling our kid"! That did it for my wife and I. After that, our son had our most enthusiastic support. He and his friends raised money, went door to door, and he went on the local radio talk shows, and attended the town meetings. A real highlight was when a couple members of the "Triad" (those executives who were school board members and serving their employer's interest) questioned our son's maturity and sense, and the local surgeon (also a member) stood up for him most eloquently. I think we all knew at that point that our son had cinched the election. He was one of five elected board members, two new and three re-elected. Two candidates, both incumbants lost thier seats (that "exec" was one of those).

            A very proud moment for me, was at the first school board meeting when one of the senior board members (an "executive" who had been re-elected several times), indignantly addressed MY kid by his first name, demanding that if he wanted any interaction from him, then he expected to be addressed as "MR." Our son's response was a respectful, "Sir, we sit at this table not because of our age, but because of those who voted for us. By my calculation, I received significantly more votes than you. I see no reason why either of us should demand a title; after all, we are equally here to serve our community."

            And with that, everything seemed to be settled and to my knowledge the "age issue" never came up again. Even when our son was attending Cornell, he still made the trip back to every meeting and he always managed to handle the responsibilities of his position. He didn't run for a second term, as by that time, his career took him away from the area.

            I think the point is that everywhere we look, we will find differences. I'm quite conservative normally, I think. But I also have quite liberal views too. I don't like to see people taken advantage of, but I also don't like it when people take advantage in thier laziness and lack of ambition. We all need to strive for better and we all need to work and contribute. Nobody, should live for free and get hand-outs just because they think they are "disadvantaged". Every person, can make some kind of contribution.

            I don't like it when power and money turns to greed, and those that are down are treated as less. Those on top seem to be as much leeches as those on the bottom. They just seem to be able to dress it up better. I often wonder why we can't "walk in the other guy's shoes" for a bit, see the problems and see that nothing in this world is absolutely "black and white". There's a lot of good people and too many bad people and unfortunately too many that have found it easier to point fingers, assign labels, and dig in thier heals without listening or even wanting to consider an opposing view. Worst part of all of it though is when an element uses thier power (collectively or otherwise) to garner an unfair advantage over the other, and too often at the cost to the other.

            And I too get caught up in this,

            Last edited by CWSmith; 06-10-2012, 06:50 PM.