A thank-you letter to Chicago teachers from some Georgia colleagues

I have published two pieces by the Teaching Georgia Writing Collective, which is a group of educators, parents and citizens who engage in public writing and public teaching about education in Georgia. The group had its impetus in Athens and includes UGA professors.

The collective defines its goals as:  1) empowering educators to reclaim their workplace and professionalism, 2) empowering families to stand up for their children and shape the institutions their children attend each day, 3) empowering children and youth to have control over their education, and 4) enhancing the education of all Georgians.

Here is a third essay from the group:

Dear Chicago Teachers,

The Chicago Teachers Union strike will go down as a significant event in history when educators stood up against the destructive powers of privatization and for workers’ job security and a strong middle-class in the United States. We want to thank you for standing up for yourselves, for your students, for public education, and for every teacher who is faced with constant criticism and attacks on their professional dignity. Your courage to stand up, walk out, and demand national attention inspires us and makes us hopeful that your actions will have a positive impact for the working conditions of all teachers, regardless of whether they have union protection or not.

Thank you for challenging the narrow-minded vision of using high-stakes standardized test scores to evaluate student learning, teacher effectiveness, and school rankings.

Thank you for showing America and the world that most teachers do not agree with the heavy-handed policies that have narrowed curriculum and made school a less interesting and enjoyable place for most kids.

Thank you for fighting for the rights of children, youth and families to have access to fully funded public schools that aren’t destroyed by for-profit charters not held to the same level of scrutiny.

Thank you for demanding rights for laid-off teachers.

Thank you for demonstrating to everyone in our country that working conditions for teachers have been deteriorating since before NCLB and won’t be improved by Race to the Top.

Thank you for reminding workers everywhere that they have a right to stand up for injustices in their workplace.

Thank you for teaching your students – and all of us – an important lesson about democracy, labor, and the vision of public education that is handed to us by “reformers” who rarely know anything about real schools and real kids and real teaching. We should all strive to be as courageous as you.

Sincerely,

Teaching Georgia Writing Collective

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

142 comments Add your comment

Michele

September 23rd, 2012
4:06 am

Cheers for a great letter! Since the state won’t leachers have a true union in Georgia, we must sit back and rely on other teachers with unions to voice the true feelings of the teachers lost in this state. When the state becomes the problem in education, it is truly a shame that teachers have absolutely no venue in which they can address their concerns and recommendations. The state will tell you that they listen to teachers, but you must realize that the specific teachers who are even allowed to talk to state officials are those who have demonstrated to their principals that they are lock-step in support of the state’s proposals and theories. No dissent ever leaves the school. If anyone here believes that the Georgia teachers are on board with the state’s direction, they need to dig much deeper to see where all this is going.

old dude

September 23rd, 2012
6:11 am

Concise. Precise. Incisive. Well put. What can I do to support the Teaching Georgia Writing Collective?

Sissy

September 23rd, 2012
6:17 am

Georgia teachers will not see a raise until folks realize that the republicans under the gold dome do not want to fund schools one more penny. They hate public schools and would love to get their hands on TRS.

bootney farnsworth

September 23rd, 2012
6:34 am

what a stupid, stupid, stupid , stupid letter.

to pretend the Chicago strike was anything other than them using the leverage they had to force monetary and workplace concessions is just plain ignorant. Chicago didn’t give a damn about anything beyond their own borders or they’d still be out.

“Collective” – a term straight out of the old Soviet Union while it may be generous, I’m going to assume a “collective” of teachers knows the power or words. the use of the term “collective” brings to mind the worst fears of Joe average, and plays dead into the hands of Fran Millar and his wannabe minions

the main thing this letter says is allegedly smart people can be amazingly stupid. crap like this butt kissing piece only works against us, and undermines any gains we could have made toward some sort of protection from idiot legislatures and petty administrators.

all that piece of propaganda crap is missing are slogans for long live the revolution, use of the word “manifesto”, and Cynthia McKinney’s endorsement.

worst of all, it reads like something written by a group of pseudo intellectuals writing out stereo instructions. poorly organized and ineffective in persuasion of topic.

did you idiots send Fran Millar a card and cake to go along with this present?

so a nice, big sarcastic “thank you” to the collective for making our situation that much worse. while its true you have the right to make fools of yourselves, please remember you are not obliged to exercise said right.

idiots. and not even useful ones.

bootney farnsworth

September 23rd, 2012
6:41 am

@ Sissy

the only person I know of who wanted to raid TRS was (allegedly, since it has not been proven) Anthony Tricoli, one of the farthest out there leftists I’ve ever encountered.

care to try again?

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
7:34 am

“The Chicago Teachers Union strike will go down as a significant event in history when educators stood up against the destructive powers of privatization and for workers’ job security and a strong middle-class in the United States.”

Unfortunately the unions do a lousy job of shaping the debate, and end up looking like hacks who want to keep their no good gubmit job.

If they would focus on restoring DISCIPLINE, and administrative BLOAT, things that RESONATE with John Q. Public they could perhaps turn the tide of public perception.

For example if they said “We will accept the pay proposal IF you cut central office staff by ten percent; we will accept the pay proposal IF you grant us the authority to remove chronically disruptive students” you put the SYSTEM on the defensive.

But when your complaints SEEM to center around pay in this economy…

William Casey

September 23rd, 2012
7:37 am

@Bootney: I was thinking the same thing about the use of the term “Collective” in the group’s name. I was wondering when they were going to announce their “Five Year Plan” or explain their “Great Leap Forward.” The group’s name certainly detracts from their message a message which wasn’t altogether bad. While I don’t think that the Chicago teachers are all that altruistic, at least they had the courage to stand up for themselves.

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
7:44 am

“Georgia teachers will not see a raise until folks realize that the republicans under the gold dome do not want to fund schools one more penny. They hate public schools and would love to get their hands on TRS.”

@Sissy they’re Republicans; the party of “rule of law” and “personal responsibility” and “limited government.”

So why aren’t GAE and PAGE absolutely HAMMERING them on supporting teachers in matters of discipline and cutting administrative bloat? If they won’t give teachers the raise they want, at least give them decent teaching (and LEARNING!) conditions by restoring discipline and letting teachers know the money isn’t being spent in central office.

Is it because GAE and PAGE get dues from that administrative BLOAT? Is it because restoring discipline would hold their dues PAYING administrative members accountable for THEIR lack of action in supporting the sanctity of the learning environment?

Hmm…yet Georgia teachers make them THEIR representatives? At what point do Georgia teachers, with their choice of representation, realize they are being ACTIVE co-creators in their own misery?

Wilbur

September 23rd, 2012
7:58 am

Great. Chicago teachers would impoverish the public to support public employees. Is there no end to the greed and laziness? Public Education has long since stopped being about the students and is instead all about the teacher and administrator beneficiaries of a corrupt and failing system.

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
8:03 am

How do you think John Q. Public might have responded if Chicago teachers had said, “You say there’s no money? Fine. We will take money off the table this year, if the school board and the Superintendent both agree to a 25% pay cut. ‘For the children’ of course.”

Think that might have put a little hitch in the giddy up of those who wanted to portray the teachers as only out for money?

ByteMe

September 23rd, 2012
8:14 am

Collective” – a term straight out of the old Soviet Union

Unfortunately, Maureen, that word “collective” is going to be as far as some people are going to read and immediately revert to their reflexive stance. Most haven’t read one thing about what the issues were in Chicago, but they’re ready to stand strong against the union and against anyone supporting unions. Keep trying to educate them, though. Maybe something will sneak in when they’re not looking.

Cindy Lutenbacher

September 23rd, 2012
8:26 am

I agree with Michele and with the letter by the TGWC. Let’s look at the facts of the concessions.
-A 3% pay increase the first year, with a 2% increase every year thereafter
-Phasing out performance-related pay, or “merit pay”
-Hiring 600 teachers in the areas of art, music, world languages, etc.
-Up to $250 reimbursement of school supplies
-Only 30% of student test scores will be factored into teacher evaluations
-Laid-off teachers receive hiring-priority for charter school position openings

(http://www.care2.com/causes/success-heres-what-the-chicago-teachers-get.html#ixzz27IBbiF9G)

The salary increases barely keep up with inflation. At least, teachers won’t keep getting poorer in order to remain teaching. The “increases” look like cost-of-living-adjustments to me.

I don’t know how pay-for-performance is determined in Chicago. But if it’s tied to standardized test scores, then I certainly favor phasing it out. (See below.)

Hurrah for arts, music, and languages! There’s overwhelming research evidence that shows art, music, and second language learning are terrific not only for human development, but also for the profound support of other disciplines, such as math, language arts, etc.

School supplies–it’s about time that teachers who care enough to raid their own wallets for pencil, paper, and tissues for their students get reimbursed. Teachers shouldn’t be penalized for caring.

I’m for anything that reduces (or ends) the corporate-driven reliance on standardized testing. The tests are worse than useless (see all independent research…), for they consume teaching and learning time that our kids need and deserve.

I also favor the protection of the rights of laid-off workers, for this concession may help to keep the for profit charters from hiring only kinfolk or less credentialed teachers, or from other creepy practices by entities seeking to “make” money off our kids.

The CTU didn’t get everything it wanted. I didn’t see anything about school nurses, facilities, or poverty and racism-oriented policies. There’s still much work to be done. But the CTU made a good start, showing that when teachers stand with one another, we are not powerless. Way to go, CTU!

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
8:29 am

“Most haven’t read one thing about what the issues were in Chicago, but they’re ready to stand strong against the union and against anyone supporting unions.”

All the more reason for the unions to shape the debate. Instead of having posters like Wilbur blame the teachers, imagine what might happen if the entire city started looking at a handful of board members and a well paid superintendent and asked why THEY aren’t willing to sacrifice ‘for the children’ when the teachers clearly are?

Lee

September 23rd, 2012
8:45 am

“The Chicago Teachers Union strike will go down as a significant event in history when educators stood up against the destructive powers of privatization and for workers’ job security and a strong middle-class in the United States.”

ROFLMAO. What a boatload of crap.

The only thing this strike proved is Exhibit A as to why you do not want government employees such as firemen, police, garbagemen, and teachers to unionize. They care nothing about the taxpayer/citizens for which they serve. The only think these Chicago “teachers” walked out for was their own selfish greed. Period.

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
8:47 am

@Cindy, what’s the first thing you reference? Pay! And teachers wonder why John Q. Public thinks they are “greedy” “lazy” and a whole host of other pejoratives?

How different the perception might be if teachers DIDN’T lead with pay. If for example they led with DISCIPLINE? Led with teaching and LEARNING conditions being improve through better discipline, through protection against administrative retaliation, issues John Q. Public CAN relate to?

Add to that, imagine if teachers said “For every dollar we concede in pay, match it by cutting administrative BLOAT. Match it by showing the superintendent and the board will cut their OWN pay.”

Kind of hard for the Wilburs of the world (see above) to blame the greedy teachers if the unions would be sharper in the way they shape the debate.

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
8:58 am

Look at Lee’s post and Wilbur’s post and you see how Chicago teachers failed to shape the debate.

They might have gotten something for THEMSELVES but for teachers as a whole, for teaching and LEARNING conditions as a whole, they got next to nothing.

Dc

September 23rd, 2012
9:03 am

Anyone who thinks the chicago teachers strike will help teachers orgs win support is either blind or insane. This strike was incredibly damaging to the reputation of teachers across the country. It reinforced in the clearest possible terms that educrats want to keep the failing school system “as is” and are entrenched in their resistance to valid improvements.

Please, please, please keep this up. That way, as more people realize that educrats are NOT all about the children, but rather are all about their jobs, will true reform happen

Mary Elizabeth

September 23rd, 2012
9:22 am

I agree with all the sentiments expressed in the courageious letter above. People are always criticized when they speak out. That goes with the territory.

In the following excerpt from the above letter, notice the words “. . .access to fully funded public schools that aren’t destroyed by for-profit charters. . .”:

“Thank you for fighting for the rights of children, youth and families to have access to fully funded public schools that aren’t destroyed by for-profit charters not held to the same level of scrutiny.”

Now, read of the sentiments of George Washington regarding profiteers in society, from the book, “Washington, A Life,” by Ron Chernow, page 352:

“Staying at the Chestnut Street home of Henry Laurens, Washington got a view of civilian life that would revolt him with an indelible vision of private greed and profligacy. Like soldiers throughout history, he was jarred by the contrast between the austerity of the army and the riches being earned on the home front through lucrative war contracts.

Ever since Valley Forge, Washington had lamented the profiteering that deprived his men of critcally needed supplies and he remained contemptuous of those who rigged and monopolized markets, branding them ‘the pests of society and the greatest enemies we have to the happiness of America. . .”
===========================================

We must keep public schools truly public ones, paid for by public taxes to serve the public good. We must not allow public schools to become the vehicle for private market profiteers who might use school children for the profit purposes of private individuals or of private corporations, instead of focusing upon the common good for all students within society, and for the enhancement of society-at-large, via public schools, for all of society’s citizens. We must improve public education; we must not dismantle it for an educational delivery system which is based on private market interests.

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
9:38 am

“Thank you for fighting for the rights of children, youth and families to have access to fully funded public schools that aren’t destroyed by for-profit charters not held to the same level of scrutiny.”

@Mary Elizabeth, put aside your (well founded) issues with the privateers. How can Chicago teachers be seen as ‘for the children’ when not a SINGLE word (to my knowledge) of their complaints was focused on improve teaching AND learning conditions by supporting teachers in matters of discipline?

Are we to believe the social environment of inner city Chicago is so pristine that discipline is no longer an issue?

notaracist

September 23rd, 2012
9:43 am

I do not have a problem with Teachers seeking better pay. They have homes and families to feed just like those who would deny them a fair wage. How soon we forget, it was and is, Teachers who were at the start of our Educational endeavors. Some, no none of us who are successful would be where we are, if it were not for a teacher. And, anyone who does not understand that fact, you do not understand because you choose not too. As you type your comments, and read other responses…think about the teacher who taught you to do so. Well wishes to all.

Fred in DeKalb

September 23rd, 2012
9:54 am

Beverly Fraud, you are correct to point out that the Chicago teachers did not have a good strategy in emphasizing their primary concerns. Historically most strikes have been about pay whereas most of this strike was about work conditions and a better teaching environment for students. If they led with that as their primary focus and the media actually picked up on that, the conversation may have gone a different way.

Grob Hahn

September 23rd, 2012
9:55 am

Anyone who thinks this strike actually helped the image of teachers needs therapy. What we have seen is what we thought were the most educated among us stooping to the kinds of tactics once reserved for dock workers and welders. When pilots tried this they discovered how non-union Reagan was. Georgia teachers shouldn’t be patting strikers on the back while Georgia parents are worrying about sliding education results, cheating scandals and bloated school administration. A lot of parents are seriously questioning your talent in Georgia because home schooling groups are exploding. Thanks to shared resources they are demonstrating a level of dedication we haven’t seen in most teachers for decades. Yea, it’s all the fault of the parents.
Grobbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

catlady

September 23rd, 2012
9:56 am

Bootney: Sonny made overtures to get the TRS money when he was on the throne.

Whirled Peas

September 23rd, 2012
10:00 am

If you want to understand what really goes on in a teacher’s head, this is a good letter. She talks about the welfare of the kids. She has to. But she is only interested in the welfare of the teacher.

Breaking up the government run school system monopoly will do for education what breaking up AT&T did for communications in the US. Without the AT&T breakup, the internet would probably not exist.

Breaking up the government run school monopoly will induce efficiency and innovation. Forcing a government run monopoly on the people will protect inefficiency and stagnation.

If you want to know what is really going on in Maureen Downey’s head, look at the letters she publishes and the people she quotes. Any one who says the AJC is fair and balanced has not bothered to read this column.

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
10:03 am

“Historically most strikes have been about pay whereas most of this strike was about work conditions and a better teaching environment for students. If they led with that as their primary focus and the media actually picked up on that, the conversation may have gone a different way.”

@Fred, how could they NOT get that? I don’t see this as a “victory” but as an opportunity squandered.

mark

September 23rd, 2012
10:04 am

Any increase in pay is better than the decreases in pay that I and other Georgia teachers have received over the past 4 years. I love my pay cut each year. In florida, some teacher unions told their members not to write letters of recommendation, or sponser clubs. I had this past week off, with lots of work for school to complete, but since I worked my “odd jobs” to make up for lost pay I did not have time to complete it. I guess my school work will have to wait until Monday, while I am on the clock.

teacher&mom

September 23rd, 2012
10:16 am

Here’s a breakdown of the negotiations and settlements.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/what-teachers-say-they-won-in-chicago-strike/2012/09/19/6689ccda-0296-11e2-91e7-2962c74e7738_blog.html

Granted, this is published by the CTU and may or may not look identical to the Rahm administration’s breakdown of the negotiations (as noted by the reporter in the article), the document posted on in this article does show the teachers were standing up for more than just pay.

I agree with Beverly Fraud that any time a teacher mentions pay, the public immediately closes their minds to any further discussion. Which is exactly why the opposition makes sure the pay raise issue stays first and foremost in the news.

Just A Teacher

September 23rd, 2012
10:28 am

Thanks for publishing this letter, Maureen. It was well written and demonstrates to me that there are others in our state who share my belief that public education funding is being plundered by greedy, self serving profiteers. I just don’t understand why the average citizen. whose child is supposed to be the benificiary of our services, stands by and lets the education system be dismantled by unfavorable (to say the least) working conditions and crippling austerity cuts for those of us in charge of teaching children.

The charter school movement is not about improving public education. It is about money. Corporate raiders do not care about the quality of service provided to their customers nearly as much as they care about profits. Your children will suffer if public education becomes privatized. It is sadly ironic that teachers in this state cannot participate in collective bargaining because that right is reserved for private sector employees and yet our schools are being turned over to the private sector to manipulate and plunder. Soon a teacher’s worth will not be based on anything more than how little pay is required to keep him or her in front of the classroom. It is also ironic that the far right is behind this movement since dismantling the intelligentsia has always been a favorite tactic of the Communist party when it overthrows a government. I’m not comparing the Republican Party to the Khymer Rouge, but if the shoe fits . . .

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
10:31 am

“I agree with Beverly Fraud that any time a teacher mentions pay, the public immediately closes their minds to any further discussion”

Yet it’s invariably the first thing teacher advocates mention. Why do teachers continually lead with their CHIN when it comes to shaping the education debate?

The opposition can’t make the pay issue “first and foremost” if the teachers shape the debate, can they?

Ed Johnson

September 23rd, 2012
10:40 am

Certainly, let’s applaud CTU’s pushback on, in effect, Obama’s education privatization polices implicit in Race to the Top and such.

That said, CTU settling for tying 30% of teachers’ evaluations to test scores is puzzling, if not alarming. That particular settlement can only continue to undermine what is truly important, which is to improve our public education systems for the sake of sustaining democratic ideals in service to the common good.

So, it’s hard to accept any percentage of test scores tied to teachers’ evaluations and it’s puzzling as to why CTU would compromise on such a terribly important matter.

Gosh, hopefully CTU’s settlement on tying 30% of teachers’ evaluations to test scores won’t spread to become an exemplar for others to adopt.

Otherwise, we’ll simply keep getting more of this…

http://www.ajc.com/news/cheating-our-children/district-bios/
http://www.ajc.com/news/cheat-playbook/
http://www.ajc.com/news/news/education/school-test-cheating-thrives-while-investigations-/nSHwF/

Mary Elizabeth

September 23rd, 2012
10:45 am

Beverly Fraud, 9:38 am

“@Mary Elizabeth, put aside your (well founded) issues with the privateers. How can Chicago teachers be seen as ‘for the children’ when not a SINGLE word (to my knowledge) of their complaints was focused on improve teaching AND learning conditions by supporting teachers in matters of discipline?”
————————————————————————-

I supported the Chicago teachers, in large part, because I believe that there are powerful forces in this nation who would try to undermine the value of workers to speak out for their rights, via unions. (See the out-of-state conservative donors’ financial influence in Wisconsin, with the recall election of Gov. Scott Walker, who had spoken against unions.)

It stands to reason that the Chicago teachers know better than those outside of Chicago what their most pressing needs are. I did see the leader of that strike on television say that the heavy-handed use of standardized testing was hurting the overall education of students in ways similar to those expressed in the above letter. (And, I am a strong supporter for the use of standardized testing – for DIAGNOSTIC purposes regarding instruction, not for punitive or fear-inducing purposes such as job security.)

I support the addressing of discipline problems in schools, but I believe that discipline problems should be addressed with compassion, considering the overall reasons for those problems. Children understand care and compassion, even when discipline must be addressed effectively toward them, and they also understand when care and compassion are absent in the addressing of those discipline problems. As teachers, we must model for students what values we want them to emulate, such as compassion toward others. Those students who are not creating discipline problems, also, will observe HOW the discipline problems are handled and addressed. I believe that those students, too, are influenced positively when they observe teachers handling discipline problems with firmness, but with care and compassion. The bottom line, however, is that the teacher must be in control of his or her classroom, not the students or the parents.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/us/politics/walker-survives-wisconsin-recall-effort.html?pagewanted=all

RJ

September 23rd, 2012
10:45 am

“School supplies–it’s about time that teachers who care enough to raid their own wallets for pencil, paper, and tissues for their students get reimbursed. Teachers shouldn’t be penalized for caring.”

Amen! This unspoken expectation that teachers should be willing to spend their money to do their job needs to end. I received NOTHING this year for my class. Since I’m not core, the answer is, “you have a job”. Wow! No raises, have my own family to take care of, and I need to buy supplies like pencils, a pencil sharpener, markers, etc for the entire school since I teach everyone. It’s become exhausting fighting to do your job.

I find it funny that anyone would call teachers greedy. Yeah, these huge six figure salaries we pull in, and we’re asking for more huh? I really want to know how many people are expected to pay for basic resources to do their job. I’ve spoken to many people and nobody has said they do.

Mary Elizabeth

September 23rd, 2012
10:52 am

From the link I provided at 10:45 am, above:

“As of late last month, about $45.6 million had been spent on behalf of Mr. Walker, compared with about $17.9 million for Mr. Barrett, according to data from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan group that tracks spending.

‘What it shows is the peril of corporate dollars in an election and the dangers of Citizens United,’ said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, a school workers’ union, referring to the 2010 Supreme Court decision that barred the federal government from restricting political expenditures from corporations, unions and other groups.”

10:10 am

September 23rd, 2012
10:59 am

The “letter” is pathetic. Just another collection of tired old excuses the union puts forward in opposing reform and parental choice in education.

Polling indicates that 58% of Georgia voters are poised to approve the constitutional amendment restoring extra authority to approve charters at the state level, So once again, teachers’ union money is being wasted here in Georgia on partisan politics.

Georgia Association of Educators members can take a look at where the rest of that extra $168 in yearly National Education Association dues they pay goes … by Googling “NEA” and “donations.”

NTLB

September 23rd, 2012
11:21 am

Vote ‘NO” for the amendment of the GA constitution for charter schools provision. Another political move that will allow more corruption and empowerment of people who are NON EDUCATORS to have sole authority over our students’ education ONCE AGAIN.

Mary Elizabeth

September 23rd, 2012
11:21 am

@ 10:10 am

“Polling indicates that 58% of Georgia voters are poised to approve the constitutional amendment restoring extra authority to approve charters at the state level. . .”
=================================================

It is my belief that those who conducted that poll, with those results communicated to the public, are as interested in swaying public opinion as they are in analyzing public opinion. This is a Republican polling group.

I urge eaders to check out information about this polling group at the following link:
http://www.mclaughlinonline.com/5

There, readers will learn not only that this is a Republican polling group, not a non-partisan one, but that Gov. Nathan Deal and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle are among its clients. On the polling group’s website are these words: “The Washington Times cites McLaughlin and Associates as one of the best Republican polling firms.” Furthermore, the CEO and Partner John McLaughlin writes on the “Home Page” of this website that his firm had been “working with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to help him win a majority in Congress.”

This polling group, evidently then, acts to help clients win elections, not simply to give them polling results.

Moreover, in previewing the questions that this polling group submitted to Georgians on the constitutional amendment (from the link provided on Jim Galloway’s thread of September 19, 2012, on this issue), I found the questions to be quite leading in promoting the value of this constitutional amendment to Georgians polled. That is my opinion. It is, also, my opinion that the Republican leaders in Georgia have actively engaged in establishing, within Georgia, educational policies that are very similar to those advocated by national Republican ideologues of power and influence, and that this poll helps in that effort.

Ron F.

September 23rd, 2012
11:21 am

“the use of the term “collective” brings to mind the worst fears of Joe average, and plays dead into the hands of Fran Millar and his wannabe minions”

Unfortunately, I have to agree. While sitting idly by and watching the fools under the Gold dome systematically defund public education is at best gutwrenching, those who choose to commend any effort by a big, bad scurrilous union just become “defenders of the status quo” as we are often called. While I support much of what the strike was about, we are in a period where the powers that be are using very powerful, negative public sentiment in a bad economy to make unions look like minions of the devil himself. I have no illusions that what the Chicago teachers may have accomplished in the short term will only fuel the fires against public education in the rest of the country and provide a very real example for them to throw into the media every time someone dares speak out against what the “reform” movement supports.

I hope many will look at what we’re trying to do to education in Georgia and see the lunacy of it. Our legislators are controlled, ironically, by a “collective” hive mindset that has public education in the crosshairs. No amount of success or reform implemented from within will change that mindset.

Pompano

September 23rd, 2012
11:27 am

“The collective defines its goals as: 1) empowering educators to reclaim their workplace and professionalism”

What a joke. These people are employees – no different than anyone else – yet they want to put themselves up on some type of pedestal. Do your Jobs – you do not run the asylum (nor should you)!

More money and less accountability is what every educator desires. To claim this strike has anything to do with the “Rights of children” is pathetic.

Cindy Lutenbacher

September 23rd, 2012
11:28 am

Just a quick note here, Beverly: I copied the short list of concessions from another website and put the url beneath. I didn’t lead with pay; the source did. Had I rearranged the list, I would have been incorrectly using the source.

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
11:35 am

“While I support much of what the strike was about, we are in a period where the powers that be are using very powerful, negative public sentiment in a bad economy to make unions look like minions of the devil himself.”

In other words, teachers are ALLOWING the opponents to shape the debate. When have you EVER heard a GAE or PAGE representative say to Millar, Deal and company, “You claim to be the party of ‘rule of law’ and ‘personal responsibility;’ where are your meaningful proposals, with REAL TEETH in them, to support teachers in matters of discipline?

If GAE and PAGE were willing to hold the Gold Dome crowd accountable for upholding their own values, the debate could change in a way that would resonate with the public.

The question is, why won’t GAE and PAGE advocate for their teachers in this manner?

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
11:38 am

@Cindy, agreed. But again, it points out, if you KNOW the school system is going to play the “greedy union” card, shape the debate in a way that resonates with the public. Discipline, cutting administrative bloat should be at the TOP of the list.

Why can’t teacher advocates see this?

Ron F.

September 23rd, 2012
11:57 am

“Do your Jobs – you do not run the asylum (nor should you)! ”

Trust me, we know that. It’s the ones who DO run the asylum that are the problem, but we as voters keep electing them and letting them do this crazy stuff.

If you actually knew and talked to any teachers for any length of time, you’d realize how ludicrous your sweeping generalizations of us are. Better yet, you should come into a school and spend some time watching it all happen. You’d be surprised how your views would change then.

Ron F.

September 23rd, 2012
12:02 pm

“shape the debate in a way that resonates with the public.”

Unfortunately Bev, we’ve been beaten to the punch on that one by the politicians and their privatization agenda. It’s not an easy debate to frame with a public that doesn’t understand the details of the education monstrosity and doesn’t truly understand the trickle-down nature of power and resources. People in general don’t have the time or energy to get into the policy debates that we really need to have. They’re used to sixty second sound bytes, and those right now present a pretty bad view of education. The hard work of many teachers goes unnoticed, and no matter how much press we may try to put out there, the ones that make the news are the sensational idiots (and you point them out often). But I do agree that the teachers’ union folks really should have done a better job of national PR on this one!

Ron F.

September 23rd, 2012
12:05 pm

“The question is, why won’t GAE and PAGE advocate for their teachers in this manner?”

I’m beginning to wonder that myself. Both organizations are evidently pretty heavily populated by the management level, and they certainly don’t want lowly teachers getting any sense of empowerment. That would shake up the administrative downflow of decision-making, wouldn’t it?

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
12:10 pm

“That said, CTU settling for tying 30% of teachers’ evaluations to test scores is puzzling, if not alarming. That particular settlement can only continue to undermine what is truly important, which is to improve our public education systems for the sake of sustaining democratic ideals in service to the common good.”

Again, John Q. Public reads this as “teachers don’t want accountability” SHAPE THE DEBATE! Agree to this BUT agree to have the validity of it vetting by an independent statistician.

When John Q. Public sees you can’t find a statistician that goes along with this, the debate CHANGES from “teachers don’t want accountability” to “why is the school system pushing this nonsense?”

Add to that a proposal that teachers will take a pay raise off the table for a set time (1 year, 2 years, what have you) in exchange for the Superintendent and school board taking a pay cut, THEN John Q. Public has a handful of individuals they can call greedy, individuals they VOTED for, and not
“the union”

SHAPE THE DEBATE…before it shapes you!

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
12:13 pm

“I’m beginning to wonder that myself. Both organizations are evidently pretty heavily populated by the management level,”

Yes RonF and the fact that teachers have made them THEIR voice makes as much sense as chickens thinking Truett Cathy is their one true advocate.

At some point, teachers have to realize decisions like this are making them ACTIVE co-creators of their own misery.

Beverly Fraud

September 23rd, 2012
12:16 pm

“More money and less accountability is what every educator desires. To claim this strike has anything to do with the “Rights of children” is pathetic.”

Again, could the likes of Pompano, Lee, and Wilbur hold this view if union had been willing to forgo a pay raise in exchange for the Superintendent and school board agreeing to a pay cut and a 10-15% across the board cut in central office administrative BLOAT?

teacher&mom

September 23rd, 2012
12:26 pm

“Are we to believe the social environment of inner city Chicago is so pristine that discipline is no longer an issue?”

@Beverly F: Did you happen to see page 4 of the document I linked to???

Rahm’s administration wanted to eliminate Assault leave and change it to worker’s comp. for 2/3rd pay. Teachers in Chicago had to fight for assault leave.

Somehow I doubt the social environment is pristine if teachers have to fight for 100% paid leave for being assaulted.

Did anyone in the media even pick up on this little tidbit? Teachers had to push back to preserve Assault leave.

And we have the audacity to bash these teachers up the side of the head for standing up for themselves?

teacher&mom

September 23rd, 2012
12:30 pm

“Again, could the likes of Pompano, Lee, and Wilbur hold this view if union had been willing to forgo a pay raise in exchange for the Superintendent and school board agreeing to a pay cut and a 10-15% across the board cut in central office administrative BLOAT?”

In my rural district, the central office has cut AT LEAST that much and the administrators have taken more furlough days than the teachers.

Yet….folks in my community…who view public education like Lee, Pompano, and Wilber…come unglued when our local BOE even begins to mention a small mileage rate increase.

Damned if you do…..damned if you don’t.

Prof

September 23rd, 2012
12:34 pm

From the beginning of this strike, I’ve thought that I don’t know enough to take sides; and I still think that those living outside Chicago don’t either. It’s a rough, gritty, though beautiful, city.

From regularly visiting my close relative living in that city, I know that Chicago is de facto segregated (South side, generally black and North side, generally white), and so is its school system. A May 2012 NY Times article stated that Chicago Public Schools are the most segregated among large city school systems. I’ve also studied the phenomenon of South side gangs and their domination of the neighborhoods from which the South side school children come.

So I would like to know the extent to which the Chicago Teachers Union represents those teachers of the inner city South side. Is it primarily an inner-city teachers’ union? If so, what they’re demanding is “combat pay.” I also don’t know anything about the caliber of those teachers, and the training required to be hired in Chicago inner-city public schools.

And I frankly don’t think that educators in Georgia can know either.