Archive for Thursday, December 13, 2012

Efficiency task force to call for review of collective bargaining laws

December 13, 2012, 5:31 p.m. Updated December 13, 2012, 7:32 p.m.


— A task force appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback to study ways of making schools more efficient plans to recommend a review of state laws that give teachers collective bargaining rights, the governor's office confirmed Thursday.

While details of the proposal are not known, the action opens the possibility that state legislators could follow the lead of legislatures in Wisconsin and Ohio that have stripped teachers and other public employees of collective bargaining rights.

Brownback's School Efficiency Task Force held its final meeting earlier this week to discuss what items will be included in its final report.

The Kansas Association of School Boards reported in an email newsletter to its members that a review of the state laws governing teachers unions would be among the task force's recommendations.

"Several members of the Task Force indicated superintendents believe teacher-negotiated agreements limit management flexibility," KASB reported in its newsletter.

Ken Willard, a member of the Kansas State Board of Education who chaired the task force, declined to discuss the details of the panel's report until it is finalized and delivered to the governor. But Brownback's press secretary Sherriene Jones-Sontag confirmed Thursday that a review of the Kansas Professional Negotiations Act would be among the task force's recommendations.

Officials at the Kansas National Education Association did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Last year, the Kansas House passed a bill called the Equal Access Act, which KNEA officials said was aimed at weakening the power of teachers unions.

That bill, which died in the Senate, would have given all "professional associations" the same rights as a collective bargaining unit to recruit members at new teacher orientations and other meetings, and to solicit teachers through the district's email and physical mail boxes. That would have included associations that exist mainly to sell liability insurance and offer professional development, but that do not negotiate contracts or represent teachers in labor-management disputes.

The Kansas Association of School Boards recently adopted a legislative agenda for the upcoming session that calls for a limited revision of the Professional Negotiations Act. That group wants to remove teacher evaluation protocols from the list of items that, by law, are subject to collective bargaining.

Mark Tallman, a lobbyist for KASB, said that was based on concern that the state will soon move to a new system of accrediting schools that could make school districts more accountable for student growth and achievement. If the state is going to do that, he said, many districts may need more flexibility in how they evaluate teachers and reward them with tenure.

Under terms of the state's waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law, all Kansas districts will have to adopt new evaluation protocols that hold teachers accountable for student improvement. The Kansas State Department of Education is developing a model system that districts can use.

The Lawrence school district, however, does not plan to use the new state program but instead is developing its own evaluation protocol.


Liberty275 1 year, 4 months ago

Governor Bownback could sneeze and 52% of Lawrence would complain about it.


rockchalk1977 1 year, 4 months ago

"Pro-Union Activist Threatens the Michigan Governor: We'll Be at Your Daughter's Soccer Game'"

Union thugs at their worst.


rockchalk1977 1 year, 4 months ago

There is a very good reason union membership is down to only 12%. Nobody wants to deal with these angry, bitter, crybaby types who are generally overpaid and inefficient at their jobs. It's no small wonder that Democrats want to preserve and grow union membership because their dues go directly into a well oiled money laundering scheme. Over 50% of the failed stimulus money went back to blue state public sector unions and auto workers. It's all about kickbacks to Obama voters with other people's money. Union pensions and health benefits will soon bankrupt big pro union states. Time to de-certify unions and get the country back on track to prosperity.


Pepe 1 year, 4 months ago

My main beef with public unions versus private industry unions is who they are unionizing against. Public unions are essentially unionizing against the tax payers as the tax payers are ultimately the source of the additional revenue they gain through collective bargaining against the school district, state, or whatever government entity they are unionizing against.


gccs14r 1 year, 4 months ago

If they're looking for ways to cut costs in education, they could start in the administrative offices and extracurricular sports. The classroom should be the last place to see cuts.


Standing_on_my_own_2_feet 1 year, 4 months ago

I support Gov. Brownback 100% on this one. I'll bet a lot of other people do too. Reign in some control of the OUT OF CONTROL teacher's union! It's amazing! Eliminate tenure, add more days to the school year, and allow the teachers more ability to kick out the students that are out of control!


SnakeFist 1 year, 4 months ago

As much as I support teachers and unions, I have to admit that both have gone too far in recent years. JCCC, for example, provides full family health coverage - not a buy-in opinion as you would see in the real world, but paid healthcare for as many children as you care to have. JCCC also provides sabbaticals and conference travel even though it is only a community college, the most advanced classes are 300 level (sophomore level), and there is no research requirement, and it provides better retirement-matching than many of the big KC law firms.

Don't misunderstand me, I recognize that it is the workers who make a business successful, not the executives or administrators, but, at least in some public cases, benefits have gone too far.

Unfortunately, rather than dial back the benefits to a reasonable level, conservatives want to go to the opposite extreme and give business owners and administrators complete power to decide what's fair. That, of course, will lead to the same abuses that led to unionization in the first place, and we will eventually come full circle.


BigDog 1 year, 4 months ago

Kansas needs to look at education reforms that Colorado is putting into place ..... reform of how teachers are evaluated and get tenured, eliminating social promotion in schools, etc. Over the years education reform was championed by many who cared about quality of education and future of children, not about protecting the system or the unions. The reforms have been designed and championed by a Democrat from Denver but also pushed by Republicans. Their most recent reforms passed unopposed. Their reforms have drawn major support and funding from foundations and private business.


WilburM 1 year, 4 months ago

Brownback's assault on the moderate-conservative policies that have served this state well for generations continue. No wonder there were no teachers on the "efficiency" task force. Its agenda was pre-cooked. Can hardly wait for the Legislature to enact its "efficiency" agenda. So, Brownback attacks teachers, rejects health-care policies that benefit Kansans, enacts tax policies that favor the wealthy, encourages anti-abortion policies that deny for constitutionally protected rights, all the while gutting the state bureaucracy And this is all going to attract more industry and good jobs. Totally unreal..


question4u 1 year, 4 months ago

Where is Kansas going to get its teachers? Wichita's strategy of recruiting from the Philippines hasn't been a great success. More than half of the 40 that were hired to teach math several years ago have left. Hiring teachers from Korea through virtual recruiting hasn't been particularly successful either. Retired administrator Don Dome is now employed as a full-time recruiter to try to find special ed teachers from out of state.

It's incredible that anyone would think that under these conditions it's practical to increase demands on teachers, cut funding, then eliminate teachers' ability to bargain. What more could you do to discourage bright college students from becoming teachers?

Only the most naive could possibly believe that eliminating teachers unions is about efficiency. Part of efficiency may be lowering costs, but efficiency also involves maintaining or increasing the quality of outcomes. Cutting costs and cutting quality is not efficient: it's myopic.

When you try to adjust school funding to what's left over after massive tax cuts instead of what's actually needed to maintain quality, what can you do but try to cut teachers' salaries? What's the first step toward that if not eliminating teachers' ability to bargain? If you want to eliminate teachers' ability to bargain, why would you appoint any teachers to your task force to study efficiency in education?

Too many Kansans seem think that you can get something for nothing. Enjoy the fantasy while it lasts.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

Supply Side Economics is messy and expensive to the 99%. Because it is the 99% that feel the pain from wage decreases or job losses. Republicans are still waging war against the workers of the USA. Hundreds of thousands have been in streets of Wisconsin over this very matter of Right to Work = Right to Lower Wages and Zero benefits.

How do republicans use YOUR tax dollars? This is all related no matter how Brownback presents his Supply Side economics agenda. Ultimately wages are reduced and/or jobs are lost.

Worker's taxes siphoned off by their bosses Thursday, April 26, 2012 | Posted by Jim Hightower

Where is the $47 million tax dollars that belong to Kansas taxpayers?

My congratulations to workers in 16 states – from Maine to Georgia, New Jersey to Colorado! Many of you will be thrilled to know that the income taxes deducted from your paychecks each month are going to a very worthy cause: your corporate boss.

Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center, has analyzed state programs meant to create jobs, but instead have created some $700 million a year in corporate welfare. This scam starts with the normal practice of corporations withholding from each employee's monthly check the state income taxes their workers owe.

But rather than remitting this money to pay for state services, these 16 states simply allow the corporations to keep the tax payments for themselves! Adding to the funkiness of taxation-by-corporation, the bosses don't even have to tell workers that the company is siphoning off their state taxes for its own fun and profit.

These heists are rationalized in the name of "job creation," but that's a hoax, too. They're really just bribes the states pay to get corporations to move existing jobs from one state to another, or they're hostage payments to corporations that demand the public's money – or else they'll move their jobs out of state.

Last year, Kansas used workers' withholding taxes to bribe AMC Entertainment with a $47 million payment to move its headquarters from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to a KC suburb on the Kansas side, just 10 miles away. What a ripoff!


Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

Eliminating collective bargaining = "Right to Work" Laws = less wages and zero benefits for both blue and white collars. Sam Brownback is following orders from Norquist and the Koch boys.

Unions statewide BEWARE! Nothing efficient or fiscally responsible about decreasing economic growth. Romney Economics is raiding Kansas.

The 1%-2% have been receiving cuts for 33 years and where are the jobs? The Communist Chinese government is certainly happy with millions upon millions upon millions of USA jobs that somehow arrived there.

The 1%-2% have been making bundles of money sending jobs away. Mitt Romney and friends were doing it during the most recent election period . That tool is known as the leveraged buyout.

--- "Mitt Romney Made Millions from the Rescue of Detroit" as 25,000 GM jobs went to China.

--- " Investigative reports reveal how Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made some $15 million on the auto bailout and that three of Romney’s top donors made more than $4 billion for their hedge funds from the bailout.

--- As part of a massive government bailout, U.S. taxpayers paid $12 billion to save auto parts maker Delphi Corporation. Out of that taxpayer money, three billionaires and their partners took in a profit of over $4 billion. One big winner, with a profit of over 4,000 percent, were the billionaires’ silent partners, Ann and Mitt Romney. The Romneys made at least $15 million, and as much as $115 million.

Leaving the tax cuts for the 99% is a good thing. Let's do that for a change. The 99% spend more money in America than do the !%-2%. The 99% is the economic engine that drives the USA economy thus creates the jobs in the USA.


tomatogrower 1 year, 4 months ago

Hey, teachers, get ready to live in poverty and buy even more supplies for your students.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 4 months ago

What they have in mind in the way of "efficiency" is a few addenda to the Laws of Corporate Servitude.


4getabouit 1 year, 4 months ago

"Does Mr. Brownsack know that teachers vote? He keeps alienating more segments of our society...oh yeah know what I mean."

I don't thing King Brownback is worried about losing the teacher vote.


Milton Bland 1 year, 4 months ago

Teacher unions are the main reason American education is failing. Good teachers do not need a union, only the under performing ones who should be fired.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 4 months ago

So the sham of the "efficiency" committee has been stripped away, and we can now see that its only purpose was to create a pretense for crushing KNEA and collective bargaining.

Is it any wonder why they had absolutely no interest in hearing anything from teachers?


globehead 1 year, 4 months ago

Ken Willard believes the Earth was created in six days. That qualifies him as an "efficiency expert", at least in the eyes of the current junta.


cowboy 1 year, 4 months ago

If the White house and Senate have any qualms about using any procedure to get their agenda thru they only need to look at Michigan this past week , Brownbacks sneaky tax deal here , and what looks like a big swing at the teachers of Kansas. Brownlips is going to run this state into the ground

I think Douglas County should secede from Kansas and perhaps become part of say...Oregon , we would have a beach , mountains , progressive politics , two good basketball teams. Or perhaps .... After all were Freestaters , Screw You Brownback !


MyName 1 year, 4 months ago

Wow, they're trying to find ways to make schools more efficient and the best thing they can come up with is: "let's try and bust the teachers union?" I don't think that word (efficiency) means what they think it means.


verity 1 year, 4 months ago

Fascinating and truly scary article about education.

The aim is NOT to have an educated working class---among other things. And it's obviously working.


WristTwister 1 year, 4 months ago

Will we now see violent union thugs converge on Kansas as we have seen in Wisconsin and presently in Michigan? What's more, Obama has not condemned such outrageous behavior and even provides impetus for the outrageous behavior.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama is proposing cuts to pensions, benefits and pay for his federal union employees who already have no collective bargaining rights, do not have the right to strike, and are subject to the right-to-work law Obama so boldly proclaims as "the right-to-work for lower wages".

This President's hypocrisy knows no bounds.


KSManimal 1 year, 4 months ago

Gee....we need monetary incentives to attract businesses to Kansas, according to Brownback.

I wonder what this will do for attracting the best & brightest teachers to Kansas?

What will it do to encourage the best & brightest college students to consider teaching as a career?

Currently, half of new teachers leave the profession within five years. Let's see...if we pay them less and increase their work load, what might that do to the already-fifty-percent attrition rate?

Welcome to Brownbackistan.


autie 1 year, 4 months ago

Does Mr. Brownsack know that teachers vote? He keeps alienating more segments of our society...oh yeah know what I mean.


Bob Forer 1 year, 4 months ago

"Efficiency. " Now that's a euphemism for union busting that I have never heard of. You gotta give Sammie credit for his creativity.


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