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.


Bob Forer 5 years, 6 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.

situveux1 5 years, 6 months ago

Yea, teachers were just lining up to vote for him before...

verity 5 years, 6 months ago

Why would he care? He walks away with a good pension and health care plan and probably a cushy job with some Koch affiliate. Even if he's not reelected, he doesn't have to worry about how he's going to live.

KSManimal 5 years, 6 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.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 6 months ago

Adjust your tinfoil hat there, Twister. The antennae is a little off to the side.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

"Corporate servitude law" is a more apt description.

Mike1949 5 years, 6 months ago

Wristtwister, maybe you're just having a bad day. This is NOT, HAS NOT, AND WILL NOT have anything thing to do with Obama. You really need to turn off that fox news propaganda and blatant lies that come from the far right. This is ALL DONE AND CONTROLLED FROM THE FAR RIGHT! It is the republicans that are forcing Americans to work for less. Seriously, please pay attention to the facts and not the propaganda from the far right. 98% of Americans are sick and tired of the Blatant lies spread by the Republicans!

verity 5 years, 6 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.

MyName 5 years, 6 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.

cowboy 5 years, 6 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 !

globehead 5 years, 6 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.

verity 5 years, 6 months ago

You have to admit that creating the earth in six days was pretty efficient. Too bad humans weren't created with more sense and empathy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 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?

deec 5 years, 6 months ago

Oh, I imagine they'll be suggesting vouchers and district consolidation as well.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

Just naming a stack of ALEC model legislation to the committee instead of people would have been more efficient.

KSManimal 5 years, 6 months ago

OK, explain why the states with the strongest teachers' unions also have the best educational systems. Explain why Finland, with 100% unionized teachers, is recognized as the best public education system in the world.

Good teachers don't need a union? That's like saying people who obey the law have no need for constitutional protections against illegal search & seizure (or due process, or...fill in the blank with any number of things). It's a stupid assertion with no basis in facts or logic.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

I am a big supporter of having highly paid professional teachers. That said, your first sentence has to be inaccurate. Simply look at California where the teachers union is very strong, teachers are paid better than in most places, yet the public schools are generally in poor shape, and students suffer accordingly. At least as far as California is concerned, strong unions and high wages do not go hand in hand with good educational results.

Why is California different than Finland? Why would Mississippi be different than Japan? I have no idea. There must be a million variables that might account for the differences. Maybe Finnish parents value education more than their American counterparts and then push that onto their children. Unions might have nothing to do with their good results. Or maybe the unions are the reason for their good results. But that leaves California's poor results unexplained.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

California has a lot of separate issues that would affect outcomes, and the cost of living makes the teacher pay not quite as great as it would otherwise seem. I don't think anyone is arguing that teachers unions in isolation are the only cure for poor schools. The argument is that teacher's unions are more likely to be present in good state school systems than they are in poor ones.

Care to tell me how awful the schools in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, or Vermont are? Those are all states where collective bargaining is required for teachers. Or would you rather tell me of the superiority of Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, or Georgia schools - where collective bargaining is completely illegal? BTW - all those schools score better than California.

There are many reasons why Finland is different than California, one of which is funding. Yes, teachers get a lot of money in California - relative to the rest of teachers in the US, but not relative the cost of living or the amount of education required to earn that money compared to other professions. In Finland, the pay of teachers is much closer to the pay one would get in other fields. California and other states also face a huge disparity in income for their students, and that alone is one of the biggest determinants of outcomes. In Finland the funding issue touches more than just the teacher pay. The schools themselves are equitably funded, and a student attending a school there knows that the school they are attending is a good school - because they all are good schools.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

Let me tell you of a conversation I once had with one of my child's teachers. At that time, I was sending my child to a private, Catholic school, not because I am Catholic, but because it's reputation as being a good school was well founded, in my opinion. During my conversation with my child's teacher, she mentioned she was paid less than a public school teacher was. I was surprised, given that we were paying a substantial amount to send our child to this school. I would have thought this great teacher would be making more. When I asked why she chose to teach at the private school for less money rather than go to a public school, her response was understood by me. She didn't have to put up with all the "stuff" that goes on in a public school. That "stuff", there's all your variables. We can get up on our high horse and deny it's there. Some might stick their heads in the ground and pretend it's not there. But it is. It's as real as the sun that rises every day. All that "stuff".

As I've said many times, I believe in substantial pay increases for teachers. I believe they should be paid like true professionals and I would demand professional behavior in return. Even though I've chosen the private school route, I do not believe in vouchers. If teachers choose to go the collective bargaining route, that's none of my business. And when unions call for better pay, I'm all for it. Just don't tell me that better pay for teachers will fix all that "stuff". Then you're just pissing on my leg and telling me it's raining.

Mike1949 5 years, 6 months ago


optimist 5 years, 6 months ago

What a horrible comparison. Collective bargaining and unionization are privileges given by the government. To compare inalienable rights to government granted privileges is ignorant and displays a lack of understanding of the principles that founded this country. Union laws by definition diminish the rights of the employer for the benefit of the employee(s) collectively. The assumption here is that the employer is too powerful. As an employee one is not enslaved or indentured, they are entitled to be compensated for their time, talent and productivity. The employment contract should, in a perfect world, be a social contract between employee and employer to fairly compensate the other. The union contract requires that all employees are compensated the same regardless of their value to the employer. This being said some employees under this scenario are paid less than they are worth to the employer so that others may be paid more than they are worth to the employer. This does result in less efficiency as many will and do race to do less if they are to earn the same as those that already do less. While this is not an absolute as other character attributes come into play, it is human nature to take the path of least resistance. My experience in the union culture was just that. If you worked too fast or worked outside your area of responsibility you were targeted for "making the rest of us look bad". "If you work too fast they will expect it all of the time from everyone". You get the picture. I have no problem with unions and have no desire to eliminate them for those that feel they wish to belong to one. I advocate balancing their power to prevent a union from destroying a company. If you go on strike the company should have the right to terminate and replace you. They risk losing talented quality employees along with those less talented but it should be for the company to take that gamble. There were many that crossed the picket line at Hostess in hopes of keeping their jobs but lost them just the same. Unions have now become in many cases the scourge they were intended to fight against. I advocate balancing the scales just a little bit.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Actually, I think they are.

They're the expression of the fundamental rights to assemble, speak, and petition the government.

Robert Sailler 5 years, 6 months ago

Do you think the Lawrence school district is failing? Do you think the Lawrence teachers are overpaid?

globehead 5 years, 6 months ago

Where is it failing? In Inner city schools or other economically depressed areas. I see no particular failing in the suburban areas of major cities all across this country. Many of those have union members. Many of the failings are not because of teachers whether unionized or not. Most failings are the direct result of bad parenting. That is just too touchy of subject to deal with however. In the meantime, we will tilt at windmills and blame funding, materials, infrastructure, unions, absence of prayer and a host of other drivel.

4getabouit 5 years, 6 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.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

I'm sure he's already lost it. He just doesn't want them to have the power to organize.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

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

tomatogrower 5 years, 6 months ago

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

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 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.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 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!

question4u 5 years, 6 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.

WilburM 5 years, 6 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..

verity 5 years, 6 months ago

Did anyone ever doubt that the agenda was pre-cooked?

We might not have known what the agenda was, but I think we all knew it was already decided and the task force was just a farce.

BigDog 5 years, 6 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.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

First, there is no "tenure" in public schools, only a requirement for due process for termination, which keeps principals and other administrators from arbitrarily firing teachers, or even blackmailing them for whatever purpose they choose.

Second, it's been well-established that if they get proper and appropriate instruction, poorly performing kids do better if they stay with their age cohort. The hysteria about "social promotion" has its primary roots in the conservative preference for shaming and other punitive measures, regardless of their effectiveness.

SnakeFist 5 years, 6 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.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

What's your source on JCCC? Which of the benefits that you cite would you eliminate? Should the teachers get pay raises to compensate for removal of benefits? What about adjuncts, who likely get few of the benefits you cite, but teach a large number of the classes there (as they do everywhere?)

SnakeFist 5 years, 6 months ago

I've worked there (as an adjunct), know many full-timers, have read the Master Agreement (which is available online), and watched part of the latest contract negotiations. I would eliminate all of the benefits I mentioned, that's why I mentioned them. Keep in mind that even counselors and librarians are considered "faculty" at JCCC and so are also eligible for sabbaticals and conference travel, which is ridiculous. No, giving faculty raises to offset the loss of overly generous benefits would defeat the purpose of dialing back the benefits.

Adjuncts teach over 50% of the classes at JCCC and are treated like disposable migrant workers - because they're not unionized! That illustrates my point: Unions have gone too far, but without unions - as illustrated by the plight of the JCCC adjuncts - executives and administrators go too far. So, again, we need to dial back some benefits, not eliminate unions.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

I've known quite a few adjuncts at various institutions, including JCCC, and I agree that they are treated and compensated very poorly. But I fail to see how treating all the rest of the faculty with equal disrespect and poor pay will help anyone.

And what's wrong with sabbaticals? If they are awarded there as they are elsewhere, it's only for specific purposes that will benefit both the teacher and the skills/knowledge they can bring to their teaching duties. And if these people are required to attend conferences by the college, why shouldn't they receive financial assistance for doing so? If either of those programs is being abused, it should be addressed, but eliminating them just because adjuncts don't get them seems purely punitive.

SnakeFist 5 years, 6 months ago

Dialing back overly generous benefits - benefits you would never see in the private sector - isn't treating the faculty with disrespect, its being reasonable. Sabbaticals are fine at institutions where professors need to stay up to date on the latest research or are performing research, not at community colleges that teach the lowest level courses and have no research requirement. Conference attendance is not required at JCCC, but it is generally paid for when people people apply for funding. Again, there may be a desire - but there is no need - for a community college instructor to attend a conference.

Be reasonable Bozo. Surely you don't think that unions are so perfect that anyone who questions anything they have ever demanded is disrespecting faculty or being punitive. Unions are necessary, but they aren't perfect, and we need to re-balance the system.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

No, unions aren't perfect, but what is? Certainly not the corporate plutocrats whose excesses and excessive greed were/are largely responsible why they came into existence in the first place.

As far as sabbaticals and conference attendance, the reasons for faculty/staff at a community college doing either will vary from those of faculty/staff at a major research university, but I just don't buy it that there is no value for those things among faculty at the CC level.

BTW, I expect that the compensation levels of faculty at JCCC, even with benefits, are not going to put them in the upper income echelons of one of the wealthiest counties in the entire country.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Equating "overly generous" benefits with benefits you don't see in the private sector may be a little off.

The private sector used to offer things like defined benefit pension plans, and fully paid for health insurance, etc.

Just because that sector has managed to offer less and less to employees doesn't mean that those benefits were/are "overly generous".

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

I know current retirees who have defined benefit plans from their private sector jobs. I'm a bit jealous, since those jobs are rare these days, but I also know plenty of people who got screwed on those pensions when the business went belly up.

I'd rather all of us see defined benefit plans administered through an entity other than the business itself. You know, what Social Security could have been. If we decoupled retirement savings and health care from our place of employment, I think we'd all be better off in the end. Workplaces wouldn't have those traps to force us to stay in a crappy job, and they'd have to compete on salary and working conditions.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Well, that's definitely a problem, especially since bankruptcy laws allow those companies to renege on their pensions - the government does insure them, though, but it's not as good for workers.

I agree, but why do you trust the government more than the private sector? And, we'd have to seriously restructure SS to make it sustainable.

Actually, my best idea is to provide socialized health care and retirement supplementation to those that need it, and let the private sector work on top of that, in whatever forms it comes up with. So, some people could choose to be without health insurance, while others have "Cadillac" plans, etc.

To do that, we'd have to means test benefits, and arrive at a level we think is reasonable - for example, we could provide supplementation up to $1500/month. If you have $700/month retirement income, we provide $800/month.

So, we'd have a somewhat socialized system for those at the bottom of the income/wealth scale, and a capitalist one for those above that.

Oh, we could use the same idea before retirement, as well, for "welfare" type programs. So if you work at a minimum wage job, we provide enough to get you to $1500/month, and provide socialized health care.

Of course, we'd have to be smart about it, and not provide these benefits to college students working part time jobs, who have health benefits through school.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

"And, we'd have to seriously restructure SS to make it sustainable."

It's a well-constructed and propagandized myth that SS isn't sustainable. Without any changes at all, it can cover its obligations to retirees for several decades to come-- long enough to cover the lifespan of most baby boomers.

And to cover costs beyond the next few decades, all that's required is to raise the cap on the income levels on which payments to the system are collected.

Medicare is a different issue, but even there, the real problem is a healthcare system that costs twice as much per capita as other wealthy countries spend. Fix that, and a huge chunk of the debt/deficit spending also goes away.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

I don't believe that's true.

Based on our contributions and benefits, we'll take significantly more out of the system than we've put in, if we live to a reasonably old age.

And, the structure depends on more people paying in than taking out.

If you're using the idea of the "trust fund" to support sustainability, you should know that money is gone, and has to be replaced somehow, including interest on it.

One obvious problem with SS structure is that spouses, even those who have paid nothing into the system, are eligible for benefits.

The average Medicare recipient gets about 3x as much in benefits as they contribute. How would you "fix" the problem of high health care costs?

The very first site I found was the SSA itself - on it, they predicted that collections will fall below outlays in 2018 - that's only 5-6 years from now, not "decades".

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

Why don't you run for the Board of Trustees and see how that flies? Or better yet, you could be the new president. I hear the old one is retiring.

Cody Ochs 5 years, 6 months ago

Shouldn't this be a standard to which we aspire? Why is it that working people are vilified for what is perceived as privilege (something which is most probably a vestige of times when the working class were better treated), yet wealthier folks are coddled for the ways in which they have gamed the system? Divide and conquer.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

Exactly. Why is it ok to have multiple houses, a one million dollar IRA, and fancy dancing horses, but having some union negotiated insurance and pension plan makes you the devil? It's all about dividing and conquering.

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

I've worked in the private sector, where paid travel, health benefits, and whatnot was the norm. No sabbaticals, but the starting pay is higher for someone with an advanced degree. Perhaps JCCC (which is in a Republica-dominated county) felt that these benefits were the best way to retain quality faculty instead of having them work in higher paying industries elsewhere. What's your point?

Standing_on_my_own_2_feet 5 years, 6 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!

KSManimal 5 years, 6 months ago

Can you provide some specific examples (factual, not fabricated) of exactly how the teachers' union is "out of control"? Or are you just bloviating?

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

That's right. Continue to focus on things that are not the problem and to forget that you have a governor that doesn't want to fund education or tax rich people. It must be the teacher's unions that did that. They're not also hard working people. They're other. Look over there! Squirrel!

gccs14r 5 years, 6 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.

KSManimal 5 years, 6 months ago

If they're looking to butcher collective bargaining, it is EXACTLY the classroom they want to cut: teacher salaries, work load, plan time, collaboration time - all these things cost money and must be negotiated under current law.

Anti-school folks could dig out lots of "savings" by paying teachers less, giving them more students, eliminating plan time, etc.,.......all of which would adversely impact the classroom environment for students. But if your goal is to destroy public education and pay for tax cuts for wealthy's the perfect plan.

Pepe 5 years, 6 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.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

They are not unionizing "against" taxpayers. They are unionizing for themselves and their profession, and for the students who are in their charge. Students that today's Republicans couldn't care less about.

And given the current brazen attacks by Republicans against workers' rights of all kinds, who could blame any union members for feeling like they're having to circle the wagons?

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

They're efficiently finding a set of agreements for pay and work obligations through a single negotiating entity, not "working against" the state. There's no need for anyone to have an adversarial relationship with unions, and even a good relationship does not mean you give them every request.

gccs14r 5 years, 6 months ago

You mean back to the 19th century when there were four wealthy guys and everyone else owed their souls to the company store? No thanks.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

"There is a very good reason union membership is down to only 12%. "

Yea, there's been a very concerted war on unions by plutocrats like the Waltons and the Kochs for at least the last 30 years.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years, 6 months ago

Keep up your angry, bitter rants, rockchuck, but realize that we don't need you giving us any more reason to ignore whining crybabies such as yourself.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

Republicans have declared full-out class warfare, so it's not surprising that people are getting angry, especially because these actions affect the futures of the children of working people, including dues-paying union members.

But there was no "threat" involved in that statement. It was a warning that the Guv's life will not be a comfortable one because of his actions (what goes around comes around,) but nowhere was there a threat to do anything violent.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

That isn't their worst. It isn't even close.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

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

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