Friday, February 25, 2011

Letter From a Teacher Friend...

An email from my old friend Quince, a life long teacher, I publish here with his permission because I also say "Unions, Yes!"
Hi friends, family and colleagues.
I am addressing everyone in this e-mail, but have BCC'd in order to respect privacy of all of you.
With that being said, allow me to elaborate. and rant.

Some of you are teachers, some have teachers in your families. Some of you may work in the public sector, others in the private sector.All of you know me well, some more than others. We may disagree sometimes, but we can agree to disagree. No matter your political views, we all have worked. Others before us worked too, not only at a job or building a career, but for better working conditions for all. The labor movement brought us all many things we take for granted today as they became law.

I live in one of 22 "right-to-work" states. As teachers, we have no collective bargaining rights; we cannot negotiate contracts. Those states that do are in danger of losing their collective bargaining rights. What is happening in the country is a coordinated effort to dismantle unions. Whether you belong to a union or a "professional association" as it's called here in a right-to-work-for less state, or whether you think unions are not needed, it doesn't matter. If you get a paycheck, and expect to get checks in retirement, then we all need to be concerned.

State by state, you can track progress via this link.
http://www.aft.org/difference/

I believe in the value of public education, or I would not have spent nearly half of my life in the classroom teaching. The attempts by some politicians and media to place blame for the fiscal mismanagement of public entities on the backs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public workers is a smokescreen for their nefarious plans to dismantle public education. Plans are underway already for drastic, devastating cuts that will harm the future of this country. Politicians talk about being competitive in the global marketplace. We'll be real competitive with an uneducated workforce. Or maybe that's what they really want.

I proudly stand with the protesters in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and across the country. This time in our history is a turning point for education, for labor, for worker's rights. Don't buy the hype about how it's all those teachers getting rich with their high salaries and generous pensions that have broken the economy in states and communities.
Does the country have amnesia or do we not recall what brought the economy to its knees?
Wall Street, bankers, the Fed, financial charlatans and criminals. It wasn't the teachers.

I have never seen such times such as these in my entire career in education. Districts are paying teachers to resign, so they don't have to lay them off and pay unemployment; in most cases, they have no grounds for termination, and they know it. What a desperate measure to balance a budget. Some are buying them off cheap; $1,000 to $2500 is the average.

Dallas ISD is paying $10,000 to resign. Gee, about 4 of those, and you've got a teacher's salary. Are they insane?

Folks, we're eating the seed corn.

We need to remember our history and learn lessons from it.

Peace.

Craig / Q

This Land Is Your Land
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaI5IRuS2aE

Get Up Stand Up
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLYOOezs3DA

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