I’ve been watching what’s been happening in Wisconsin. I haven’t really known what to think and who to believe.
I’m a union member, but sometimes I find my union’s approach to be a little too bellicose for my liking. I like to solve issues through compromise and civility — I avoid conflict. Once last year I took a top union member aside and chatted for a few minutes. The budget had been in the news and I mentioned I would be willing to take furlough days to keep my job. I don’t remember the person’s exact response, but it was along the lines of “we don’t give in unless we get something.”
One of my coworkers told me I’d make a bad union rep because I’m not strong enough and not a fighter. Well, there’s more than meets the eye with me, but it’s true that I wouldn’t feel comfortable being a union rep.
If I were a teacher in Wisconsin and my governor asked me to fund parts of my pension and my benefits to help the state out, I’d do it. I’m a reasonable person. But to take away my right to bargain collectively with a stroke of the pen? That’s extreme.
What makes it smell fishy is that he doesn’t want to strip the collective bargaining rights of all unionized state employees — Governor Walker is exempting the bargaining rights of police and firefighters. Why some and not all? That looks suspicious.
Reading about the news from the state to my north has put me into a funk. I don’t think people value education and teachers the way they used to. As one of you commented previously, sometimes school feels like a test prep center.
Real education reform is about compromise and working together for kids. We’re pushing character education into elementary schools, but I guess it was before Governor Walker’s day. I think he could benefit from a refresher on the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Maybe we all need to keep those principles in mind.
Pensions and tenure…to be continued…
In Wisconsin, the real struggle is over power (Washington Post)
Wisconsin Power Play – Krugman (NY Times)
Our view: In Wisconsin budget battle, bad behavior all around (USA Today)
Make Everybody Hurt – Brooks (NY Times)