Madison School Board policy states "teachers shall refrain from exploiting the institutional privileges of their professional positions to promote candidates or parties and activities," which includes protests.
Recent Governor Elect, Scott Walker is attempting to rein in the powerful public employee unions in the State of Wisconsin. He has done so in the face of dire necessity. Wisconsin is currently $137M short on the current budget and stares down a $3.6B budget deficit over the next two years.
In order to bring this crisis to conclusion, he is attempting to cut their subsidized pension benefits and require them to pay a lot more for their health insurance. The public employee unions are gearing up to strike athwart this means of saving money. Governor Walker has offered up the alternative of riffing 1,500 state workers and kicking 200,000 children off of Medicaid as an alternative source to make up the shortfall.
Aware that he will be unable to win major concessions from state employees without endless collateral damage from fights with Public Sector Unions, he has proposed suspending most collective bargaining rights for 175,000 workers. This would enable Governor Walker to reduce worker benefits in time to avoid kicking 200,000 children off of Medicaid.
This would work better if organizations such as Wisconsin Teachers Unions had any sincere concern for actual children. Their recent behavior suggests otherwise. As of 11PM Tuesday Night, over 40% of the teachers in Madison, WI had called in “sick” for Wednesday. The Superintendant has been forced to cancel school for the day. The teachers will be out protesting Gov. Walker’s proposed budget cuts and his efforts to restrict the bargaining powers of public sector unions.
I’ve scanned the Internet manfully for any reports of the resurgent Black Death striking anywhere in the vicinity. None have been filed as of 9:42 CST. I think it’s a case of Swine Flu. The fakers calling in sick to protest the benefits cuts are a bunch of swine.
And just think what it teaches the children. The work agreements of most school districts require the provision of advanced notice before a teacher takes personal leave. They are generally required to produce a sick note or Doctor’s notice if they go on medical leave. Children at schools frequently sign these quaint, old-fashioned things called honor codes. “I will not lie, cheat, or steal; nor will I tolerate those around me who do these things.”
Yeah, but it’s not lying-lying. Everyone knows what a job action is. We all just go wink-wink on this one. It’s touching that children are learning to appreciate citizen action (or lack thereof).
I’m not at all certain how highly the average teacher in Madison, WI values a typical day of their classroom instruction. Apparently, that value is none-too-high until it comes time to renegotiate the salaries. This “sick-out” is an act of fraud to both the students who are supposed to learn and parents about to eat a big tax hike to pay these educators.
President Ronald Reagan faced a similar difficulty with the PATCO Union. Federal Air Traffic Controllers threatened to walk off the job and shut down American air travel. The President ordered them back to work within 48 hours, or he would fire them. They refused, he fired them. This, perhaps, is why these workers are “suddenly ill” in such large numbers.
Governor Walker will face a moment where these individuals will openly and cynically show the world that they care far more about their sinecures and powers as organizations than they do about the communities they serve. He will have to face the same question Margaret Thatcher faced when the national coal miners’ union went on strike in a frigid British Winter. Who controls the State of Wisconsin – the government or the public unions?
He will have to find a way to break this union. He will have to do so in calculating manner that minimizes their cynical ability to inflict collateral damage upon the children they purport to teach. Wisconsin shows us just how hard and how thankless a job it is to bring an over-empowered government back into reasonable bounds.
HT to Ann Althouse for calling the Teachers out on this unexcusable absence.