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LHS UTLA Newsletter March 2011

LHS UTLA Newsletter March 2011

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Published by: mskramst on Apr 15, 2011
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04/15/2011

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Join Us on March 26
 
By Marisa Crabtree
The teachers’ union as an
institution is flawed, butessential to reforming andimproving the school system.Trust me, I have not alwaysbeen an advocate for everythingour union has said the past sixyears. In my relatively brief teaching experience, I haveoften sided- if not exactlycontrary- then at least on thefringe when it came to the
union’s position on key political
matters. Yet, I know that strongunions provide for strongeducational systems bolstered bymutual respect and reward.Today, we see attacks againstour union coming from manydifferent levels. There arefinancial, theoretical, andpractical reasons for unions notto exist. It would certainlyalleviate grief for lawmakerswho need to adjust budgets andexpense reports. If they make it
about “teacher effectiveness”
rather than longevity orexperience, then they can bothsave money and save face by
claiming that the “inept”
teachers were the ones who wereeliminated due to relaxation of union-based restrictions.And, although it is certainlypersuasive to hear politiciansstake their reputations on
winning the fight against “evilempire” teacher’s unions,
ultimately, the union-freeeducational world they wouldlike us to exist in appears not tobe quite so beneficial after all.Teachers who are not membersof a union tend to make lessmoney, not more. Job securityis a crucial benefit to teachers,and when it is threatened, meansless talented candidates attractedto teaching. Finally, thefreedom to design, implement,and evaluate the taughtcurriculum is anothermotivational factor for teachers,which is something very fewschool districts would willinglyoffer in the present climate of drill and kill standardizedtesting.Thus, whenever- and wherever-
teachers’ unions are attacked,
we need to stand in solidaritywith them. Because, althoughwe might sigh a breath of relief over living in a state where
“unions have power to protectthemselves,” which, ironically,
Wisconsin state workersbelieved until their newRepublican governor decided hewould rid himself of the peskybarriers to budget cuts by
eliminating unionized workers’
rights, we never know when theprotection that we areaffordedby the union will bethreatened in our own state.
Let’s march in solidarity with
Wisconsin unions, as well as ourown, on Saturday, March 26.

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