Saturday, March 31, 2012

Democrats Abandoning Teachers Unions

Feast your eyes on this, friends.  It seems that urban Democratic Mayors across the country have finally reached the breaking point.  The self-licking ice cream cone that is the cycle of election and contract negotiation between Democratic public officials and public unions (chief among them, teachers unions), has finally gotten so bad that Mayors in LA, Cleveland and Chicago--just to name a few--have determined that taking on the unions is required to both improve the school systems and gain solvency.  This folks, is the very definition of schadenfreude. 

Teachers unions are like the Congress.  We like our guy, but we denigrate the institution.  Next to my parents, and a few Captains I've served under, no individuals have been as influential in my life as teachers have been.  Unlike many, I have a hard time remembering even one influential professor in college; yet I can summon up a number of memories of really influential teachers on the way up.  Chuck Donachy in fifth grade... Art Sharon as a senior in high school--regaling us with stories of his time in the Air Force and showing "Apocalypse Now" in the class after we'd read "Heart of Darkness"; Jim Forrest, whose obvious love of the Civil War unlocked the same in me....John Jenks who knew exactly how to motivate me in Chemistry ("Struggle McGrath.  Struggle"). 

These guys made me who I am (some may now regret it) and I am indebted to them  It is possible to love your teachers and to want the very best for them and their families, without also being in the tank for automatic raises, free healthcare for life, and overly generous pensions.  When the economy hits the private sector hard, there is no logic to walling off public servants from the pain.  For those of you who wish to come at me now for these views whilst I suck up a fat pension from Uncle Sugar--I would ask you to do a little research to find my very well-publicized views on military entitlement reform. 

The overly cozy relationship between public sector unions and locally elected officials, the one that ultimately removes any sense of an adversarial relationship in contract negotiations (I mean adversarial in the strict legal sense) is bankrupting our localities, and Democratic Mayors are only now getting in the game.  Scott Walker is on his ass in Wisconsin over many of the same issues, though as a Republican, he is savaged by the media/union cabal while Rahm Emmanuel and his ilk generally are portrayed as "courageous". 

The system is out of balance.  From top to bottom. 


Tom de Plume said...

I have a very leftist colleague who carries the water for the teachers unions and I can't wait to see him later this month at our annual sales meeting in Boca Raton. I will invite him to knock on some doors in the gated communities and take a tally of the number of retired school teachers living the good life in Florida while the taxpayers of whatever northern clime they hail from work their asses off to pay for the good life.

"The Hammer" said...

That's strange. I remember most of my college professors and even know where most are now (dead). Shockingly, one is even a friend. Even though he's a Berkeley educated lefty I talk to him about once a month; good conversation. My highschool teachers were mostly clowns so I remember very few. I remember Dawn Fli, only because she was just out of ECU and hotter than a two dollar pistol. I remember my shop teacher who just died last week. And I remember Coach Paul Jones, a really great basketball coach with many State Championships.

Of course at my age sometimes I can't remember who I am, so there you go.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you. I don't think I could name one college professor, but many if not all from the preceding years. Maybe it was the drinking...

Anonymous said...

TdP, how much a year in pension do you think those retired teachers are making? Just curious to see what you think.

JRBA said...

No memorable college professors? Well, that is very sad, Commander. I have a couple professor mentors for whom I will be forever grateful.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

JRBA, you couldn't be more correct. I have no excuses, just bad background for you.

First, the Navy sent me to UVA on an NROTC Scholarship. I realized that as long as I kept my nose clean, I would have a guaranteed, GOOD job coming out of College. I entered college at the time of the last great "worst economic period" since the Depression, so these things were on people's minds.

The prospect of guaranteed employment tended to "temper" my relentless pursuit of academic excellence. I pretty much decided as s First Year to graduate with a 3.0 and have the absolute best time I possibly could. I finished with a 3.08 and I "sucked the marrow" from the bones of that experience.

That said--at 46 years of age--I can honestly say that my greatest regret in life is not trying harder at UVA, not really searching for great classes, rather than those that gave me reliable sleep-ins and solid golfing opportunities. Were I hungrier at the time, perhaps I would have.

I will tell you, that sharing the expense of my graduate degree with Uncle Sugar made me a much more finely tuned student. I had classes in Grad School and professors that were AMAZING, and that experience--academically--is very much in my mind. Perhaps I should have included David Walsh and Claes Ryn in my rundown of influential teachers this morning.

Sorry though. UVA was SO much more for me than going to classes. I now wish that it were otherwise, but at the time, no way.

Tom de Plume said...

Anonymous, I figured a retired teacher from the CW's home state of NJ was pulling down about $35,000/year in pension benefits assuming a $65,000 final salary and about 30 to 34 years of service. That, plus healthcare benefits for life and I figure they have a value of at least $15k/year. So conservatively speaking, a package of over $50,000/year for the next 30 years or so according to actuarial charts. In the event you are a math teacher, please estimate the amount a 55 year old would have to have in investments to generate a guaranteed income like that for the rest of their life.

Anonymous said...

TdP, we'll assume you are correct. Can I assume that you're pulling down close to 100K in the private sector? I would be we have the same educational background, assuming you have a masters. So I decided to take a lot less on the front end to get a piece on the back end at the age of 60. Yes, I live a comfortable good life in retirement, not rich but not poor. I also don't live in a gated neighborhood and a have a part time job. Life is good, maybe it would be good for you too if you weren't so mad at the world.

Tom de Plume said...

Ah, closing with an "angry white male" reference. Niiiiice. Interesting arguments you make and I'll keep 'em in mind the next time a teacher pisses and moans about making less than a Wall Street banker or NBA star, like those career paths were actually choices back when they decided to become a teacher.

But tell me perfessor, did you teach in one of those high tax northern states and then retire to a low tax southern state so that you wouldn't have to pay for the benefits of your fellow educators?

Anonymous said...

Nobody made reference to the "angry white male" just making reference to angry person you arebeing that you never measure up.

Yes, taught in a high tax northern state and continue to live here. Would like to move to a low tax state, but have too many family members here. I don't see it as not having to pay for the benefits of fellow teachers, more of getting away to enjoy the sunshine and a few cocktails.

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