Not willing to wait for Superpol, “heartless” Rick Hess is backing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to curtail collective bargaining rights.
Just as I reject school reform built on the pursuit of millions of “superman” teachers, so I don’t trust the notion that everything will be fine if we just elect leaders with spines of steel, hearts of gold, and a deft negotiating hand.
The problem with collective bargaining by public employees is that these unions are unchecked by competition and wield massive influence as they help to elect their bosses. I get why Wisconsin public employees view Walker’s proposal as an assault, but I see a sensible measure to rein in the tendency of pols to serve narrow interests at the expense of the commonweal.
Exhorting politicians to “do the right thing” won’t give them the strength to rein in “exorbitant benefits and undisciplined budgets,” Hess argues. The unions are too strong.
National Journal’s Education Experts are discussing what Wisconsin means for the future of labor-management relations in school districts.
Gov. Walker is out to “destroy public education as we know it,” charges Bob Peterson, a Milwaukee teacher who predicts catastrophe to schools as well as teachers.
Collective bargaining gives teachers a voice, writes Dennis van Roekel, president of the National Education Association.
Chickens come home to roost, writes Sandy Kress, a former Bush education adviser.
The standoff continues in Madison. Police did not enforce a Sunday 4 pm deadline to clear the Capitol building of protesters.
If absent Democratic senators don’t return in 24 hours to vote on the budget, Wisconsin will miss a chance to save $165 million in debt refinancing costs, the governor said today. That will lead to more layoffs of state workers, he said. Walker will propose a new budget tomorrow that cuts $1 billion in state aid to schools and local governments, reorganizes the University of Wisconsin system and makes other changes to deal with a $3.6 billion deficit.