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Divisive Choices

Tonight many of my fellow teachers are rallying in front of our local Representives house to voice disapproval of Wisconsin Governor Walker Budget Repair Bill.  Unfortunately I am unable to attend, but, I can use my time at home to discuss some of the errors of this bill and its affect not only on teachers but all Wisconsinites.

One of the biggest things is the divisive nature of the bill.  It is putting Public Sector vs Private Sector.  Already you can see many arguments occuring all over the internet and between friends and family.  Just look at some of the public comments from a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article:

“The less public employees that are unionized, the better.”

“The debate is over – we voted for not having to hire union workers and fiscal sanity – nothing illegal is occurring. AP is reporting we have the votes in the senate – the debate is over. Time to move on.”

“How do you think we can easily fill a chemistry teachers or an advanced calculus teachers job? some people may be knowledgeable in these areas but to teach it is another thing. And to fill them quickly with people who will be willing to work for $30,000 per year. Who could afford that? BTW, $30,000 is roughly a entry level teachers salary.”

“This is great Governor Scott Walker is doing this. The State workers have cheated us tax payers out of millions and millions of dollars. This guy was the only one who had the balls to stand up to the lazy unions thugs.”

“Here’s the thing: They (unions) are NOT refusing anything. They just want to keep their right to bargain. Remember, their contracts are negotiated, and there are TWO sides to a negotiation. No one whined about this for the last few decades. Let’s not pit against each other here people. We all want to make a decent living.”

Instead of finding ways to fix a budget, this bill has people fighting against each other and claiming the other lives to richly or cheats the other of their money.  Is this what is really best for a Governor to do?  It no longer matters if the bill passes or not there will be a lot, there will be a lot of anger either way.  Wisconsin has literly turned its own citizens on each other.  

If we look at just education, it is interesting to see some of the comments being used.  For example, look at this portion of the Wisconsin Associations of School Boards (WASB) response to the bill:

“Governor Walker’s proposal will provide school boards with flexibility in containing benefit and wage costs. Together, these measures will assist school boards to ensure limited resources are going to the classroom to provide the best classroom experience for our state’s students.

As a teacher, I view this as them saying, ‘teachers are way to over-paid and do not work.’  I know this may not be their intention, but it is my view.  The WASB also states, “We will look for ways to keep the dialogue alive.”  But how can the dialogue be kept alive when one purpose of the repair bill is to basically dismantle union negotiations?

This bill has definately made a lot of people look at each other in a different light for better or for worse.  Hopefully the people that are the most important, the students, are not the ones who end up being hurt.  

If you are still intereseted in reading more about the affects of this bill, here is an excellent Opinion piece writen by a second year teacher named Vikki Kratz I am not the Enemy.





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