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Is the war on teachers just another front in the war on women?

by Alec on April 16, 2012 · 10 comments

      Last week Mitt Romney told us that it was President Obama waging the war on wisdom. His aide told us that 92.3% of all job losses were to women. Supposedly this meant, ipso facto, that Obama fired all of these women, or at least caused their firing. Like any good Republican lie, there is a kernel of truth in Romney’s statistic.

    Saying that a lot of women lost jobs is important. Actually analyzing where those losses came from is even more important. Forbe’s Rick Ungar actually did a great job of further uncovering where these job losses came from. The job losses came from fields that Republicans don’t think should be jobs anyway. Public sector jobs.

   The Republicans, for once, have been very, very efficient. Killing two birds with one stone type efficient. You see, most of the job losses came from Republican states hammering teachers and state workers. The teaching field just happens to be dominated by women. Union clout stomped, and women were just a collateral bonus.

  We all know women are not treated equally in the workplace. There used to be mechanisms for them to get an equal stake. Unions in the workplace and equal pay laws in the courts.

  It is almost as if Republicans politicians are idiot savants. Totally dysfunctional in all aspects of life, except for a very specific realm in which they show genius. They cannot run a country or a state, but when it comes to destroying opponents they are brilliant. Heck, Governor Walker is the ultimate “Rain Man”. First, he destroyed the unions, who were the only ones lobbying for professional women. Once the lobbyists were gone, he repealed the equal pay laws so they had no protection in the courts either.

   In Minnesota we have the same war being waged. With a Democratic Governor they have to be more subtle, but it is a two pronged war non-the-less. They cannot completely destroy the unions, so instead they are trying to slowly chip away at union rights in female dominated professions.

    I would ask anyone to take an honest look at the agenda against teachers unions, and come to a different conclusion. A collective voice for women in the workplace is being silenced. It is being silenced in the name of power and control. It is being silenced in order to maintain the current, unhealthy power structure. Please join me after the break.

Bottom line: Women vote Democratic. Women have few voices in our society. Part of the war on women is destroying those who speak for them.

Now go read more.
     
Please think very carefully about what is being done, and more importantly, not being done in the name of our children.

Some facts we know:

Poor students who do not read at grade level by 3rd grade are 13 times more likely to drop out of high school.

   

“Based on this year’s fourth-grade reading scores,” observes Paul Schwartz, a Coalition principal in residence at the U. S. Department of Education, “California is already planning the number of new prison cells it will need in the next century.”

 source

So, the early years are exceedingly crucial. Paramount. It cannot be overstated how important it is for a student to start out on track. It can be made up latter, but it is much more expensive both in money and human terms. Some might say that addressing those early years is our most important job. Governor Dayton sure has.

In Minnesota, we don’t even fully fund our youngest learners. In the funding formula, kindergartners are considered about 51% of a human being. I will say that again for emphasis. We fund the most critical ages at less than a full person!. We do not fund pre-k at all. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

So, with reading by 3rd grade being so critical, this must be where we saw the most legislation. Right? Groups that purport to care about students must have been laser focused on early childhood education.

Let’s take a look at what the Republicans, Student’s First, and A.L.E.C. focused on. It certainly wasn’t our most critical students. Nope, just like the elusive, but oh so critical voter fraudster, A.L.E.C., Student’s First, and the Republicans focused on the “bad teacher”.

Instead of focusing on kids, Student’s First and A.L.E.C. want to implement value added evaluations that have proven to actually make things worse! They want to use these flawed evaluations to make high stakes decisions about teachers, taking away a lot of protections workers could not achieve on their own. We know that great teachers are fired because of these evaluations because they chose tough assignments. Just a modicum of analysis and most people realize there is a huge sorting bias in any comparison of teachers.

The National Research Council says, very specifically that these evaluations should not be used to make high stakes decisions about hiring and firing.  The Rand Corporation and the Educational Testing Services also say using value added evaluations to fire teachers is wrong. You think A.L.E.C. and Student’s First care a lick about what our leading scientists say? No. They just want to weaken the voice of workers. The fact that the workers are predominantly female and vote democratic is just a bonus.

If they really cared about helping kids, they would be screaming at the top of their lungs for fully funded kindergarten and targeted pre-k funding.

Bottom line: Women vote Democratic. Women have few voices in our society. Part of the war on women is destroying those who speak for them.

 

AO April 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm

What about the greatest War-Monger of them all, Scott Walker?  He must really hate women and teachers, right?

except…He passed a bill that saved teacher’s jobs.  http://www.weeklystandard.com/

Unions would rather let go of the new teachers before accepting a deal that reduced their raise or cut their benefits.  That is their job, to care for the tenure protected teachers, not to care about the outcomes of the students who might do better with smaller class sizes.

ericf April 17, 2012 at 12:38 am

Seriously? What, couldn’t find a link from Fox News?

AO April 17, 2012 at 12:59 am

What wasn’t true?  You could argue for the cause/need for the cuts to schools, but the results of eliminating collective bargaining over benefits is becoming clear.  The school districts who cut benefits, maintained their small class sizes and they still have plenty of teachers to pick and choose from when they seek new hires.  

ericf April 17, 2012 at 9:11 am

A cherrypicked anecdote and a lack of context. Basically the weak analysis that is the pride of the Weekly Standard.

AO April 17, 2012 at 6:33 pm

if it was cherrypicked, then find another district that lost all of their teachers when they cut benefits.  cherrypick your own.  This isn’t some national plan like nclb that is affecting schools in different ways all over the country.  This law is affecting one state with obvious effects in every district.  Milwaukee blew it off and went with the status quo of firing the newbies to preserve raises and benefits, other districts fared better by using their new privileges.

Alec April 17, 2012 at 3:34 am

You see, with workers now only able to negotiate wages, the school district was able to gut the teacher’s benefits and hire them all back at much worse compensation.

It used to be that public workers had middle of the road pay, but good benefits to help take care of their own kids while they taught yours. Fairy Godfather Walker helped them get rid of those pesky benefits that just got in the way of cheap labor.

It can’t, after all, be a labor of love if you are actually compensated fairly. Thank you Governor Walker.

AO April 17, 2012 at 4:03 am

In a free market, if your employer dropped benefits, they’d have to replace those lost benefits with additional wages to keep attracting and retaining talent.  Wisconsin isn’t having any problem attracting and retaining under their new salary/benefit structure.  It’s simple.  If you don’t like the salary/benefits, quit.  But, I’m guessing you won’t be able to go to a private school and earn $60K plus the sort of benefits you do now.  The public school down the road will also be less likely to hire you versus the new or less experienced teacher without a masters as they can get the same or very similar output for far less.

Dan April 18, 2012 at 2:18 am

Wisconsin isn’t having any problem attracting and retaining under their new salary/benefit structure.  

Actually, what is happening is that a lot of the most talented teachers are leaving the teaching profession.  There is this fantasy that this flexibility will attract better teachers, but the reality is that job insecurity and shitty pay and benefits won’t attract good people to any job.  

And while there are people to fill those jobs, that is a function of the fact that Walker’s cuts to education have created thousands of unemployed teachers looking for work.  To say that there is anything positive about this is beyond dishonest.  

And its only going to get worse, though, because while the rest of the country is seeing an economic turnaround, Wisconsin has the nation’s worst job growth.  Walking is killing the economy in that state.  Hopefully people wise up and remove his ass.  

Dan April 18, 2012 at 2:09 am

The dishonesty there is breathtaking.  Scott Walker has made huge cuts to education, resulting in thousands of teachers losing their jobs.  The idea that cutting benefits from the remaining teachers to prevent even more job losses is the same as saving jobs is a complete crock.    

Dan April 18, 2012 at 2:13 am

School districts are dealing with it in different ways, but they are all getting screwed.  The idea that getting far less money and more flexibility to screw teachers is a “privilege” is just sick.

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