Monday, February 14, 2011

ACT NOW! Curbing Teacher's Union Influence and Power

 I received this email today from Ken Marrero. This is an extremely important issue and I have been planning to post on this issue myself but time got away. I want to help get this message out as soon as possible so I am reposted this email from Ken. Ken Marrero is a local and national Tea Party leader and blogs at Blue Collar Muse. I value his opinion and trust his analysis. I agree with the content of this email.

Please, Please act now. Please make a phone call or email. If you can go, please show up on Wednesday.  I must work or I would be there myself. This is a great opportunity to effect real education reform by curtailing the destructive power of TEA and their affiliates. Rod


I often send things to you FYI, For Your Information. Rarely do I ask that you do something other than what you might be motivated within yourself to do. This is one of those rare times. Please read the following and make sure this information finds its way into the inboxes, cell phones and feed readers of your readers and members. It is both critically important and time sensitive.

In the Senate, Jack Johnson is running SB113 this Wednesday. This is the Senate version of Debra Maggart's HB130 which takes away the TEA Union's ability to address issues such as salary, workplace conditions and more via collective bargaining. While such an ability may seem rather innocent and unimportant, it is anything but.


The ability to engage in collective bargaining for such things is a powerful advantage over the taxpayer in whose name the TEA is supposed to be acting. Just how much power is made more clear when one notes that no other state in the SouthEast has collective bargaining for its teachers. Only Tennessee. Further, in Tennessee, no other public union - regardless of how important it is to the public welfare - has the right to collective bargaining. Not even police officers and fire fighters.

Collective bargaining is about what is best for teachers. It is not about what is best for the children or about improving education. We should never forget that the TEA's purpose is to promote the cause of teachers. Full stop. Anything beyond that is gravy. And, as the NEA itself points out, is only done because they get paid for it.

Eliminating collective bargaining for the TEA is supported by the top business leaders from all across the state. Not, as the union would likely have you believe, because Big Business is in the pocket of the political Right. Unsurprisingly, they support it because, unlike the TEA, business in Tennessee has a direct and vested interest in having a well educated workforce. Since we all know what Tennessee's rankings are in education despite decades of increased spending and meeting union demands, perhaps it's time to question whether or not Tennessee is getting enough bang for its bucks. If Big Business is questioning the product the TEA and Public Schools are producing, perhaps there's a problem with production and not the end user.

Finally, the day to day, cumulative impact of collective bargaining being allowed into the schools produces the following results. Not that all of them are present at all times and everywhere. But these are things that are typically found where collective bargaining is present:

· require teacher pay be based on years of experience and level of education, not on performance
· make it virtually impossible to dismiss teachers for poor performance and/or misconduct 
· require principals to give advance notice to teachers before visiting classrooms to evaluate performance    
· limit the number of conferences and other forums in which teachers meet with parents
· give unions access to school mailboxes, bulletin boards, classrooms, and other facilities to use for their own purposes


Between now and Wednesday morning at 10AM Central:

Call these two members of the Senate Education Committee and let them know you want collective bargaining for teachers to end.

Sen. Rusty Crowe (Johnson City/Elizabethtn)-615-741-2468

Sen. Jamie Woodson (Knoxville) - 615-741-1648

The vote on Jack Johnson's bill in the Senate is going to be close. These two GOP Senators are seen as a little squishy and are the weak links in the chain of votes needed to get the bill out of Committee and to the floor for a vote. If the bill is let out of Committee, it will pass in the full Senate and the House. But if it dies in the Senate Committee, it will be dead - period. It is imperative that we get this bill out of Committee for a vote by the entire Senate.

Then, call (best option) or email your State Senator to let him know you want collective bargaining for the TEA to end.

Send this notice to all your mailing lists and get the people who look to you for information and encouragement fired up to do the same. It is a fact of politics that elected officials are influenced by direct contact from voters with opinions on legislation. The TEA has access to every teacher in the entire state and is burning up their email and phones with requests that collective bargaining be protected. We need to get calls and emails going the other way and we need to do it in the next two days. The Senate needs to know that Tennesseans support improving our education system and educating our kids as opposed to further entrenching unions and their one size fits all approach.

Come to the State Capitol on Wednesday, February 16th to attend the Senate Education Committee Meeting. The meeting starts at 10am, but I suggest showing up when the building opens around 8am. The TEA has put out the call to its supporters and they will be there. We need the Committee to see that there are everyday Tennesseans who will support them if they vote to curb the power of a special interest.

This is a hugely important step for restoring both both fiscal and policy responsibility to our state and as we move forward with making Tennessee strong and sound. Please take the time to address this issue with your readers and members. Thank you ..

Ken Marrero
Blue Collar Muse -

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