It’s MY money — a teacher’s response to deceptive anti-union ads

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (@GovWalker) recently tweeted a video advertisement produced by Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (here’s background on the front group from SourceWatch).  This ad featured very selective edits of a speech by retired NEA general counsel Bob Chanin.

“It’s not because we care about children… it’s because we have power,” Chanin said.  “We have power because there are 3.2 million people who are willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in dues.”  Chanin was discussing the reasons why the right-wing typically despises NEA.

Taken out of context, these quotes give the false impression that NEA exists not for strengthening public education but rather for its own power-grabbing and profit. I heard this speech live in person; and I know first-hand how inaccurately the commercial portrays Chanin’s message. The casual viewer may not be so privileged.

The ad concludes with a call to action: “Tell Obama you’ve had enough. Call on him to support government union reform.”  Herein lies the rest of this deceitful message:  that NEA is a “government” union. The ad implies NEA is funded by the government and thus consumes hundreds of millions taxpayer’s dollars.

But NEA is not a “government” union, funded by tax dollars.  NEA is a teacher’s union, funded by teacher’s dollars.  This ad is typical of the kind of dishonesty being leveled against teachers and other public-sector workers across the nation.

The ad promotes a fallacy that money earned by public-sector employees REMAINS public money after the employees are paid. If one believes this, it follows that the public should control how public-sector employees spend their money.

But this is a lie.

I work in the public sector as a public school teacher.  I enter a contract with my employer in which I agree to give my time and talents in exchange for salary.  I earn my salary – it’s MY money.  The only taxpayer it belongs to is ME. (Yes, public employees pay taxes too). How I spend MY money is nobody else’s business.

If I want to pay NEA dues or donate to my union PAC, that is my choice.   But right-wing politicians and pundits are spending millions of dollars to convince the public that MY money isn’t really mine, and that I shouldn’t have such choices. This fraudulent public-relations campaign is orchestrated to justify what right-wing lawmakers are really doing.

In Kansas, pending legislation would prohibit me from donating to my union PAC through payroll deduction; under the guise of “paycheck protection.”  This bill would also prohibit public-sector unions from endorsing political candidates; under the guise of keeping “public” money out of political campaigns.

But it’s not public money.  It’s MY money.

Right-wing legislators pretend they are protecting worker’s rights. This is another lie. As Bob Chanin so eloquently stated, and Crossroads so conspicuously ignored, “supporters of paycheck protection don’t give a rat’s ass about the rights of Association members.”

“The objective,” Chanin says, “is to limit the effectiveness of NEA and its affiliates by restricting our ability to participate in the political process, cutting off our sources of revenue, and diverting our energies from advancing our affirmative agenda to defending ourselves.”

Kansas’ right-wing legislators want to restrict certain groups from equal participation in the political process. I teach about science, not civics; but I know the United States Constitution has a word or two about this.

The freedoms protected under the First Amendment – of speech, the press, to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances – do not come with a footnote disqualifying public-sector employees.  The Fourteenth Amendment, likewise, does not exclude public-sector workers from equal protection of the laws.  In fact, it expressly forbids states from passing laws which abridge the rights of any U.S. citizens.

Whether ignorant or indifferent, the majority currently elected to the Kansas Legislature won’t allow pesky constitutional laws to impede their agenda. These legislative attacks, not at all unique to Kansas, are such blatant violations of constitutional rights that a multi-million dollar misinformation campaign must coincide with the legislators’ scheme.

These people strive to create an “of the people, for the people” illusion to obscure what they’re really doing.  The organizational name “Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies” is part of that illusion. With “Grassroots” in the name, it has to be about ordinary folks, right?  Wrong.

Crossroads is a creation of Republican political operatives Karl Rove and Edward Gillespie.  Crossroads uses millions of dollars in corporate donations to influence elections and promote anti-union, anti-middle class legislation.  Their ad attacking NEA is but one example.

By design, Crossroads ads avoid endorsing specific candidates, thereby avoiding accountability to the Federal Elections Commission.  By extension, they avoid accountability to the public. In short, they can pretend to be a grassroots organization of working-class taxpayers; and have no obligation to reveal their true identity or agenda.

What can we do?

We can speak the only language our attackers seem to understand:  money.  It is OUR money, after all, and we can use it as we please.  A small group of firefighters in Wisconsin recently demonstrated this power by withdrawing their money from a bank that financed Scott Walker’s campaign. Cleaned out, the bank closed for the day.

Like these firefighters, I will use MY money as I see fit.  If politicians try to silence my political voice, I will speak that much louder to guarantee their efforts backfire.  If Kansas law won’t let me contribute to my union PAC via payroll deduction; fine. Electronic funds transfer works just as well.

And because of these attacks, I’ve decided to double my annual donation to my union PAC.  And for each Kansas legislator’s “yes” vote on “muzzle the unions” legislation I will add another dollar.

The right-wing billionaires club despises NEA and other unions because we impede their ability to funnel wealth upwards at the expense of 99% of the nation’s citizens.  Acting on behalf of wealthiest 1%, they must lie to the remaining 99% and silence our dissent through statute.  And they must seed infighting by convincing private-sector workers that public-sector workers are the ones taking their money.

We cannot allow them to succeed – there is too much at stake.  As Bob Chanin so eloquently stated, and Crossroads so conspicuously ignored, these people despise NEA because “we continue to be effective advocates for public education, education employees, and human and civil rights.”

We advocate for public education, education employees, and human and civil rights because it’s the right thing to do.  It’s MY money, and I can’t think of a better way to spend it.

Comments (84)

  1. Love it!!!

    • While collecting recall signatures I heard resonating comments regarding the public money being used for union activities similar to the points above. Are the people who support that argument actually contributing to their causes, “tea party”, “Americans for Prosperity”, and the like or are these organizations supported by large contributors enough that the indignant supporter on the street is able to belong as free riders?

      • Yes, but only if they choose to as opposed to being forced to. It’s not my money if it has never been in my possession and if I have no control over how it is spent. In California they recently took additional money out of my check to fight prop 8 which had nothing to do with education. How was that money mine if they can take it more easily than the IRS can?

        • Excellent point–John, I agree you. I am a conservative teacher who disagrees with my union on the majority of issues. While I do not contribute to my unioin’s PAC, my dues are used to advocate for so called “pro education” issues, many with which I disagree. The union is really a left wing advocacy group that does not represent my views. Yet they continue to take my money and use it to support views with which I do not agree. So I am basically forced to join the union (or pay nearly the same amount of dues for its “representation”) in order to have a vote on the few issues that are truly related to public education. Mr. Reber apparently supports the majority of causes on which his union takes positions. However, my views are not represented within my union. How is it fair for the union to force me to join, take my money, and use it to support causes with which I do not agree? So much for my freedom to choose!

          • Deb, be honest…

            Does your union FORCE you to join? If so, how? Are you LEGALLY required to join? Is your employment conditional on membership?

            Does your union TAKE money from your paycheck without your permission? If so, how? Does your employer or your bank authorize that for you, without your consent?

            Where are you from, Deb? What union are you referring to? Please share with us the laws in your state that force union membership and allow unions to take your money without your consent.

            John – you’re from California. From what you’ve said, there must be some statute in CA that would allow CTA to take additional money from your paycheck without your expressed consent? Please share with us exactly how that works.

          • Deb, check out the information on Depending on the state you work in, you do have some options. I teach in California (forced unionism) where I have made the choice to become an “Agency Fee Payer”, so that I continue to pay my dues, but once per year I get a “refund” of that portion of my CTA and NEA dues that are used for political activities. This year I received a check for $370 as my rebate of such funds. That is a full ONE THIRD of my union dues! Like you, I do not agree with the political agenda of my state and national union, and don’t want my dues to fund it.

          • Deb & Jules:

            I just visited, the site Jules suggests. Despite the fact that Jules claims that as a teacher in CA she is FORCED to join a union, I found the following teachers’ union Q&A on the site she directed me to:

            Question: Can I be required to be a union member or pay dues to a union?

            Answer: You cannot be required to be a union member in any state.

            You can find a direct link to that Q&A here:

            Thus, it appears that Jules and every other commenter here who claims to be a teacher who is forced to join a union is either ignorant, misinformed, or is attempting to mislead (a.k.a. “lying”).

            So, Deb & Jules, please share with us which of those categories you fall into.

          • Wow, Dave. You sound pretty upset up our situation in CA. I’m just going to take Deb’s advice and opt out. I think the complaint is that many teachers are led to believe (as I was) that we don’t have the option of getting out. I just discovered that I could recover the portion of my contributions used for political activity and I’m going to. Doesn’t this make sense. If you were forced to pay into a union that support conservative causes with your union dues, wouldn’t you be a bit upset. Wouldn’t you cry foul? I think that’s all these individuals are saying.

        • John, Not one penny of your money; or any other California teacher’s money, was taken by force to fund the fight over Prop 8. Every penny was voluntarily donated, entirely separately from dues, and the expenditure was voted on by the California Teacher’s Association’s 900+ elected teache members of the State Council. After a lengthy debate, in public, on the floor of the State Council, the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of this expenditure. As a former member of the State Council, I urge you to become involved. Join the Union, especially if you disagree with the majority, get elected by your colleagues, attend meetings, make your opinions known, vote. This is how democracy works.

    • There are blogs being used to issue misinformation (Karl Rove etc.) about teachers’ money not really being our money. This interprets that tax payers’ money pays for union dues. Some other misinformation is that (Limbaugh) 95% of our dues immediately go to the Democratic Party. Emotion is riding high, misinformation higher.

    • I’m a public school teacher that chose not to join the union yet you take my money against my will. At least with the IRS I would get a hearing first.

      • Are you returning any benefit that the union has negotiated for you (against your will obviously) or do you think you’re “entitled” to that?

      • So, you feel that it is fair for you to get better pay and job security, as a result of collective bargaining. Yet, you don’t feel that you should have to pay your fair share for this service? For some reason, the term “freeloader” comes to mind.

      • Agreed! The author says he chooses to give dues… I wish I had the choice to choose. I was hired based on MY merits and told “we are going to take your money. do you want it to go to the union or into a scholarship fund? If only it was my money! Forced unionization is unAmerican.

        • Jill,

          What state do you teach in? I’m curious to know what state requires union membership for teachers? Based on what you’ve said, you aren’t required to join…but can instead give equal dollars to a scholarship fund?

          What fund would that be? And again, where do you live where the laws allow this?

          • I live in Nj at was told upon being hired that I had to pay 85% dues no matter what. It’s for “representation” I’d say it’s basically forced unionization.

      • John – Please explain to me how the union can access YOUR money if you aren’t even a member. Please cite the statutes in your state (CA?) that would permit that to happen.

        I think you’re lying, and I eagerly await your response to prove me wrong.

  2. Thank you! Every time I hear about “public money” I have the same thought! I work hard for my earnings, once I get that paycheck, it belongs to me!

  3. Here’s some new info about an organization called “FreedomWorks”; which claims to be a grassroots group of ordinary folk:

    My litmus test = if you have to hide who you are and what you really stand for, you’re probably up to no good.

    • Your litmus test is the truth!

    • Same thing could be said about ACORN…but it’s MY guess that YOU are all FOR them….typical Dem/Lib/Progressive nutjobs!!!!!

      • I agree! Opposing views are really not welcomed within the NEA.

      • Ohio citizen- This site offers the opportunity for legitimate debate among people who actually have the intelligence to discuss the current state of politics without resorting to ad hominem argumentation, i.e. personal insults and name calling. This civil approach is one that most conservatives and some liberals are neither intelligent nor selfless enough to embrace to solve our current problems. Perhaps you could take the first step in ending this mean spirited method of communication by educating yourself about legitimate methods of debate. The world would be a better place if you did.

  4. Say on! When will people open their eyes?

  5. Thank you so much. I needed that today. Someone brought teacher/union bashing to my door so to speak, and I needed some ammunition to fire back. You just gave it to me. Thanks!!

  6. Excellent piece. I really want to see the teacher’s and other unions create ads for tv. The truth needs to get out there, and my guess is that many aren’t reading editorials. Put on teachers with their real salaries. Show classrooms that are overcrowded. Show teachers grading papers, making lesson plans, purchasing food or materials for their classrooms, talking about their students and the best way to reach them. Who we REALLY are is getting lost. I am tired of being attacked and having no response. And please show experienced teachers. I have taught 34 years and learned every year. I feel like “last in, first out” attacks make us look like we don’t care, or have anything to offer. I assure you we do. I am so upset with the attacks and negative ads. We must stand up for ourselves.

    • I totally agree with you! Unfortuately, in our state, the charter schools and state supports the negative attack on public schools and is supporting legislation for charter schools and school choice with vouchers for parents, which will be the demise of community and pride in neighborhood schools. In addition, they are promoting legislation for new teacher evaluations that will support last in and first out. Bilboard ads and television commercials are promoting this to the public. It all comes down to money. The thing is, public schools have no money to run these expensive campaigns. Somehow, the state and private sector that support charter schools have the money to persuade the attack on public schools and the teachers. As a teacher of 32 years, I have always prided myself on how I gave everything I had to my classroom. I gave up a lot of personal family time to give to my school and students, even on weekends. I still do. I bought a pair of tennis shoes for a student that was without and her family did not have enough to buy her any. Stop bashing us. No one knows our story. We sit next to students making sure they learn, we teach them manners and character, we give them money when their parents do not give them lunch money. We care. I hate the way we are being portrayed today.

  7. Well first off the NEA should make a counter ad and post it on youtube. Second they should then get every teacher in america to share it on you tube. Third if they do not do that then they are idiots.

  8. So very well written…I loved the statement about seeding infighting…I too feel that is Walker’s agenda. He has split the state of Wisconsin right down the middle. It is hard to watch…Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  9. THANK YOU, David! I am a California Teachers Association member!

    • Me too! CTA protects the rights of teachers and their students. I am proud to belong to this organization.

  10. Had me until the third from last paragraph. Tired of the whole “billionaires versus middle class” crap.

    • Sorry to hear that Stan. If you’re in agreement with everything else he wrote we could use you to help in the fight, but you’re tired so go take a nap. We’ll all be in the soupline in Pottersville when you wake up.

  11. The argument is NOT about you didn’t earn your money…the argument is that public union employees want what they want…and if they don’t get that…they threaten a strike/walkout…AT THE TAXPAYERS EXPENSE!!!!!!!!!

    WE the taxpayers do contribute to the salaries of public employees…when the public employees talk about collective bargaining…the actual bargaining is between state/city officials and the PUBLIC THAT IS PAYING THE TAXES ARE NOT IN THE BARGAINING…..SOOOOOOOOOOOO…WE the TAXPAYERS are getting screwed!!!!!! We foot the bill…politicians are doing the bargaining for us…and if THEY don’t do what public unions want…THEY strike and WE THE PUBLIC TAXPAYERS ONCE AGAIN PAY!!!!!!!!

    • OHIO citizen, perhaps you didn’t read carefully. Public employees ARE taxpayers. This false dichotomy of “public employee” versus “taxpayer” is a scam, and you have fallen for it.

      Here’s an idea: if you don’t like taxes, government, and public employees; perhaps you could “opt out” of the entire system. Of course, you would have to give up all the tax-funded, government-provided things you now enjoy – starting with flush toilets.

      • Yo…Reber…did you really graduate from college?
        Your reply to OHIO citizen is a joke. Public employees are taxpayers. BUT not all taxpayers are public employees. Thus, just so you can grasp the idea, if public employees are paid 200K/month, it does not follow that all taxpayers would benefit. Taxes of all taxpayers fund public employees. When public union members have increases in wages and pensions, it directly costs all taxpayers, many of whom are NOT union members..and do not benefit from your package of higher wages and benefits.

        It is NOT a false dichotomy as you claim. It is not a ‘scam,’ whatever you meant by that.

        I also notice that you NEGLECT to discuss that “your” contract does not explain whether a school board or school can freely choose hire someone else each year, someone who might not be a union member, or someone who will do your job better, and for less. Is your contract competitively BID? I bet not. Thus, public unions EXTORT egregious wages from taxpayers. And, because taxpayers/homeowners MUST pay for the public monopoly, they are victims of this monopoly arrangement that benefits you.

        This is NOT a question of opinion. It is fact. Back to school…..for you. You failed econ 101.

        • You must be one of those taxpayers who feel that because they are one out of a million tax payers they can make public employees grovel to get a paycheck. Believe me as one who has been in a public employee union for over 40 years I have never witnessed a school board get extorted out of anything. The union sits downs and negotiates with an employer. There are no guns pointed at anyone. What the governors and legislators in both Wisconsin and Ohio are trying to do is stripping the average public employee from having any say in the conditions of his employment. He and you want the union employees to just shut up and take whatever nut cases like yourself want to dish. Not today or tomorrow.

        • “it directly costs all taxpayers, many of whom are NOT union members..and do not benefit from your package of higher wages and benefits.”

          Public employees do not earn higher wages and benefits than private-sector employees – if you are intellectually honest in comparing jobs with comparable education/licensing/training requirements.

          That being said, you are wrong to state that union-bargained wages don’t benefit anyone else. Higher wages create competition for workers and thus raise private-sector and non-union wages as well.

          It always puzzles me that people claim to favor “market forces”, but refuse to acknowledge that “market forces” involve more than just what employers want to pay. They also involve what employees are – collectively – willing to work for.

          Yes, taxes “fund” public employees; and this “costs” all taxpayers. But you word this – perhaps intentionally, perhaps not – in a way that implies taxpayers get nothing in return. Do you like flush toilets? Clean water from indoor plumbing? Police and fire protection? Roads? The most powerful military on the planet? All tax-funded, public-employee goods & services.

          • I don’t remember the TEACHERS UNION bargaining for flush toilets, clean water, indoor plumbing,or police and fire protection, All good things and funded by the pubilc sector. I do see that we need to be reasonable as well as rational in our debates. I’d like to keep this debate about what teachers do and what they derserve. First most teachers deserve way more than they get. Second some of the debate here has been general to the nation, and therefore irrelevant to some localities. That being said, some school districts here in Sacramento CA will not hire a teacher if they don’t belong to the union and do every possible thing to make life miserable for those who ask for their “refund” or for their dues not to be used for political purposes. Just sayin’

        • Back to econ 101 for you Mr. Guess. You were the student asleep in the back of the class who was certain they knew it all.

          When you insist that your opinions determine wages, you have violated the essential precepts of voluntary exchange and the determination of wage rates in labor markets.

          Your opinion is NOT the market. By your logic, we can invade your labor markets and SET YOUR WAGE by opinion.

          I am retired military. I am also a college instructor. I bet I pay MORE taxes than you do. By your logic, I have more say than you do. Again, what does that silly opinion have to do with market economics?

          Even libertarians recognize the FREEDOM OF INDIVIDUALS to collectively bargain.

          You are not conservative in the true sense since you refuse to respect the economic freedom of all participants in voluntary exchange. You sound more like a socialist since you claim my pay as your own even when I have freely exchanged my labor for compensation.

          If you wish to claim that I have undue bargaining power, I would assert that most school districts are monopsonist employers. They pretty much have a take it or leave it philosophy regarding teacher wages. That is not free market. If more school districts have to compete for the best teacher labor then teacher wages would rise. That is not the case, and so the labor market for teaching labor has failed. Who caused it? According to you, it is teachers. Again, your opinion.

          You argument hinges on this silly claim: That the wage negotiations of teachers are extortion. With that said, may I also claim that because I have little say in your wages that your pay is extortion. Think about it.

          One more time. By my opinion alone, I think you are overpaid, underperforming, and I want a say in you pay. I purchase you products, and I demand to know your pay and a say in determining your pay not by force of the market by my OWN OPINION.

          Guess, this is NOT market economics. It is socialism.

        • Yo Guess–what TEACHER do you know gets paid 200k/month. Most teachers don’t break 50/k a year until well after 10 years of teaching. In the 35 years I’ve been teaching, I have NEVER seen a teacher ” EXTORT egregious wages from taxpayers”. In the last 12 years, our district in CA has given out 3 pay increases, which did NOT meet KOLA. Do you get it?! Most times, when teacher unions bargain, it’s more for working environment, number of students per classroom and insurance, than pay. What job to you know that can move your from accounting to science research even though you Degree is in Reading? Teachers get moved from school to school, grade level to grade level, with out their consent. Teachers negotiating classroom size not for themselves, but so they can genuinely teach each child. Try going back to the one-room-classroom, where you are teaching multiple grade levels at one time–because the taxpayers SAY you have no choice. YOU as a TAXPAYER dictate more in teachers/students lives than unions do. We, teachers, have CHOSEN to take on more duties, take on pay cuts, loose days of school, pay for materials out of our paycheck, which our schools no longer can buy, all for the sake of our students. Students welfare ALWAYS comes first. Look how far schools had come to better meeting the needs of each student(2001); then Government, which YOU the taxpayer elect, put together a budget that cuts education first. Programs, materials and teacher pay(jobs) are the first to go–non-negotiable.
          If we privatize our schools, GUESS, you won’t have to worry about your taxes going to pay for ‘those Union Teachers”, but instead you will be paying to sending your children to school(13 years), paying for their books, paying for all their materials, paying for special services, paying for sports or other activities AND when they act up in class, don’t turn in homework, or disobey the rules–you will be looking for another place to send your child that may NOT be so conveniently located. Tolerance for negative behavior will be gone. Parents will have to bare ALL the responsibility. Teachers will no longer have to put up with parents swearing at them in public, because they won’t allow their child to be picked up on a busy public street. They won’t have to be at work at 6 am. to accommodate a parent who wants to conference before they go to work. They won’t need to accept phone calls late at night because one of their students has been kicked out of their home and the teacher was the FIRST trusted person they could think of. They won’t feel guilty any more when they see their students leave, not knowing if they will return tomorrow, have supper, get a bath, or not get beaten tonight.
          You’re right, GUESS, teachers should earn $200,000(if only). They are on call 24/7/52. Spend a day, an hour in the life of a Teacher–see if you feel like your money is truly ‘wasted’.

      • Mr. Reber–yes, teachers are taxpayers, and they may spend their money as they wish. People in the private sector don’t expect the taxpayer members of the general populace to fund their retirements at their desired benefit level, however. OHIO citizen has a point–we make ourselves look bad when we don’t get what we want and threaten to walk out/strike. It’s spoiled and petulant behavior, in my opinion. I can see why the taxpayers feel they are getting screwed. NOBODY has the money right now–times are tough. And by the way, although I did not agree with the majority of your article, I found it to be well-written until you came back to the “right wing billionaires vs. the middle class” argument again. Tired, old, and frankly irrelevant. More and more teachers are speaking out against the NEA’s left wing views, and I’m glad that some teachers are waking up and realizing the NEA doesn’t speak for them.

        • When opinion drives wages, rather than the normal forces of labor supply and demand, then you have strayed very far from any of the precepts of a functioning labor market for wages.

          Your opinion is NOT the labor market.

          Please remember that. Teachers exchange their labor in a monopsonist market for their labor. It is legal in some cases to strike.

          If this does not sit well with you, then reject market economics.

          You lose every time Deb, when you petulantly insist that YOUR OPINION is the market.

          I think you are overpaid and underproductive. I want a say in the your pay not be force of the market but by FORCE OF MY OWN OPINION.

          What a silly argument that is. But the danger is, Deb, it could be headed your way.

          Envy is the poison of markets and freedom.

          Deb, think about it.

  12. Very nice job, David !! I have seen it posting everywhere…. we all agree. Maybe they will realize it is indeed our money when we stop giving it to these businesses supporting these politicians, eh? Tell you what … when it is time for those boycott shirts, pins, and coffee mugs… I know who to call :)

    Great job, again, Dave.. see you on Wear Red for Ed :) SOSMTM !!! :)

  13. So, you think the issue is whether the funds are private vs public funds? Either you all are whistling past the graveyard or you are trying to change the subject. No one is disputing that the funds are “contributions” from private citizens (teachers). The problem is quite simple: The longer students are in public schools the more their performance lags behind other developed nations. Our funding per capita is second only to one nation. so it is not a lack of funds. I think Americans are demanding value for the investment. So, are YOU going to deliver on that investment? If not, we are ready to invest elsewhere. Rather than defensiveness, perhaps introspection should be the first order response.

    • “No one is disputing that the funds are “contributions” from private citizens (teachers).”

      Actually, TMoss, they are; and that is the focus of this particular essay.

      As for the performance lags you refer to, I would suggest you read this:

      and this:

    • If we privatize our schools, TMOSS, you won’t have to worry about your taxes going to pay for ‘those Union Teachers”, but instead you will be paying to sending your children to school(13 years), paying for their books, paying for all their materials, paying for special services, paying for sports or other activities AND when they act up in class, don’t turn in homework, or disobey the rules–you will be looking for another place to send your child that may NOT be so conveniently located. Tolerance for negative behavior will be gone. Parents will have to bare ALL the responsibility. Teachers will no longer have to put up with parents swearing at them in public, because they won’t allow their child to be picked up on a busy public street. They won’t have to be at work at 6 am. to accommodate a parent who wants to conference before they go to work. They won’t need to accept phone calls late at night because one of their students has been kicked out of their home and the teacher was the FIRST trusted person they could think of. They won’t feel guilty any more when they see their students leave, not knowing if they will return tomorrow, have supper, get a bath, or not get beaten tonight.
      If you don’t think you are getting the “most bang for your buck” try not knowing year to year if you’ll have a job, where it will be, what grade level, what materials will you be teaching without, what new requirements with government decide teachers need to meet, AND “oh, buy they way, we may be cutting your pay check by 15%, sorry about that.” See it isn’t the teachers that are ‘failing’ it’s the system they have to work under. School isn’t allowed to be fun any more, it’s whether every child scores in the proficient or advanced group by the time they leave you. It’s not about meeting each child’s needs, it’s about the scores. MANY students do well in class, but do NOT test well. Is that what the teacher is going to base all the child’s report card on then? No, because we know the student; we know what they are capable of.
      Why aren’t you criticizing the legislatures that put this ALL into play. Teachers didn’t create this problem, but WE ARE taking the blame. Get involved! Make a difference! I know I am! Even though I’m going to loose my house, probably my car and most everything I own–because people like YOU think we shouldn’t be allowed to negotiate. We negotiated–took a pay cut to save programs for our students and jobs for our fellow workers. But YOU as a taxpayer–think we have taken it too far. I am sorry we embarrassed you! You obviously would have rather I put myself first.

  14. As a former KS teacher who moved to WI 18 months ago, I REALLY appreciate this article! It’s amazing to me how many people up here just believe whatever they’re told. Teachers are being vilified, and it makes me absolutely sick! Teachers did not cause all the problems of the nation for goodness’ sake! Thank you for explaining what Chanin really said. I will be spreading this article to every pro-Walker I can. :) And thank you for your work in an often thankless field. :)

  15. You eloquently state my concerns. Thank you.

  16. I heard the speech live from Mr. Chanin! This crap of misrepresentation just to spread falsehoods has got to stop! Isn’t there some sort of law against mis-quoting? Thanks for putting the information out there and for saying many good things.

  17. Awesomely put! I work very hard for my public education paycheck and should be able to use it any way I see fit.

  18. Yes!!! Let’s get this going:

    “And because of these attacks, I’ve decided to double my annual donation to my union PAC.  And for each Kansas legislator’s “yes” vote on “muzzle the unions” legislation I will add another dollar.”

    I’m in! Who else?

  19. That is what the righties say about the taxes they pay “It’s my money”. The Kochs say it’s their money after I have to buy their gas because they own the only refineries in the state. It is all Bulls***! Money is only a medium of exchange. What makes it money is that it moves around. Claiming it as “my money” by anyone is just greedy horse hockey! No body “owns” any of it! Every body gets it from some body else!

  20. Google Rick Berman to see another scumbag on the corporate dole. He makes bogus websites with bogus info that attack everything from unions to environmental causes to dis-info about mercury in fish, you name it! One of our first orders of business should be restoring the Fairness Doctrine so stuff like this has a chance of being reported on.

    • Well, sad to say, I only tend to play catch-up with this blog (and others on the D-H weibste).I’m sure hoping D-H went back to option c’.If I wanted serious commentary and back-and-forth conversation, I’d rather spend my time involved with the excellent OPB radio show Think Out Loud . Much broader base of callers, and guests with solid opinions to interact with. Lets face it, they have many more people to draw from, as compared to the D-H weibste Farrell (selling all of us short a good idea, given the recent stock market trends, no?)

  21. I think you mean to say “deceptive anti-union ads.” I almost skipped over your great post – Glad I didn’t! :)

  22. It is politicians who are in cahoots with the public employees union and approve any request they have in order to get elected or re-elected, that Nation is angry with.
    Public employees are supposed to be public servants, thus it is kind of murk whom are they protecting themselves from by unionizing…from their neighbors….and relatives .?
    In private business, unions exist in order to be able to achieve a greater share of profit that company realizes by producing goods or services and selling them in the open market. That greater share can be in a form of monetary compensation, better benefits or more favorable working conditions.
    What is it exactly that public employees or to be more exact they are all government employees in one form or the other (municipal, state or federal) are selling or producing.
    Their employer is not in business of making profit, but lives of taxes levied on people.
    Unfortunately due to the corrupt political system and lack of personal responsibility the same public servants really do not care about the service that they are hired to provide bit about themselves first and utmost.
    The problem with public employees unions is not that individuals don’t have a right to spend the money, but that they are missing a concept of an idea that you can’t squeeze blood out of the rock, and right now we have the situation where the people just refuse to, for a lack of a better word, pay their cleaning lady more then what they are making.
    (It is a statistical fact that public employees are on an average making about 30% more then their equivalent in private sector).
    In my opinion they need to get of a high horse and realize that no one in their right mind will nor should have to pay their servants more then what they are making….simply because it is not sustainable.

    • Let me tell you why public employees need to organize. It is because there are people like yourself who feel that public employees are lazy bums who work in the public sector because they can’t find other work. People like youself would pay minimum wage and tell us to lump it. That’s why we organize because like any worker we have a right to a honest wages for honest work.

      • I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I don’t know who you are but detieifnly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already Cheers!

    • It is a fact that public employees make 30% more than private employees who have similar jobs. Where do get such misinformation? Truly, I want to know so that I can teach my students to stay away from such horrific news sites. My guess is you just made up what sounded good to you. Why don’t you read a little about labor history and maybe you will discover why teachers, in particular, need unions to protect themselves from the whims of politicians and extremists. Moreover, why don’t you do a little research on the economics of public unions and state finances. Guess what, those states with unions, who have collective bargaining rights, financially outperform those without unions. Has it ever occur to you that the public’s interest is actually more closely aligned with the public unions than the politicians that represent them? Look that up too. We ask for smaller classrooms, professional development, and safe working conditions for the benefit of our students.

  23. Very well said. Thank you!

  24. To TMoss

    Both of my son’s attended public schools and both were accepted to, attended and achieved high honors recognition at highly prestigious universities (UC schools) in science related fields. This is because our family made education the priority. If your kids or U.S. kids in general are not achieving in their public school, then it is a reflection upon the dysfunction of our society as a whole. Why do you suppose that Asian kids in general perform so well in the “failing” public schools – I think it might be called discipline and expectations at home. When education in our society becomes the priority in every household, then our system will be the best in the world. Unfortunately, look at what kids have to overcome in this country – over 50% divorce rate of their parents, rampant illegal drug abuse and availability (yes, we are the #1 consumer nation), overuse of electronics (games, cell phones, text messaging . . . etc.), parents too busy with their jobs or single parents too busy looking for a new partner to give their kids quality time, emphasis on athletics instead of academics . . . and the list goes on and on. Keep blaming the education system and the teachers because it is easy and you don’t have to take any responsibility “or” you can start looking at our culture and figuring out the real reasons why some kids achieve and so many others fail. Maybe my boys were just lucky – NOT!

    • Couldn’t have said it better.

    • I’ve been saying everything you just said for years now. I’m a public education teacher, a father to 3 beautiful children, and a taxpayer. In the years I have been teaching, I’ve seen a lot of neglect when it comes to society and education. Parents aren’t doing their part and because they are taxpayers footing our salaries, they feel that it’s all our fault. If you don’t change the oil in your car, wash your car, or do anything else to take care of your car, is that the mechanic’s fault when you pay him to inspect it and it fails, so why is it a teacher’s fault when a parent doesn’t help a child with homework, study for tests/quizzes, and/or projects/reports? We can only do so much. Public education would be so much better if politicians and “taxpayers” got off our backs and let us do our job the way we were taught. In closing, people tend to forget that if it wasn’t for a teacher, they wouldn’t be where they are today and if you’re in a place where you shouldn’t be, then you only have yourself to blame!

  25. One cannot look at students as “products”. they are not widgets that can be set to a certain tolerance or specification. They have wills, minds, and problems of their own. Therefore, how can you tie student performance on standardized tests to teachers’ pay?

    Every one of you naysayers should be willing to spend a day or two in a public school classroom—-then you can be qualified to comment.

  26. I can’t understand why any teacher would want to vote for any Republican due to their attitude toward them.
    I live in Tennessee and Gov. Alexander made one big mess our of our education system. He was very unkind to teachers.
    Now, we have Gov. Haslam who has voted to have teachers teach five years before tenure.
    What other career requires an employee to work five years before receiving any level of job security or seniority?

  27. Thanks damador. you very eloquently said what I wanted to say. Teaching children in this society is extremely hard with all the disruptions and distractions to a child’s education. The learning done by a child is a function of many, many things other than public schools, mainly, the influence and support of the family and the ongoing dynamics taking place in the household. Parents are the child’s FIRST and most consistent teacher.

  28. The Kansas law sounds unconstitutional. They can’t take away your free speech. If they believe corporations have the same rights as people, they can’t muzzle the union’s voice, either.

    • Last month, US District Court Judge Lynwood Smith (Alabama) ruled exactly that: legislation to dictate or restrict people’s (yes, union members ARE in fact people….) use of their own money violates both the 1st and 14th Amendments. The same holds for banning unions from political activities/contributions.

  29. I was a teacher for 35 years, I have two children and a grandchild who teach. We are thankful that we live and teach in Oregon and belong to NEA and OEA. Would hate to be a teacher in Wisconsin. Thank god for unions!!!!!!!!

  30. Hey, David–

    I continue to stand by my comment that my union basically forces me to join. As I said earlier, it’s either join or involuntarily pay 98% of the union dues for the “representation” they provide. That’s blackmail–a typical union tactic, by the way. So no, technically they can’t force teachers to join a union, but you will pay in any case, and have absolutely NO vote on the few issues that actually affect public education if you don’t join. And, although I have not contributed to my union’s PAC, they also use union dues to support “pro-public education” issues, or campaign against “anti-public education” issues because the issues are supposedly not “political”, which in my opinion is BS. You have every right to support your PAC if you agree with their positions. However, blackmailing teachers into joining the union or paying nearly the same amount of money for their “representation”, denying them a vote while still making them pay if they DON’T join, and then using the money for supposed “non-partisan” issues is wrong. By the way, I have been a teacher for 23 years. I have taught on both sides of the country (west coast AND east coast) and it has been the same in both areas.

    • Stand by your misinformed opinions all you like.

      You can be an agency payer in CA. I checked the law on the internet in ten seconds.

      Honestly Deb, if you are a teacher, you are dunce.

      I would, if I could, remove seniority just long enough to roll you out the door.

      You must teach a SOFT subject with little or no real reason for taxpayer support.

      • Bill in response to the agency payer fee–if the union offered something of inherent value, people would voluntarily sign up to get it. Enough said on that issue. By the way, what made you think I have taught/am teaching in California? The arrogance of Californians notwithstanding, they do not comprise the entire West Coast, and to assume such demonstrates your predisposition to jump to foregone conclusions. You claim to know much about the free market. In fact, you tout free market principles as an important idea in public education. Nothing could be further from the truth. Do you have tenure? If you do, perhaps that is one reason our colleges and universities are in such a sorry state. You are speaking out of both sides of your mouth. You claim that public OPINION should not be a driving force in determining teacher benefits, pay, etc., and that members of the public (who are paying for the benefits) should have no say in benefit negotiations. Yet public education is not a market run institution. The government runs public education, Bill. It is controlled ENTIRELY by the government, not the free market. If you really want to allow the free market to impact public education, then take the government and unions out of it. That will determine what teachers are REALLY worth. My guess is that the good ones will rise to the top, and the others will sink. I know many, many good teachers who have demonstrated excellent skills in a variety of challenging situations. They don’t need a union to prove it for them. In fact, the good ones would probably make more working on their own. How about giving it a try? Oh, wait–you need the government to tell you how to do your job (through federal and state mandates) and the union to tell you how to think. The cognitive dissonance displayed in your type of thinking is truly astounding. It’s akin to the Lincoln Navigator with the bumper stickers “Save the Whales” and “Meat is Murder” on one side of the bumper and a “Pro-Family, Pro-Choice” sticker on the other side. It’s bad for whales to die and to kill animals for meat, but killing a baby if it’s your “choice” is perfectly acceptable. I simply do not understand that type of lefty thinking, Bill. By the way, you owe me a debt of gratitude. Had I failed to do my job, your students would not even be able to read the texts you assign them at the college level.

  31. Teachers should stop paying taxes since their wages were garnered by extortion, just like criminals.

    Most criminal thugs do not pay taxes.

    Teachers are thugs and criminals.

    Come on right wing, carry your argument to their logical extremes.

    • Bill, you make me laugh. And I should pay HOW MUCH to send my (almost) college aged daughter to be indoctrinated at your school?

  32. To Deb,

    You have enjoyed the 15% wage premium garnered for you by your union.

    You have enjoyed the LIFO protections of seniority.

    You have enjoyed due process protections of tenure.

    Deb, you are a dunce.

    You would be the first to go without a union.

    Those of us who teacher math and physics would be happy to see you go FIRST.

    Think about it.

    • Dear Bill,

      I must have hit a nerve since you have posted four times in response to my remarks. You don’t know a thing about me, what I teach, or my successes as a teacher. You simply resort to name calling when someone disagrees with you. Focus on your OWN job and performance instead of resorting to name calling against someone that may not share your opinion. I have my own job under control, thank you very much. Can you say the same for yours? I’m not surprised to have encountered many people who disagree me on a site such as this. You, however, make yourself look silly and IRRELEVANT with such childish retorts. Have a wonderful rest of the school year, Bill. I wish you all the best.


  33. IF teaching were a cake walk there would a surplus of labor with the high skills and academic credentials that parents demand.

    That is not the case in math and the sciences.

    There is, in most states, a seven year queue for fire fighters and cops.

    To the conservatives on this thread, what does that mean?

    Come on now, I am not going to give you that answer.

    If you KNOW MARKET ECONOMICS, you will immediately know the answer.

  34. My kids attended public high school, went on to the very BEST UC campuses and excelled in the sciences. They now have jobs with great pay, great benefits, a great working environment, and a great future.

    Education paved the way.

    Those of you who have children who have failed and have no future, I feel for you.

    But do not blame me. I have great children who benefited immensely from the public school experience.

    This is a country of free opportunity. The brutal truth is that NOT EVERYONE can be successful in this type of social and economic organization.

  35. What does a teenage babysitter get paid per hour now? I’m going just guess and say $3.00 an hour. Multiply that by 25 students per class and 6 hours(at a minimum) per day. Multiply that by 180 school day and, according to my math, a babysitter would make $81,000 a year. I don’t know too many teachers who make even half that, with a Master’s degree. Even if you want your child’s teacher to just babysit all day, you need to come up with more money. If you want teachers to teach, conference, solve behavior,problems, come to night school functions, record-keep and all their other duties (too many to list), what then should you add to that $81,000? You could afford it? Good!, then pay it.

  36. I just checked Google and the going baby-sitter rate varies from $4.00 an hour to $18.00 or more, depending on sitter age and experience and number of children. It’s been a while since I had a sitter, so with these figures you owe teachers even more!

  37. You can’t think of a better way to spend it? What about on the children, remember them?
    Teacher’s unions are all about you, and the ease comfort and security of those who work in Big Education.
    It is a national disgrace. And more than that education is failing to educate a whole generation and brainwashing to the same mindset.
    The Occupy Wallstreet crowd and the current occupant of the White House are just a few examples.

  38. And where do the teachers get their money FROM? You pay your teachers union dues out of your teachers salary which comes from who? Santa Claus? I’ll take taxpayers for 100, Alex. Unions were formulated to ensure profits that union workers produced were shared to some extent with those who produced them. By default, since the government has no profits (and in most cases negative profits running on debt and deficits) there is absolutely no need for a public union other than to hold taxpayers hostage

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