The cost of teacher unions

When Gov. Scott Walker signed the public employee collective bargaining reform bill into law, most school districts used it to correct the relationship between the school district and its teachers.

Some did not, most notably Milwaukee, Kenosha and Janesville. Those three school districts have the lion’s share of teacher layoffs because they decided not to put their teacher unions in their correct place.

One Kenosha teacher, Kristi Lacroix, is writing about the result in her school district:

The day before Spring Break is usually pretty exciting when you are a teacher. The kids are filled with Spring fever, travel plans are set and the weather is usually nice enough to take the time to do some much needed yard work. Last Friday started that way for me; that is, until I went to make copies and found a teacher in the hallway with tears streaming down her face. It turns out that layoff notices went out this morning. That morning? The day before break? Yes, the school district decided that today would be the best day to let teachers know that they will no longer have a job teaching students. I would like to say that I only found one teacher in tears; however, in my small school of 18 educators, 7 received layoff notices today. The most saddening of these were those handed out to a married couple who just had their first child. …

See, my district did not use Act 10. That’s because we are stuck with the union contract until June of 2013 and it would take the Jaws of Life to get us free. Although there were numerous meetings between the district and the union, no union concessions were ever made that could have saved the district millions of dollars and prevented many layoffs. The district is faced with a 30+ million structural deficit. I was never asked if I wanted to make concessions, nor was I ever consulted by my union about Act 10. As always, union leaders made decisions that were best for them and then claimed they were representing the teachers. Make no mistake, though, their decisions are based solely on the desire to maintain forced unionism.

Who is representing the teachers that received layoff notices this morning? Will the union return the dues that were supposed to be used to HELP the teachers? Will the union give a refund of dues to the laid off teachers to help them pay their mortgage, put food on the table, or find a new job? I am guessing the answer is “no”.  …

I am a part of a growing number of teachers that are standing for freedom from teachers’ unions and for measures that will bring more accountability and professionalism to what we view as a very serious honor.

Lacroix has a Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/legalizedextortion. I can’t think of a better two-word description for public-employee unions, or this accompanying illustration:

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