Aug 31, 2011

New Berlin, Wisconsin—The GOP's Vision of Education

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker bragged how he plotted to drop the "bomb" on Wisconsin public workers in an infamous sneak attack on Wisconsin that revealed how conniving the rightwing Christian who thinks God guides him really is. Citizen groups are fighting back and a historic recall of the Wisconsin governor should begin early 2012, but not before Christian Fascism rears its head

By Steve Hanson

Monday's New Berlin, Wisconsin school district meeting is a frightening reminder of where education in Wisconsin is heading. Having been given the Scott Walker "tools" to compensate for draconian state funding cuts for schools, the New Berlin school board has taken full advantage. And then some.

About 2/3 of teachers in the state are now working with no formal contract - the former negotiations between teachers and school districts are being replaced by board-written handbooks of work rules. I am somewhat bewildered by some of the turns of events. The supposed purpose of the Walker "tools" has been to save districts money - but the new school handbooks seem to largely be about punishing teachers in the districts.

The New Berlin rules include such oddities as dress rules saying teachers (I assume only female) must wear below-the-knee skirts.

Many of the rules involve making teachers work more unpaid hours in the classroom. I don't know of any other profession where an employer could arbitrarily change all of the work rules, drastically cut salaries, and remove benefits with impunity, and then accuse the workers of thuggery if they had the temerity to complain. This is indeed a brave new world of union attacks.

The new rules go so far as to monetarily punish teachers if they quit. I find that astounding. I also have a number of questions:

a. Do the right-wingers really believe that attacking teachers personally is a good way to improve educaiton?

b. How can school districts hope to attract and keep quality teachers when the entire system is being set up to be punitive toward them?

c. What would happen if New Berlin schools opened with no teachers reporting to work?

A few references on this ---
  1. New work rules for New Berlin Teachers
  2. BlueCheddar's excellent blog post on this issue
  3. More video of the school board meeting at Conley Media's Youtube Channel

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