Monday, July 13, 2009

Unions Want More From Obama

The Teachers' Unions gave millions of dollars to Obama during the Election now they want something back.

The following story appears on

Spelling and grammar errors as well as typos are left as an exercise for my readers.

Union challenges Obama work with teachers

A teachers' union challenged the Obama administration Monday to live up to its promise of working with teachers and not against them.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said her union will post a "collaboration meter" on its Web site to judge whether reforms are happening with teacher involvement.

"When it comes to making the changes that will make our schools better, do it with us _ not to us," Weingarten said in a speech prepared for delivery to an AFT meeting in Washington.

She was playing off the words of Obama's education secretary, Arne Duncan. Duncan told the National Education Association last week that change would be made with teachers and for teachers, not to them.

The AFT planned to remind Duncan of his words by wearing "with us, not to us" buttons when he appeared Monday at their meeting. More than 2,500 people were attending the meeting.

It was a friendly challenge from a union leader who makes a point of reaching out to the administration. Weingarten was meeting at the White House before her speech and was joining Duncan onstage for a town-hall style forum during his appearance Monday.

President Barack Obama has education goals that put him at odds with many teachers, even though their unions make up an important segment of the Democratic Party base. The AFT has 1.4 million members, and NEA has 3.2 million members.

Obama supports performance pay, the idea of linking teacher bonuses to student achievement, using measures that include test scores. He is asking Congress for a huge spending increase, from $97 million to $717 million next year, to spur schools to adopt performance pay.

Many teachers don't want test scores to be used because tests can be deeply flawed, and because kids aren't tested in every subject.

Obama also wants to expand charter schools, which are more autonomous schools that teachers have resisted because they usually aren't unionized and because critics think they drain money and talent from traditional schools.

The AFT is pushing for a bigger role in charter schools and has signed contracts with teachers at a few of them, most recently with Green Dot New York Charter School in the Bronx, a high school run by Green Dot, a nonprofit group that operates charter schools.

About 40 unionized charter school teachers from 10 states attended the AFT meeting.

During her speech, Weingarten showed members her new "collaboration meter," saying a series of questions would decide where it moves from "`Kumbaya' hot to I-never-want-to-speak-to-you-again cold."

"When education reform is done to teachers and their unions, it is doomed to fail," she said. "But when education reform is done with teachers, it is destined to succeed ."

What a great, simple, way to explain socialism.

What a great, simple, way to explain socialism.

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class.

That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. The Class agreed!

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.

The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward and shares it with those not earning it, no one will try or want to succeed.

It just doesn't get any simpler than this.

This came to me via one of Anastasia's Grandmothers. I have not located the original source as of yet.