Look how Scott Walker saves money

Instead of union contracts, Wisconsin teachers now have to abide by local handbooks suggested by Gov. Scott Walker. What does refusing to allow workers to help a sick colleague or longer skirts have to do with saving money? And just listen to the nasty wingnuts in the audience at the New Berlin school board meeting. Via the Blue Cheddar blog:

The “tools” Walker has handed to local governments are supposedly meant to help cut costs. However the changes to the New Berlin school workplace approved August 29 don’t look like mere cost-savings to me. New Berlin Education Association President Diane Lazewski agrees in MJS: “I would be surprised to see any other handbook as punitive as ours,” I should note that all details aren’t available until 9/8 and changes occur 10/1 according to a document from the blog Teachers Against Walker

Update: This 51 page Draft of School District of New Berlin Employee Handbook – Parts A and B states that it goes into effect 9/1/11

A few of the changes:

A ‘sick bank’ which allows teachers to donate sickleave to seriously ill colleagues will be eliminated.
–No set pay for overtime; only stipends
–Elementary teachers work an added 205 hours without added pay.
–Secondary teachers work an added 95 hours without added pay.
and there are odd restrictions such as
–Dress Code: Skirts below knee, no sweatshirts, no jeans, no large logos, no open shirts, etc. and
–The loss of all microwaves, refrigerators, and coffeemakers.

I called a young teacher, E., from Racine just before the meeting. E. said New Berlin’s handbook is the worst of a new crop of handbooks he’s seen. Handbooks now serve in lieu of contracts for public school employees where contracts have expired.

E. says: “This turns back the clock. It keeps teachers on call until 5PM for I.E.P meetings (Individualized Education Programs). This is eating into the time of people. Making them do more work for less money”. More details are HERE.

E. pointed out that clearly not all school boards are heavy-handed. The Shorewood School Board has opted for a collaborative approach to its handbook.

I gathered through tweets the meeting attracted 500-600 people, with incoming drivers having to park very far away. At the very beginning of the meeting, the board met privately for a time, sending complaints of undemocratic process and even illegal meeting practices through social media [claims I have not checked into.] I got conflicting reports on the composition of the crowd. A MJS reporter tweeted that there was a 50% pro-handbook and 50% anti-handbook audience.

A mass of anti-teacher residents booed and catcalled the teachers and their allies while they gave public testimony. And I’ve now seen three reports via social media that candy pacifiers were used to taunt teachers – supposedly an idea of the Queen of mean radio ranters, Vicki McKenna.* According to WEAC, at least 3 other right wing tak radio personalities called for citizens to oppose teachers: Belling, Wagner & Charlie Sykes.

8 thoughts on “Look how Scott Walker saves money

  1. Two years ago they were shouting at people in wheel chairs, now teachers. Seeing how conservatives pick their enemies, the only word that comes to mind is rabid.

  2. I am really ambivalent about this. I am all in favor of the concept and necessity of free public education, and I know where a lot of this is coming from in terms of racism and elitism and selfish anti-taxism. But I have also had a fair amount of interaction with public school systems and teachers, and I have come away angry and frustrated at a certain arrogance and inflexibility and even laziness and complacency.

    I know it all goes way too far, but I have to bite my lip to keep from agreeing to some of it.

  3. And that’s what they’re counting on – the ability to use that kind of personal anger as a tool against union rights.

  4. I agree that teachers are frequently flamingly arrogant and self-righteous, but they also care. Doctors are flamingly arrogant. So are physical therapists. So are nurses. But they all also care. It falls under the heading of “We’re just human, actually.”

    It seems to me that all this stuff about dress codes is to make the teachers more anonymous, because it’s harder to care about a cipher. Or it’s just punitive. It’s always hard to tell.

  5. and then I’d work with the union leadership to make sure college kids and transfers knew not to apply for teaching work in wisconsin. leave them without one fucking teacher in the whole state.

  6. Pragmatic Realist — which parts do you agree with?

    The no union bargaining thing?

    Added work hours with no additional pay? Well, Obama would approve; per Michael Hudson, he wants to cuts workers wages by 30%. Increasing hours will assist in that. So, it’s bipartisan — or least, Obama and Repub thinking.

    Taking away a coffee machine? What’s with that? Taking away means of keeping food cold and safe, then also taking away the means of warming food? What does that accomplish?

    I think I understand that they want teachers with extended illnesses to lose pay and maybe come back before they’re well enough to do so, and, perhaps, die. That will get rid of malingerers and former union members. Fits with the cut wages by 30% thinking.

    I’m sort of with Brendan — except in this job market they’d get some out of work teachers applying in a flash. And then they’d hire unqualified people to fill the classrooms and then say teachers aren’t doing a good enough job of education students.

    I remember back in the late 60’s (exact time eludes me) when my mother, a dyed in the wool Republican, was terribly torn about whether to vote for a union or not. What persuaded her was that she felt it was a good idea to have some men as teachers and, especially in elementary grades, there were hardly any. She felt men needed higher incomes to be able to support their families. Amazingly she did not apply that same thinking o herself, a widow raising two children!

    Anyway, she did vote for the union, and once she was in one she began to thing very favorably of them.

  7. Filthy monarchists opposed public education from the beginning. These traitorous fucks won’t be satisfied till America becomes a fifth world country. Punishment for daring to be free.

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