I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Monday, July 2, 2012

The New "Bargaining": Take This and Shut Up!

Roy Roberts invents a new definition for the term "collective bargaining":
DETROIT — The state-appointed emergency manager running the Detroit Public Schools imposed a contract Sunday on the district's teachers, the district has announced.
Roy Roberts is empowered by Michigan's emergency manager law to impose work terms on employees.
"This new collective bargaining agreement with our teachers provides the flexibility needed for our schools to be successful and to meet the educational needs of the children and families who come to us," Roberts said in a statement. "It also produces the savings necessary for the district to ultimately return to financial solvency and remove the debt that erodes financial resources reaching the classroom."
District spokesman Steven Wasko declined to reveal terms of the contract, saying Roberts wants the Detroit Federation Teachers to inform its members first.
Gosh, that's very thoughtful of him: he's letting the teachers hear what he is forcing them to take through "bargaining" before the rest of the public. What a guy.

It looks like these guys are just following the playbook that reformyists are using in the rest of the country:
The June 20th press conference at Detroit’s Renaissance High School offered many revelations and sweeping plans by Governor Rick Snyder, Emergency Manager Roy Roberts, Mike Flanagan, and private interests to completely overhaul the DPS and to go statewide in five years.  While having many exciting and even inspiring ideas and points of interest, the EAS plan itself uses the new PA4 law to create the state-run system, disenfranchise voters, sell public assets, abrogate contracts and privatize.  The plan may be successful in the five year time frame of raising test scores or increasing high school graduation and college acceptance rates, but at what cost to democracy?  How can any plan be considered successful if its foundation is based upon voter disenfranchisement and the complete violation of the right to democratically elect representatives?
It can't, but don't worry: it won't be successful in raising student achievement, either. Newark and Paterson - two cities that have a lot in common with Detroit - have disenfranchised their citizens for years, and it hasn't helped. Louisiana is disenfranchising its citizens through privatization, and it's not helping. Generalissimo Bloomberg has held the NYC schools in his iron fist for years, and it hasn't helped.

There is no correlation between student achievement and the loss of local control of schools. Because the people who inevitably take over have no idea what they are doing:
In the final moments of the Monday press conference Roy Roberts revealed a major flaw and the folly of attempting such a broad, sweeping, experimental takeover of publicly owned education when he was asked a simple and legitimate question from an audience member.  Such an undertaking is powerful and may have many far reaching and unintended negative consequences and legal challenges, which is why Roberts was asked  how the plan intends to get around the Headlee Amendment of  1978When asked this very important question as to how indeed the new, more powerful school system created under the new, more powerful law would get around our state’s constitution, Roy Roberts answered quickly and succinctly, “I don’t know.”   He didn’t know.
And yet he does somehow magically know what a fair wage for teachers should be, without any bargaining involved. Nice. Do he and Rahm Emanuel play golf together or something?

Oh, and of course, you know who has been stoking this fire:
At the press conference Snyder announced his initiative to remove more than three dozen of Detroit’s lowest performing schools and place them under the authority of a pilot school district, which will function as an independent entity.  Seeking to model the new system after Kalamazoo’s Promise program which offers a four year scholarship to qualifying students, Snyder told the press that a second initiative will be to raise funds and resources from businesses and  philanthropic entities and foundations such as the Eli Broad Foundation and Kellogg Foundation to provide funding for students to qualify for at least two years of college or training after graduation.  The takeover involves a partnership between Eastern Michigan University (EMU)and DPS and will have an 11 member authority to oversee its five year plan to go statewide.
Broadies, Broadies, everywhere. Eli Broad is a Michigan State alum and deeply involved with Michigan's educational system. The parallels to New Jersey are, frankly, a little creepy; about $400K is all it takes, apparently, to buy any state's school system.

How long, I wonder, before New Jersey "bargains" with Newark's teachers the way Michigan has "bargained" with Detroit's?

ADDING: Diane Ravitch has more about this nasty trend of disenfranchisement rearing its head in Chicago.

ADDING MORE: Jon Pelto shows how well state takeovers are working in Connecticut. It's a freaking epidemic.

1 comment:

G. Gales said...

I heard Steve Sweeney on Brian Lehrer (WNYC) giving support to B4K.