Letters to the Editor
Posted: Friday, March 11, 2011 8:01 pm
I would like to state my thoughts on what is happening in our state capitals – the attack on public employees. Whether you are pro-, anti- or indifferent about collective bargaining, there are a few things you need to be reminded of.
If you work for someone, you can thank collective bargaining for the eight-hour day, the five-day, 40-hour week, worker safety laws and workers’ compensation if you are injured on the job.
You can thank collective bargaining for paid holidays, family medical leave and meal and rest breaks.
You can thank collective bargaining for the racial, religious and sexual abuse prevention in the workplace laws.
There are a lot more things we all take for granted on the job too.
You enjoy all these things even if you never worked where collective bargaining existed. You think this was done because the boss or owner liked you? What if they didn’t? Or what would you have to do to keep that job?
Do you remember back two years ago when Wall Street executives shed tears because they were threatened with losing their bonuses? They said if they were forced to beg and crawl or take cuts in their pay, the best would leave.
The best and brightest would go and only the dregs and losers would be left. Well, wake up and smell the coffee!
Who do you think will become our cops, firemen, teachers and nurses? The person who will accept the least won’t be the best. Or do you want to bet your life on it? Or the life of your loved ones? Think about that when your kids and grandkids go off to school. Do you want to trust your children to people who are just going through the motions?
Call the police or the fire department and pray someone shows up who isn’t the only one they could get at that salary.
A human will work if they are respected and paid fairly. What these politicians are spewing is not respect. Ever seen a reporter or television pundit ask a politician if they would take a pay and benefit cut to help out in these tough times?
Well, don’t hold your breath. I don’t see any of these governors waving their arms and yelling they would be happy to take these cuts personally to help. What they’ll quietly do is some night vote themselves a raise – a big one.
Last November, the Republican Party seized control of Tennessee’s Legislature and the Governor’s Mansion. This is a historic opportunity. The Republican Party has the chance to make a real, positive change in our state.
But instead, they have launched an all-out, politically-motivated war on our teachers. None of the current bills before the General Assembly will foster student achievement.
Our elected officials want to strip teachers of their collective bargaining rights; even more absurd is the bill to allow anyone with a college degree to teach, removing the requirement for certification.
Our elected officials want nearly anyone, no matter what their qualifications, to teach, mentor, and mold our children. They seem to view education as a service, rather than as an investment. Our children are our future. Education is not the place for either party to exact political revenge on the other.
The solutions to our education problems are the same as they always have been – better funding, smaller classes, and recognizing that parents bear just as much responsibility for student achievement as teachers and students.
The short-sighted, downright embarrassing bills our elected officials are considering will not help our state. Rather, they will only ensure high-achieving young people such as myself flee Tennessee after college, looking elsewhere to raise and educate our own children.
Chance N. Finegan
The Tea Party state wide is supporting the Education Reform Bills now making their way through the state legislature.
It is not only a tax issue. Union negotiators in the private sector are normally dealing with professional managers who are held accountable by the board of directors to protect the companies well being.
School boards are not trained or equipped to deal with professional union negotiators effectively and the school boards are accountable to the tax payer only. Several teachers spoke at the Tea Party Rally in Nashville this past Saturday in favor of ending collective bargaining by the TEA.
One of the Teachers speaking was an older, very experienced lady and a dedicated teacher emphasizing that good, dedicated teachers didn’t need a union to protect their jobs and that in many cases the dedicated teachers were passed up for promotion by a lower performing teacher because of seniority.
Teachers are not able to belong to the TEA (Tennessee Education Association) without belonging to the NEA (National Education Association) as well.
The Tea Party has some rather serious problems with the NEA in particular. I would like for you to read the information on the following website.
There is simply more there that needs to be known than I have words available to me here. But put simply, the NEA it is an anti-Christian organization determined to remove all semblance of Christianity from our school system. (http://www.christianparents.com/jdewey.htm)
Barely over 50 percent of Tennessee’s teachers belong to the TEA and many reject it because their moral values are too high to tolerate being a member and providing funds to such an organization. Many other teachers would bail out on the TEA/NEA if they knew their agenda.
Tennessee 8th District Tea Party Coalition
I have a feeling of horror when I remember having seen elderly people who had lost their ability to be as they once were – normal with all of their faculties working as they went about their daily lives. The feeling of horror comes when I think that I might become like those people.
For that reason I try to keep busy doing the things that require my mind’s attention. It’s a rare moment when I’m not occupied with some activity that demands concentration – reading, crossword puzzles, writing letters to friends, calling various places for information of some kind to add to the knowledge I already had.
For instance, I’ve been concerned about the dropout rate in our high schools and I called the State Department of Education to get the last two years’ information to add to the previous three years. It would be interesting to learn the reasons why those students drop out of school when they have almost reached a goal they must have had at one time.
I have the graduation rates of the four high schools and the county for the years of 2006 through 2010. As I looked at those numbers, I wondered if anyone tried to encourage them to stay in school. Those students needed encouragement from parents and teachers to keep them in school.
Younger people rarely look toward the future when they encounter a problem that needs a solution. They need to become aware of what a better education could mean in the future. Everyone who has a part in their lives needs to try to make them see the value of an education that will enable them to become all that they are capable of becoming.
Failing to do that will be a loss to themselves as well as the communities in which they live.
The information below tells the story of how well the school system and students performed. The Non-Academic is not included.
Attendance and Promotion (percent)
2006 – Attendance: 96.1; Promotion rate: 97.1
2007 – Attendance: 94.5; Promotion rate: 97.5
2008 – Attendance: 95.4; Promotion rate: 97.9
2009 – Attendance: 95.7; Promotion rate: 97.5
2010 – Attendance: 95.4; Promotion rate: 98.0
State Goal – Attendance: 93.0; Promotion rate: 97.0
2006 – Attendance: 95.9; Graduation rate: 95.2
2007 – Attendance: 96.4; Graduation rate: 94.0
2008 – Attendance: 94.0; Graduation rate: 89.8
2009 – Attendance: 96.8; Graduation rate: 86.4
2010 – Attendance: 95.9; Graduation rate: 82.9
State Goal – Attendance: 93.0; Graduation rate: 90.0
Question: Why is there so much difference between the years of 2006 and 2010 in graduation percentages?
I also have the information for the different schools showing how well each one did in other areas such as the dropout rates.
It’s possible that some of those counted as dropout students moved away to other schools during the year.
Even if that is true, maybe there should be more effort made to keep students in school. I know that a good education will be the determining factor of the students’ earning power.