This blog originally founded by Blogger who holds a theological degree and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Taught Psychology for 32 years and is now Professor Emeritus. Is a board-certified psychologist and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in his profession. Ministered as a chaplain, and pastored Baptist and Episcopal churches. Publications cover the integration of psychology and theology. Served in the Army, the Merchant Marines and the Peace Corps.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Teachers? We like.....Teachers unions? Not so much....
Like probably the majority of conservatives, I am a fan of GOOD teachers - of which there are many. I don't necessarily agree that they are, as a group, underpaid. Nor do I think they should have near immunity from being fired for anything short of criminal offenses! But, I do think that they are, as a group, a hard working and dedicated bunch who deserve respect and support for their willingness to do an increasingly more difficult job.
Teachers Unions? Another matter entirely.
In North Carolina the teachers "union" is, in fact, a lobbying organization. They aren't engaged in what we would normally call "collective bargaining", but instead, they are engaged in political lobbying as their tool of choice for advancing their interests. As a lobbying group, they are a tremendous influence in state and local elections - almost always supporting the Democrat candidates. At the local level it is usually all but impossible to get elected to a seat on the school board over the opposition of the teachers union! Thus, we essentially have a situation where the teachers influence the selection of school board members and NCEA lobbying efforts oppose any political figure who doesn't support increasing school funding, teacher salaries and benefits, etc. Again, they don't function so much as a union as they do a political lobby.
Among the legislation passed this year by the state legislature was a bill to eliminate dues witholding for the NCEA. The argument is that, as a lobbying organization, the NCEA should not be funded (nor subsidized) by taxpayers - that the collection of dues by the state and the remittance of those dues to the NCEA is, in fact, utilizing state resources to underwrite part of the costs of a political lobby!
Governor Perdue vetoed this legislation but, in a special session this week, the NC House overrode her veto (which had been overturned by the Senate earlier this year) and the NCEA will no longer have their dues withheld by the state for them, but must collect them on their own. This will place a financial burden on the NCEA and part of me is pleased at any diminishing of their power.
I have, however, mixed feelings about this. I could accept the argument that it's subsidizing a political lobby, IF it weren't for the fact that other state employee organizations who are also lobbying for their members, didn't have their dues withholding eliminated! No, it seems to me that this is entirely focused against the teachers unions as payback for their vociferous support of liberal Democrats and, as much as I disagree with most of what the NCEA stands for, I have come to the conclusion that penalizing that organization in this manner is petty, purely political and not worthy of this Republican legislature! I would feel differently if all the state organizations were treated the same way - but the singling out of this one group doesn't seem quite fair to me.
OK...let the flames begin!