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 What would you cut? 
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Phinfever Live!, Blog Writer
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Iowafin wrote:
Regardless of how bad a teacher's union is, the statement that "teacher's unions are a bigger hindrance to education than anything else" is just laughable.


Not as laughable as your concise, detailed, fact-filled counterpoint.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:52 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
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I have been teaching at a low performing school for 6 years now. Until you stand in a classroom and teach these kids, you cannot possibly fully understand what needs to be done to improve education.


I never claimed to. But I do see a huge root cause in the fact that teachers are afforded certain protections due to unions where they are not being judged by performance, but rather by things like tenure.

In any other line of work, not doing your job well gets you fired.

In teaching, it seems nothing happens. I've been taught by some pretty terrible public school teachers who have kept their jobs for decades.

That is one of the biggest gripes my friend, who is a public high school principal, has. He has been in the profession for 35 years and can't fire bad teachers because the unions have so much power.

Quote:
I simply don't believe the situation you laid out.


Don't believe it. Since when do I care whether you believe me or not? I see it and know it is true. I volunteer for the school and know all the teachers. It is a magnet school so it doesn't have a high population of students and teachers. I know substitutes that work at the school and get paid to do nothing basically. I also know teachers who treat the students like crap and get to keep their jobs because of union protection.

It is a fact a life and a huge problem with our public education.

I never dismissed other factors, I just think unionization has gone too far and the teachers union has too much power and are more interested in union dues than in educating children. And I didn't watch a movie to form this opinion. I used the real world.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:03 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
Iowafin wrote:
Regardless of how bad a teacher's union is, the statement that "teacher's unions are a bigger hindrance to education than anything else" is just laughable.


Not as laughable as your concise, detailed, fact-filled counterpoint.


It wasn't a counterpoint. Just a statement.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:44 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Iowafin wrote:
Rich wrote:
Iowafin wrote:
Regardless of how bad a teacher's union is, the statement that "teacher's unions are a bigger hindrance to education than anything else" is just laughable.


Not as laughable as your concise, detailed, fact-filled counterpoint.


It wasn't a counterpoint. Just a statement.


And a pretty worthless one at that...

Thank you for that, though.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:25 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
And a pretty worthless one at that...

Thank you for that, though.


I don't know why you're getting so hostile. You made a very similar comment to Phins Rock about the comparison of Palmer's players to Henne's. Just because I disagree with your opinion doesn't mean you can just say my comment is worthless. If it's so worthless, don't even bother replying to it.
:boo:

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:31 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Iowafin wrote:
If it's so worthless, don't even bother replying to it.
:boo:


How about if you have nothing of value to add to the conversation, don't add anything. :boo:

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:33 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
Iowafin wrote:
If it's so worthless, don't even bother replying to it.
:boo:


How about if you have nothing of value to add to the conversation, don't add anything. :boo:


The "conversation" is based on your opinion...
Yet mine is worthless. Your hypocrisy is mind numbing.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:48 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
There are actually people in this thread giving their opinions and backing them up with facts and things we've experienced. Whether we agree or not, we are actually put thought behind those opinions and sharing them.

Then there is one individual taking the opinions he does not agree with rather than outlining why he disagrees.

That individual brings ZERO value to the thread.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:52 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
There is a magical place without unions. It's called The Third World.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
The Bottlenose wrote:
There is a magical place without unions. It's called The Third World.


There is another place that had strong unions leading to great benefits for workers and a mountain of entitlements.

It's called Greece.

Now it has none of those things.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:13 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
There are actually people in this thread giving their opinions and backing them up with facts and things we've experienced. Whether we agree or not, we are actually put thought behind those opinions and sharing them.

Then there is one individual taking the opinions he does not agree with rather than outlining why he disagrees.

That individual brings ZERO value to the thread.


Ok, Rich.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:33 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
The Bottlenose wrote:
There is a magical place without unions. It's called The Third World.


There is another place that had strong unions leading to great benefits for workers and a mountain of entitlements.

It's called Greece.

Now it has none of those things.


I know, the right of workers to negotiate with their bosses is a real nuisance. Strange that so many people died to get it.

Watch how authorizing 35% wage cuts across the entire private sector only further tanks the Greek economy.

By the way, I love that we're talking about this at Phinfever. A nice break from all the Colin Kaepernick stories.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
The Bottlenose wrote:
I know, the right of workers to negotiate with their bosses is a real nuisance.


You're jumping into this thread as if someone is arguing for the total elimination of unions.

Find one place where that was said and get back to me.

What is being said is that unions have too much power. And that lack of balance leads to an imbalance in the economy.

Perfect example is the auto industry in Detroit.

It's dead. You have guys making $80,000 a year for pulling a lever and then retiring with a pension no one in any other part of the private sector even sniffs.

At what cost?

The auto industry is now moving to the South because there is no unionization there.

Additionally, a huge part of the reason so many jobs are going overseas is unions. You keep pushing for higher and higher wages in the domestic workforce and you get a more expensive products. So companies outsource because the fact is they are in business to make a profit.

Unions have overreached in many aspects and it has actually hurt the American worker.

Unions were fine when workers were being exploited and children were being put in jobs with unsafe working conditions and not getting fair pay and benefits.

That isn't the case today and the role of unions in the American economy needs to change to fit the times.

Right now all they are doing is amassing money and power and quite frankly not really caring about their actual members.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
C/o Terry Moe, a professor of political science at Stanford and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution

Quote:
We're not saying that unions are responsible for every problem of the public schools, but they are major obstacles to reform. An obvious example: the teachers' unions have fought for protections in contracts and in state laws that make it virtually impossible to get bad teachers out of the classroom. On average it takes two years, $200,000 and 15 percent of the principal's time to get one bad teacher out of the classroom. As a result, principals don't even try. They give 99 percent of teachers satisfactory evaluations. The bad teachers just stay in the classroom. The unions are also responsible for seniority rules that often require districts to lay off junior people before senior people. It's happening all around the country now. And some of these junior people are the best teachers in the district, and some of the senior people being saved are the worst. Would anyone in his right mind organize schools this way if all they cared about was what's best for kids?

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:43 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
The Bottlenose wrote:
I know, the right of workers to negotiate with their bosses is a real nuisance.


You're jumping into this thread as if someone is arguing for the total elimination of unions.

Find one place where that was said and get back to me.

What is being said is that unions have too much power. And that lack of balance leads to an imbalance in the economy.

Perfect example is the auto industry in Detroit.

It's dead. You have guys making $80,000 a year for pulling a lever and then retiring with a pension no one in any other part of the private sector even sniffs.

At what cost?

The auto industry is now moving to the South because there is no unionization there.

Additionally, a huge part of the reason so many jobs are going overseas is unions. You keep pushing for higher and higher wages in the domestic workforce and you get a more expensive products. So companies outsource because the fact is they are in business to make a profit.

Unions have overreached in many aspects and it has actually hurt the American worker.

Unions were fine when workers were being exploited and children were being put in jobs with unsafe working conditions and not getting fair pay and benefits.

That isn't the case today and the role of unions in the American economy needs to change to fit the times.

Right now all they are doing is amassing money and power and quite frankly not really caring about their actual members.


I'm confused, if they don't care about their members then why is a guy making $80,000 and a good retirement for pulling a lever?

There's some validity to almost everything you've said, but the "Unions don't care about their members" card is a classic. It has been whispered to every union member since the dawn of organized labor.

And did I say you were in favor of getting rid of unions completely? A lot of assumptions flying around. I'm just saying the right of workers to discuss wages etc with management is unique to the civilized world, and part of our economic reality.

Just feel like throwing that out there when I reach my quota of "unions are the problem" chatter.

Respectfully,

The Bottlenose

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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
I've been taught by some pretty terrible public school teachers who have kept their jobs for decades.


So have I. Yet here we are as successful intelligent adults.

How did this happen?

(This is not rhetorical... I would appreciate your thoughtful answer.)

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Post Re: What would you cut?
1984phins wrote:
So have I. Yet here we are as successful intelligent adults.

How did this happen?


I was lucky enough to be born with artistic and musical talents and be eligible for a magnet school.

I also learn well on my own or with little direction.

Unfortunately, not every child can.

But this is besides the point. Why are these terrible teachers allowed to keep their jobs? Possibly the most important jobs in our society.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
Why are these terrible teachers allowed to keep their jobs? Possibly the most important jobs in our society.

There's the problem, not the unions...how does one decide what makes a terrible teacher? Everybody learns differently.
You can't just go around firing people without having tangible evidence that their firing was for the better.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:33 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Iowafin wrote:
Rich wrote:
Why are these terrible teachers allowed to keep their jobs? Possibly the most important jobs in our society.

There's the problem, not the unions...how does one decide what makes a terrible teacher? Everybody learns differently.
You can't just go around firing people without having tangible evidence that their firing was for the better.


Nor should your evaluation of someone's job be based solely on how long they have been doing it.


Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:38 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
degs wrote:
Iowafin wrote:
Rich wrote:
Why are these terrible teachers allowed to keep their jobs? Possibly the most important jobs in our society.

There's the problem, not the unions...how does one decide what makes a terrible teacher? Everybody learns differently.
You can't just go around firing people without having tangible evidence that their firing was for the better.


Nor should your evaluation of someone's job be based solely on how long they have been doing it.


I would agree with that.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:42 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
1984phins wrote:
So have I. Yet here we are as successful intelligent adults.

How did this happen?


I was lucky enough to be born with artistic and musical talents and be eligible for a magnet school.

I also learn well on my own or with little direction.

Unfortunately, not every child can.

But this is besides the point. Why are these terrible teachers allowed to keep their jobs? Possibly the most important jobs in our society.



First of all, thank you for responding, but this is not besides the point at all. I'm going to use your response as a basis for what I view as the major issues facing education in America today.

Why do we have students who drop out of high school, or graduate high school being functionally illiterate, or are unable to do age appropriate math? There are many factors, but teacher unions wouldn't even rank in the top five.

I will grant you one of your points right away. Bad teachers keeping their jobs. Hey, nothing pisses me off more than to see someone coast by while I do everything I can to help my students. They should be fired. But they don't matter in the way you think. Let's grant the premise that 10% of teachers are bad. Why do some students who get these bad teachers succeed anyway? They have what I would call a solid educational foundation.

This foundation has certain key factors.

Intrinsic motivation. The student has to want to succeed. They have to want to learn. Hey, not many us really liked school, but we kept going. My last hour class has an absentee rate EVERYDAY of about 20-25%. The only unknown for me is who exactly will comprise of that. You put a motivated student in our school system and we as teachers will get the job done.

Good parents. I've read so many studies over the years that you will excuse me for not quoting exactly, but a child who is read to when he is young is overwhelmingly more likely to excel in school over a child who wasn't. How many of us would have been scared to bring home a report card that had a bad grade on it? If parents don't guide their children and force them to do well in school, then what in the world are we supposed to do? Sure, we might be able to get through to a select few (and frankly that off chance is what motivates us everyday) but we can't do it in enough numbers to make a difference.

Home environment. Divorce... Abuse...Frequent address changes...Single parents...No parents... It is heartbreaking to know some of their backgrounds. It is not surprising, but often a child with such a disadvantage can't focus in school. Or you will have this problem: they will try in your class, but once they get home, all bets are off. They can't do homework, study, or anything else that is required of them to truly understand important concepts. Too many students on campus show up everyday, but don't lift a finger in any class. Why? It gets them away from home and they get a free meal. This transitions to their economic background. It matters. If it was just teachers, then we shouldn't see a difference between rich and poor zip codes. But we do and the contrast is stark.

To round out my top five, I would add learning disabilities and ELL status (aka is English is their second language. One problem here is that sometimes these students weren't even properly taught or are fluent in their original language).

-----
:pumpiron:
Students need to have that foundation. Without one of those ingredients listed.... They can still do it. But without two or all three? You can fire any teacher you want and it won't make a difference.

There is more to say, but I'm frankly too tired to keep going.

Goodnight.

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Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:00 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Ps I have no idea why the smiley is lifting a weight in my post..

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Post Re: What would you cut?
1984phins wrote:
Hey, nothing pisses me off more than to see someone coast by while I do everything I can to help my students. They should be fired.


I'll be honest, I didn't read your whole post...but before I head off to bed tonight I wanted to make the point that every job field has its idiots....is it fair? No, but incompetent people end up getting good jobs every day...maybe it's just we don't have enough competency to fill every position.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
1984phins wrote:
Ps I have no idea why the smiley is lifting a weight in my post..


They outsourced the smiley creation due to high labor costs.

:war:

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Post Re: What would you cut?
Iowafin wrote:
[here's the problem, not the unions...


That is what principals are for. To be the manager of a particular school. But when a manager has to go through so much to get rid of an employee that is consistently underperforming, that manager is powerless. That goes back to the clout of unions.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
The Bottlenose wrote:
I'm confused, if they don't care about their members then why is a guy making $80,000 and a good retirement for pulling a lever?


Simple economics to counter a simplistic question.

The unions ultimately care about power and more union dues. Unions raise the wages of their members at the cost of lower profits and fewer jobs, that lower profits cause businesses to invest less.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
1984phins wrote:
but teacher unions wouldn't even rank in the top five.


America has the strongest teachers union in the world, the NEA. The NEA is front and center opposing virtually every education reform proposal out there, especially those that involve the evaluation of teachers. Their solution to everything is more teachers, more pay, which equals more union dues. The NEA rakes in $300,000,000 in dues every year and last I checked, not a single student is a member, therefore not represented.

Sure there are other factors, but do you really believe the United States is the only place where these factors exist? Do you think we are the only country with divorce and kids with ADD? These factors exist elsewhere yet those countries outperform us.

The uncommon denominator is powerful teachers unions.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
The Bottlenose wrote:
I'm confused, if they don't care about their members then why is a guy making $80,000 and a good retirement for pulling a lever?


Simple economics to counter a simplistic question.

The unions ultimately care about power and more union dues. Unions raise the wages of their members at the cost of lower profits and fewer jobs, that lower profits cause businesses to invest less.


So Unions simultaneously "don't care about their members" and "raise the wages of their members". Great point. And by "great" I of course mean "completely contradictory".

Not as "simple" as you're making it out to be, Rich.

Respectfully.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
Rich wrote:
Iowafin wrote:
[here's the problem, not the unions...


That is what principals are for. To be the manager of a particular school.


Like Bottlenose said...it's not that simple. You have to have grounds for firing. In a field like teaching, there isn't much tangible evidence of a person's teaching skill.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
See the Rubber Room in NYC and get back to me on why there shouldn't be extreme teacher union reform.

Or this gem of a story.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articl ... olunteers/


Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:06 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Iowafin wrote:
Rich wrote:
Iowafin wrote:
[here's the problem, not the unions...


That is what principals are for. To be the manager of a particular school.


Like Bottlenose said...it's not that simple. You have to have grounds for firing. In a field like teaching, there isn't much tangible evidence of a person's teaching skill.



Its not necessarily just the ability to fire someone. Its unions refusing to allow adjustments in pay, benefits, retirement, etc. Their argument and approach to things is tiring. When you choose to become a teacher you go into the profession realizing it brings with it a modest income. When states and municipalities are going bankrupt and taxpayers are forced to adjust their own lives why can't public sector unions tighten their own belts and change with the times?

Also, why is a federal dept of education needed when states already have them? Are the state depts incapable of doing the job on their own? And if there is to be uniformity and a standardizing of education across the country, then what is the point of a state education dept? So really, can't their be some major cuts?


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Post Re: What would you cut?
The Bottlenose wrote:
So Unions simultaneously "don't care about their members" and "raise the wages of their members". Great point. And by "great" I of course mean "completely contradictory".

Not as "simple" as you're making it out to be, Rich.

Respectfully.


Actually yeah it is a great point. Raising wages to meet the rising cost of union dues nets the worker nothing. Only raises his/her tax bracket and limits their ability to keep up with the inflation their growing salaries are causing. Not contradictory at all but rather spot on.


Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:20 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
jammer wrote:
The Bottlenose wrote:
So Unions simultaneously "don't care about their members" and "raise the wages of their members". Great point. And by "great" I of course mean "completely contradictory".

Not as "simple" as you're making it out to be, Rich.

Respectfully.


Actually yeah it is a great point. Raising wages to meet the rising cost of union dues nets the worker nothing. Only raises his/her tax bracket and limits their ability to keep up with the inflation their growing salaries are causing. Not contradictory at all but rather spot on.


In your mind Unions are "Raising wages to meet the rising cost of union dues". You have completely redefined one of the chief purposes of a union, which is to raise wages for its members.

Strangely the members of my union have yet to demand smaller paychecks from our leaders. They have yet to understand the horrific journey into higher tax brackets that is plaguing so many wealthier Americans.

No doubt, it's complicated. But please understand that when a union succeeds at improving wages/benefits for its members, it has done its job. To paint that as some sort of sinister, dues-raising plot is missing the point.

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Post Re: What would you cut?
The Bottlenose wrote:
jammer wrote:
The Bottlenose wrote:
So Unions simultaneously "don't care about their members" and "raise the wages of their members". Great point. And by "great" I of course mean "completely contradictory".

Not as "simple" as you're making it out to be, Rich.

Respectfully.


Actually yeah it is a great point. Raising wages to meet the rising cost of union dues nets the worker nothing. Only raises his/her tax bracket and limits their ability to keep up with the inflation their growing salaries are causing. Not contradictory at all but rather spot on.


In your mind Unions are "Raising wages to meet the rising cost of union dues". You have completely redefined one of the chief purposes of a union, which is to raise wages for its members.

Strangely the members of my union have yet to demand smaller paychecks from our leaders. They have yet to understand the horrific journey into higher tax brackets that is plaguing so many wealthier Americans.

No doubt, it's complicated. But please understand that when a union succeeds at improving wages/benefits for its members, it has done its job. To paint that as some sort of sinister, dues-raising plot is missing the point.


Lets not make this a generalization which unfortunately I did. But you can't tell me that some unions, when successfully getting wage raises for members, aren't going to simultaneously adjust their costs and their take (meaning guys working strictly for the union). It can be a very dirty business. And when it comes to the public sector the tax payer gets the shaft if corruption exists. And yes, the two examples I previously provided show why some people are fed up with certain unions.

I was once in a union while working through high school and early college and was disgusted by some of the stuff I saw. My dues were used to help guys I knew guilty of crimes as they lied their way out of getting fired. My dues went up every year beyond pay increases so please don't say "in my mind" as I've personally experienced it.

I'm now self employed and wouldn't trade it for the world. I am compensated for how much effort I put into my work. I wish it could be the same for all industries but its not the way the world works.


Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:30 pm
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The Bottlenose
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Post Re: What would you cut?
[/quote]
Lets not make this a generalization which unfortunately I did. But you can't tell me that some unions, when successfully getting wage raises for members, aren't going to simultaneously adjust their costs and their take (meaning guys working strictly for the union). It can be a very dirty business. And when it comes to the public sector the tax payer gets the shaft if corruption exists. And yes, the two examples I previously provided show why some people are fed up with certain unions.

I was once in a union while working through high school and early college and was disgusted by some of the stuff I saw. My dues were used to help guys I knew guilty of crimes as they lied their way out of getting fired. My dues went up every year beyond pay increases so please don't say "in my mind" as I've personally experienced it.

I'm now self employed and wouldn't trade it for the world. I am compensated for how much effort I put into my work. I wish it could be the same for all industries but its not the way the world works.[/quote]

How 'bout this? I agree that it can be a dirty business, and you agree that when a union negotiates raises for its members it hasn't necessarily failed. Then we both agree there's nothing simple about it, and we can be friends again.

Go Writers Guild of America, and GO DOLPHINS!

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Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:02 am
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Post Re: What would you cut?
The Bottlenose wrote:
How 'bout this? I agree that it can be a dirty business, and you agree that when a union negotiates raises for its members it hasn't necessarily failed. Then we both agree there's nothing simple about it, and we can be friends again.

Go Writers Guild of America, and GO DOLPHINS!


Agreed. Don't know your union at all so I won't comment on it. But the unions I've dealt with in several fields have all been big problems. Maybe its a Massachusetts thing.


Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:06 am
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The Bottlenose
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Post Re: What would you cut?
jammer wrote:
The Bottlenose wrote:
How 'bout this? I agree that it can be a dirty business, and you agree that when a union negotiates raises for its members it hasn't necessarily failed. Then we both agree there's nothing simple about it, and we can be friends again.

Go Writers Guild of America, and GO DOLPHINS!


Agreed. Don't know your union at all so I won't comment on it. But the unions I've dealt with in several fields have all been big problems. Maybe its a Massachusetts thing.



THE BIG DIG!

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Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:39 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Frankly I'm proud of our country for supporting the needy. Im not for leaving people on these programs indefinitely, and I do think they need to be retooled and streamlined, but it is good that we take care of our poor. I'd actually like to see an increase in welfare spending for helping the poor to educate themselves for better jobs. We'd get them off the system, educate our workforce, and give people a chance to pull themselves out of poverty and do something with their lives.

In a perfect world yes, but it will never happen. You can always donate your hard eraned money for the poor. Not me, my first apt. cost me $530 a month while my neighbor paid 2 dollars or something around there. I went to work cleaning the bottoms of boats in dirty butt marinas while this guy drank coffe when I left and he was drinking beer when I got home.


Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:25 pm
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The Bottlenose
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Makchell wrote:
Frankly I'm proud of our country for supporting the needy. Im not for leaving people on these programs indefinitely, and I do think they need to be retooled and streamlined, but it is good that we take care of our poor. I'd actually like to see an increase in welfare spending for helping the poor to educate themselves for better jobs. We'd get them off the system, educate our workforce, and give people a chance to pull themselves out of poverty and do something with their lives.

In a perfect world yes, but it will never happen. You can always donate your hard eraned money for the poor. Not me, my first apt. cost me $530 a month while my neighbor paid 2 dollars or something around there. I went to work cleaning the bottoms of boats in dirty butt marinas while this guy drank coffe when I left and he was drinking beer when I got home.


I hope he had a few cold ones waiting for you!

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Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:15 pm
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Post Re: What would you cut?
Quote:
The movie asserts a central thesis in today’s school reform discussion: the idea that teachers are the most important factor determining student achievement. But this proposition is false. Hanushek has released studies showing that teacher quality accounts for about 7.5–10 percent of student test score gains. Several other high-quality analyses echo this finding, and while estimates vary a bit, there is a relative consensus: teachers statistically account for around 10–20 percent of achievement outcomes. Teachers are the most important factor within schools.

But the same body of research shows that nonschool factors matter even more than teachers. According to University of Washington economist Dan Goldhaber, about 60 percent of achievement is explained by nonschool factors, such as family income. So while teachers are the most important factor within schools, their effects pale in comparison with those of students’ backgrounds, families, and other factors beyond the control of schools and teachers. Teachers can have a profound effect on students, but it would be foolish to believe that teachers alone can undo the damage caused by poverty and its associated burdens.


http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archive ... ls/?page=2

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Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:45 pm
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