Thursday, March 03, 2011

Joe Williams on Wisconsin

Here's a letter Joe Williams sent out on this topic:


The problem confronting them is one that most of us who consider ourselves to be Democrats for Education Reform face: How do we keep the political focus on providing a quality education for all students at a time when some Republican leaders appear to be primarily salivating at the chance to whack a significant political opponent ?

Last week I was quoted in the NY Times explaining DFER's feelings regarding teachers unions and collective bargaining. In short: We believe that teacher unions have a crucial voice that should be heard in education debates, but they shouldn't be the only voice. We believe that big problems can (and should!) be solved through collective bargaining, but that someone needs to be in there representing public education when the bargaining takes place. We're fine with confrontation – in fact (like many union leaders have themselves told me) collective bargaining seems to work best when both sides show up with their A-games.

We're kind of creeped-out by some of what we are seeing and hearing these days in the Heartland, at least in terms of seriously rolling-back collective bargaining rights for workers. Reform?

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