Monday, October 15, 2007

Seneca Valley, Nippersink, Lake Lehman Teachers On Strike!

Seneca Valley's on strike-- they didn't meet over the weekend to negotiate, either. More here.

Lake Lehman's on strike as well. More here. The school board President's union (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 16) has stepped back from the BOE prez, saying his views don't represent those of their union.

Nippersink is still on strike.

7 comments:

Dr. Zaius said...

HHMM... You forget to mention the part of the article where Balavage he calls the comments of the IBEW "a little erroneous" - when it comes to health care and pensions, it's considered part of his raise, "It's not free health care, he said. -- any increase in pension is also considered part of our raise." (Times-Leader)

Again, a different set of rules for teachers. You are crowned again.

All other unions making contracts with public money have to do it publicly under the "Sunshine Law" - oh, but not teachers unions they're special. That's why we have to go against the principals of supply and demand economics when they strike. Instead of being allowed to look elsewhere and hire new non-union teachers and create a fair deal for everyone, we have to mess up children's education by putting up with strike days.
At least the teachers are penalized with fines for standing their ground in a contract dispute ....oh wait, there is no penalty for them, nothing to lose. They're not like other unions. Crowned again.

It funny, because I'm not an anti-union guy. Unions were great for protecting workers, especially during the years of "King Coal" in PA. But when coal was no longer king, the benfits dried up, then the jobs. Nobody has free health care and taxpayers subsidized pensions outside of teachers and lawmakers anymore, it's just too expensive. I understand they don't want to give it up, but like "king coal" the taxpayer well is drying up, it's time to change like everyone else....oh wait I forgot, teachers are super-special. Crowned again.

Hey look a triple crown! But your not thoroughbreds of education, just jackasses manipulating an outdated system.

Your right, I'm a little angry. If someone robbed you of your cash at gunpoint, you would be frustrated too. If you want to fight for teachers contracts fine, fight fair. Don't tie the taxpayers hands behind their backs and then claim "unfair negotiations".

Anonymous said...

Did you just call teachers "jackasses?" Your way of expressing yourself shows your character. You do realize that teachers pay taxes too?

Dr. Zaius said...

Just not taxes and 7 to 15 % (National avg. for family health insurance)of their salary to health care. So if they are getting a 2% raise, it's really like, say a 12% raise with the health care.

Again, I'm not against paying teachers. Charter School Teachers (non-union) make more $, but those that pay them have a say and control. Poor teacher, poor results, no job. Good teacher, good results, I'll cough up the dough. If it wasn't for them and non-union teachers at religious schools to raise the bar, PA would rank #48 in the nation on SAT scores, instead of #45.

BTW, the #1 state in the nation for SAT's is Iowa -- pay scale rank for teachers #39. (according to American Federation of Teachers)
PA is #1 in teacher strikes, #9 in pay.
Why such bang for the buck in Iowa? Because teacher strikes are a misdemeanor $500 fine, up to 30 days in jail.

According to the U-S census Bureau in 2005 avg household income 45,671 -- in PA 45,941 so income really isn't a signifigant factor here.

Penalizing strikers or allowing for the hiring of non-union teachers evens the playing field in the negotiation process.

But some seem to think throwing more money at PA teachers will somehow improve the system, It doesn't make sense, how about making 44% less than Iowa teachers?

The jackasses are not the teachers, it would seem it's the union. Some teachers I know are simply unwilling accomplices after the fact.

Anonymous said...

Once again your math is just that your math. On one hand you mention the IBEW board member who says his health benefits are a part of his "raise" yet the teachers have accepted lower pay for the health benefits - isn't that the same thing? Also, are you including the cost of health care -- 7%- 15% of a 20,000 year with those high end incomes like 7% - 15% of a 200,000 pay?? You can say anthing you want - but you are comparing apples with oranges.
Maybe you should use all this energy to fight for health care for everyone. By the way do you realize that we are also paying for all those people who are getting special care and welfare benefits? The problem of health care is universal - teachers are fighting to keep something that many workers let go -- now you want teachers to make the same mistake. Once you give something up you can never get it back.
I find your blogs to be offensive -calling people j..a and your whole crowning theme. By the way I think you meant principles of supply and demand -- not principals!

Anonymous said...

I am the wife of a Lake Lehman teacher and my family is feeling the effects of the strike too. My husband does not get paid while on strike, nor did he vote to go on strike, nor does he feel this strike is going to change anythinig. NOTHING is happening as a result of the strike, with the exception of students losing valuable instruction and my family needing to take a loan to pay the bills.
Come on Holland.... get with it. This is not about YOU and how YOU look. So much for UNION and SOLIDARITY....many of the teachers did not want to strike in the first place. The membership of the union is not included in the decisions and choices. Get a dictionary and look up UNION and get a good person to head the union.

Pat said...

Dr. Zaius, I thought your post concerning the true differences in SAT scores between Pennsylvania and the rest of the country.

First and foremost, your argument that Charter School and other non-union teachers pick up the educational slack for their public counterparts in Pennsylvania is utterly ridiculous. Would SAT test scores probably drop? More than likely. But if you're removing the effects of charter school and non-union teachers in PA, wouldn't you have to do that for every other state in the United States to make the comparison significant? I mean, I love comparing apples to oranges, but I appreciate that they are wholly different fruits. Also, generally, with private school children, they are a carefully selected group of students that are generally smarter and better educated than their public school counterparts. This is not a result of the teaching at public schools, but more with the fact that there are some kids that just don't want to learn, but show up anyway.

A further example of your lack of comparative powers occurs in your comparison of Iowa to PA. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I have not actually looked at the full statistics and numbers for just PA and IA since I don't want to pay the College Board any money. However if you do one of those "Google" searches people are so fond of, you can find quickly many press releases (like this one http://www.stateline.org/live/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=136&languageId=1&contentId=14423)
which urges that people and journalists "not to try to use the scores to rank the states." The reason why is listed right below in the case of Mississippi and Connecticut. Now, I'm not ragging on MS, but I think a state that only has 4% of its students taking the SATs is not doing as good of a job educating their students as a state like CT which has 82% of their students taking the SATs. Yes MS has the higher average, but let's say that CT could essentially discourage students from taking the exam (which is known to happen as a comment on that link points out) so that only the top 4% of students took the SATs (again, I'm assuming that schools in both MS and CT would want their best students to take the test). I'm willing to bet you that CT would get the best of that exchange. Now, I don't know that Iowa actually does discourage its students from taking the test, but I'm willing to bet that's probably the case (I'd love for someone to prove me wrong on that). So you can see how it might be a little misleading to base teachers salaries off of test performance. Unless you could make every student sit down and take the SATs (which is known to have its problems, but that's a whole different story) then you might be able to compare the states and actually pay teachers according to their performance, but until that happens you might not want to use state SAT scores as an example.

Another thing your IA vs. PA comparison fails to take into account is cost of living. While there are people that love both states, it seems like PA is the more desirable place to live right now. Desirability makes things more expensive and increases the cost of living making the need for higher salaries necessary. This is actually feasible when there is a large population to pull from like in PA. Now, I'm sure that IA teachers would like to be paid more, but considering that there are not as many people in the state nor is it as expensive to live there, saying that PA teachers don't deserve their pay is ridiculous as they would not be able to teach in the states that they live. So, while you bring up the point of income in both states to seemingly resolve the fact that PA teachers don't deserve more pay, I think a more apt point would to bring up the average cost of living in both states as well as the number of students that each state has to deal with. In this case, PA is a more expensive place to live than IA (here's a website to play around with different locales http://www.bestplaces.net/col/?salary=100000&city1=19780&city2=37980) and more populous.

And how exactly does penalizing teachers with fines and using non-union teachers punish union teachers? So if a school board proposes an outlandishly underpaying contract that takes away benefits and other things that unions have wisely fought for and retained it's a smart idea to then punish the teachers for the school board's incompetence and arrogance by further taking their pay? If a school board then replaces all those teachers with non-union teachers at significantly lower pay and benefits, does the district honestly expect that it will attract the best of the up and coming teachers to their particular district? How can you say that you are for paying teachers when you advocate a system whose paradigm it is to reduce teacher pay at every possible step if they show the slightest umbrage at seeking to be paid an adequate and suitable amount.

Also, calling unions jackasses is just appalling. The reason I've been a little less than formal for this response is exactly for this particular line. Unions fight so that they can also share in the benefits and fruits of their product's value. If it weren't for unions, the United States would still be stuck in the Gilded Age of late 19th century where industrialists preyed upon helpless workers refusing to allot them anything that might detract from the wealth entrepreneurs might acquire. Now, I'm not saying that school boards are greedy fat cats looking to keep the quality of life for teachers just passable so that they can work, but school districts that can afford to pay teachers should, and unions need to recognize this and adjust their demands accordingly. In the case of Seneca Valley, it is not out of line for the teachers to ask for more than the school district has so far offered. Seneca Valley teachers have received less than their expected pay percentage every year except for one (2003) since 1992 (http://atlantis-webportfolios.com/svea/docs/SAVINGS.pdf). The school district has actually managed to save 29.49% of the total pay given over this time leaving the teachers to take it on the chin. They have done this in spite of the fact that the population of the school district has grown substantially over that same period of time. The fact is, the district can afford the pay raise and they are holding out because they refuse (like you) to compare apples to apples. They want to become competitive like the other better school districts around them such as North Allegheny, yet they refuse to actually pay for it. How exactly the Seneca Valley school board thinks that it is a good idea to make their entire pay-scale less competitive than their neighbors and expect to attract and keep quality teachers is ludicrous. While they may be giving substantial increases to mid-range teachers, it's the teachers at the top of the pay scale (the ones who are the best, who have been there the longest, are the most highly trained, and are the most loyal) who are being short-changed. The way that you are constructing your ideal school district, these are exactly the kind of teachers that you would want to keep. However, Seneca Valley is trying to hedge their bets and test those teachers loyalty by grossly under-paying them relative to their peers at other schools. It's time for Seneca Valley and other people around the country to wake up to the fact that in order to get the best, you need to be willing to pay for it. And it's time for you to actually use apt and correct comparisons.

Anonymous said...

I am a freshman at Lake Lehman and right now i'm trying to figure out if we have school tomorow on Nov. 8. (WHICH IS NOT POSTED ON THE WEBSITE...) I think the strike is entirely pointless. Holland needs physcological help. Our Christmas break is gone. The teachers get to use vacation days. Students don't. READ: STRIKING SHOULD BE ILLEGAL AND HOLLAND SHOULD BE IN A MENTAL INSTITUTION.

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