Wednesday, June 28, 2006

This didn't have to happen

It is truly sad, that the Kenosha kids took a back seat to the teacher's union. Last night, a group of 100 music program supporters were at the school board meeting, trying to convince school board members not to cut private lessons and music teachers. Reported by the Kenosha News.

I agree with those students and music teachers. As one young student said-

“Music isn’t just notes on a page,” Bullen Middle School student Talia Nepper told the board members. “It’s our passion.”

Many children, climb out of bed in the morning, excited to go to school- because of music. If music is what drives these kids to learn and study- it is the responsibility of the community to encourage this learning. Kenosha's best and brightest musicians have had some of their private lessons with their music teachers, cut out of the budget.


This did not have to happen. Each and every one of these kids have paid the price for the selfishness and arrogance of the teacher's union. The teachers could have canned the expensive WEAC insurance and saved themselves and the school district at least $6.7 million a year. Instead the teachers arrogantly voted against their own students and against their own community, to protect the WEAC insurance program.

The extra $6.7 million would have saved the music programs that are being cut. It would have saved the 35+ jobs that are being cut.

They could have saved all of these programs, if they had just used their heads, instead of tripping along following with what WEAC was telling them to do. Shame on the teachers.

The board tried to avoid such cuts by pushing employees to opt for a cheaper health insurance option. Some employees did, but the district’s largest group of employees, its teachers, stuck with the more expensive plan.

Had the teachers chosen to change insurance, according to Bill Johnston, Unified finance director, no cuts to any staff would be necessary.

I got a question- where were all of the English and Math teachers last night? Where was WEAC? Why are they not out there fighting for the school's music programs?

I would venture a guess that most of the music teachers were aware that the music program would suffer a big hit, if the new insurance proposal failed. Perhaps most of the music teachers did vote for the new insurance, but they are greatly outnumbered. The new insurance proposal failed to overcome the pressure that WEAC was putting on the teachers.

Clearly, none of the core educational programs, like english and math, were going to be cut. So where were the rest of the teachers who voted for the WEAC insurance at last night?

The community, the Kenosha News and community leaders begged and pleaded with the teachers to vote for the new insurance program.

Now, as was predicted, Kenosha kid's are the ones to suffer.


realdebate said...

I feel for those kids, I was them. Music was my passion. Still is, I just made the choice to make my living another way.

Greedy teachers.

(Racine's are worse though)

BBG said...

just more proof it's all about the teachers UNION. There are great teachers. the sad part is they LET the union speak for them.

Time for all those conservative (and they are out there) teachers to take a stand and let ppl know for them it's about the kids and to h*ll with the greedy union.

jeff said...

Since you feel so strongly about the necessity for the cutting of the 1/2 hour music lessons for 6th graders and think they should be kept and we know the teachers wont change their minds about the insurance, what is your suggestion about coming up with 500,000 needed to reinstate the program?

Shall we do like Racine and pass a 1 time increase in the school levy? Or where in the budget can we cut to find the money?

K. Carpenter said...

Jeff- I think that the teachers and the union should pay for the music program.

Here is how I would carry out this plan. Since we have 1326 teachers, and you need $500,000 we should dock the pay from the school teachers.

Now before everyone gets up in arms, this would cost less than $8 per week per teacher. Still $8 a week can add up, instead take the money out of their union dues. The teachers pay more than $8 a week to the union, so the union will still get some money and still keep the music programs open for the kids.

WEAC keeps telling us how much they care about the kids, it's time for them to put their money where their mouth is.

We all know that $500,000 is a drop in the bucket for WEAC. They will spend that much a week in advertising to get Doyle re-elected.

After all, it is WEAC's job to protect the teachers that have been laid off and protect the students that are in Wisconsin. Protecting Jim Doyle's job is secondary.

Jim Smith said...

While I agree with you, I do need to point something out ... the blanket term "teachers" does not apply to whom you think it does anymore. I am a teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools, and I consistently vote against the liberal agenda of the Teacher's Union every time. Here is how things go in the Milwaukee teacher's union: the union takes a position, then they ask the building representatives (teachers chosen by their peers in the same school to represent them at union meetings) to speak for their school mats and ratify it. I spent the last year as one of our three building reps, and I was the lone dissenting vote in some cases. In my building, there are 70 teachers. Of those 70, there are about a dozen or so rabid liberals, but there are about a half a dozen conservatives of varying levels of outspokenness. The rest are uninvolved and could go either way, but from what I can see in most buildings, the ratio of liberals to conservatives is about 2 to 1. Please consider in the future, when referring to "teachers" adding a disclaimer that you are not trying to indict the thirtysome odd percent of us who are trying to make a change.

K. Carpenter said...

Jim- I agree with you 100%. There are many, many great conservative teachers. We have several conservative teachers that post their thoughts on this website.

I should add the disclaimer as you suggest. I will work on that.

In the meantime, it is great to hear that you have stood up for what you believe in and fought the liberal agenda. That takes alot of courage to defy WEAC. Keep up the good work. MPS needs more teachers like you who are willing to put the kids first, and the union second. Thank you.

jeff said...

Please be serious. You and I both know that the money is not going to come from the teachers. I know it makes great rhetoric to say so, but I'm looking for real world solutions here.

While I agree WEAC/KEA cause a lot of problems, they are also doing what they were created for--protecting their members' interests. Despite their rhetoric about 'creating great schools', the purpose of any union is to look out for its members.

So, what is your real world solution to my question?

Bob from Salem said...

My dad taught music in the Kenosha Unified Schools for about 34 years.

What a sad day this is for Kenosha schools. Teacher benefits wins out over the music students.

jeff said...

I agree with Bob that it is sad about the cut in 1/2 hour music lessons for 6th graders in the middle of the academic day. The real shame is, however, that the funds exist in the Reserve Fund to pay for the program. The real shame is that the District has more pressing problems than the 1/2 hour music lessons being cut to deal with---low test scores, de facto segregation of most elementary schools, and truancy.

Anonymous said...

I thought under the law that Tommy T passed that any money saved by the teachers for insurance changes gets passed on to them in the form of salary...if that is true what does any of this matter