Apr 3, 2011

Bad Lesson Plan

This blog has been critical of both the school superintendent and the school board. I have even mentioned the board leadership, but not by name. Although an elected office, I can think of no more of a thankless job than school board member. I'm sorry to report that someone has attacked a local business over the school district dilemma. Jeff Glazier is president of the school board, and fourth generation operator of Glazier Furniture. The store is still located on Hamilton, near 2nd Street. When it started in 1916, this was the busy hub of Allentown merchandizing. Throughout the years and generations, the family has stayed faithful to Allentown, and certainly doesn't deserve this abuse. Another member of the board works for the Lehigh Valley Health Network, would they boycott the hospital? It is my hope that whoever put up the signs, realizes that it wasn't his best lesson plan.


gary ledebur said...

The issues today of taxes, spending and budget cuts are serious business and not to be dealt with as sport. The superintendent of schools of Philadelphia has just been assigned additional security due to threats on her life due to budget cuts. It is time to end the politics of personal attacks. Do we need a dead superintendent of schools before we realize this is not how mature adults should deal with political problems.

Patrick McHenry said...

MM -

I struggle with the question of where I stand on teachers and their union on almost a daily basis.

On one hand, I appreciate all the good teachers that I know now or have known throughout my life. When I talk to them privately, they will often tell me how much they disagree with the union tactics and many of the union stances.

At the same time, they seem to continue to vote for the same type of leadership time-and-time again. I like to believe that the teachers are somehow different than members of other unions, then I see the thuggish behavior such as what you write about in your post. Or what we saw in Wisconsin.

So while I'd like to think that the teachers I know are evidence that teachers are different from members of other unions, the facts are making that increasingly difficult to rationalize. Just like other unions, they oppose payment based on merit; they protect their members on the basis of seniority and not performance; and they seem to have little concern for how their demands will affect the taxpayers.

Given their behavior, why should I not believe that they have used class size merely to pad their employment rolls like other unions?

I hope that enough of them realize that the tactics of their union and actions such as you write about are hurting them in the long run.

I'd love to see the teacher's union speak out against the Glazier boycott. Absent that, I'd love to see the teachers rise up and take control of their union. Until that happens, my opinion of them will continue to deteriorate.

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD Teacher here.

There is NO place for this kind of behavior from ANY union.

For those who were not aware, the Allentown Education association negotiated a deal about 20 years ago that essentially FORCED every teacher to join. Every teacher has about 92% of full dues deducted whether they like it or not. I resent that strategy to this day.

Patrick McHenry, yes, rank and file teachers ARE different.

A couple of weeks ago, the AEA decided its members will also join the AFL-CIO. Perhaps this has something to do with the latest misguided action. Possibly, this was done by someone else to make teachers look bad. Who knows?

Anonymous said...

Patrick McHenry: I share your concern. I am not a member of a teacher union. Over the last several decades I have had to battle with teacher unions quite often. Yes, they will try to protect the interests of teachers first and foremost. That is what unions do. Many fear merit pay because it has been abused in the past and could be in the future. At this time with massive layoffs, teachers will defend themselves. I think we all would faced with the loss of our jobs. Before teachers had collective bargaining rights they were very poorly paid and hired and promoted based on politics and who they knew. Act 195 was a good act. During this time of fiscal crisis facing public education everyone, teachers, board members and citizens must support children. They are our future.

gary ledebur said...

the post above was from me. ....hit wrong button. ......you know how I hate cowardly anonymous posts!

michael molovinsky said...

i titled my post Bad Lesson Plan which suggests the signs were placed by a teacher..in reality i have no idea who put them up

Wise Man West End said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
michael molovinsky said...

wise man west end; i have deleted your comment with some hesitation. since you agree that this boycott action crosses the line, please understand that your other impression is unnecessary.

Patrick McHenry said...

Retired ASD Teacher -

Thanks for the perspective. I also hope the teachers and their union wasn't responsible for this.

But you raise a few of the points that trouble me.

How does a majority of teachers let the union run them, and not the other way around? How does a majority of teachers think that formalizing their relationship with the AFL-CIO help the way they are viewed by the public?

Wise Man from the West End said...

Dear Mr. Molovinsky, I do NOT believe that this action crosses a line. I do believe it goes up to the line. No "damage" was done to the property. What would be the difference if someone posted Boycott Glaziers on a blog?

I have never been to your blog until this weekend when I searched out interest items regarding the board from Thursday evening. It would seem to me that you are willing to give Mr. Glazier a pass because he is another old-time city resident who has been here for years. I am not willing to give him such a pass. His conduct, and I must stress his conduct alone among the 9, was deplorable.

I do not know Mr. Glazier at all, but I think a few flyers is not a crisis. I will wait to watch and see if another comment of mine is deleted. If so, that's fine, I will simply un-bookmark this blog.

michael molovinsky said...

wise man, i felt the language of your first comment was unduly provocative toward glazier, it has nothing to do with him being another old timer. apparently, his demeanor that evening rubbed you the wrong way, but i think it's irrelevant to the school board decision, especially since the vote was unanimous. i disagree strongly about where you placed the line. although you're correct that no damage was done to the building, he is being singled out.

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD Teacher here.

Patrick McHenry,

Why are the teachers taking over?
Consider this.

There is a VERY limited funding source to create a brand new organization. The new organization would be unable to offer free legal support to its members in matters of liability defense,etc.

The parent group, NEA, is an albatross with funds that would crush any competing group.

Finally, leadership in any new group would have to come from current classroom teachers. Take out any teachers in their first 3 years, any teachers in their final 5 years, etc. and the pool is limited. Most classroom teachers are quite busy during their "off" hours on classroom matters to have much ability and desire to take on such a large task outside of school obligations.

Current leadership probably assumed the AFL-CIO thing would immediately bring in the support of MANY local residents. Not so. That is a foolish assumption in our current anti-union environment.
The Wisconsin display sure didn't help either.

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

Readers -

In my haste to post, my very first sentence is incorrect! Should have read:

Why are teachers NOT taking over?

See what happens when one does things too quickly?

(hint to Zahorchak)

Patrick McHenry said...

"Wise" Man -

The action DOES cross the line. It is meant to intimidate and bully based on Glazier's vote. It is meant to intimidate others on the board, future candidates, and anyone else who may not toe the union line.

No matter what you think of the meeting - or Glazier's behavior at that meeting - it ends at the meeting. Or the next election. Attacking someone's livelihood because of a vote made in an unpaid position is OVER the line.

And if the union or union members are behind it, they are truly biting the hand that has fed them. Glazier has helped push through numerous tax hikes and pay raises during his time on the board.

Patrick McHenry said...

Retired ASD Teacher -

But the current (local union) leadership is coming from SOMEWHERE, and presumably being approved by the members.

If our basic premise is that rank-and-file teachers are different - and in the majority - why does the same type of leadership keep getting elected? Surely if the minority can find someone to run, the majority could also.

Otherwise, I think our presumption that a MAJORITY of rank-and-file teachers are different is mistaken.

While I also understand that it is difficult to form a brand new organization, why not publicly advocate for changes in the way dues are forced upon members. It would seem that such an argument coming from a group of teachers would carry the day in today's environment.

If teachers are afraid to go against THEIR OWN union because of the reaction they might get, is it any wonder that a large segment of the public has such a negative view of unions?

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

Thank you, Patrick McHenry.

Let's not forget, the ASD school board in place at the time of the "forced dues" agreement was somewhat in collusion with acceptance of that condition. Evidently, that acceptance continues with those who signed most recent contracts.

This whole situation is NOT going to turn out well for the kids.

Anonymous said...

Sure it will...the boycott is for the children.