A principal’s 2 cents on collective bargaining rights

If you don’t know what’s going on in Wisconsin right now, then you should probably pay attention. Governor Walker is trying to pass a bill to address the state deficit that includes taking away collective bargaining rights from unions of state employees. How will that help the deficit? I have yet to learn how it will help the deficit. Teachers have already said they’re willing to pay more into insurance and pensions (as called for in the bill), but it is the rights that we are fighting for in Wisconsin right now.

I have had a couple of friends (that happen to be teachers inother districts) ask me where I stand as an administrator on this issue and how much I can even speak about it. I’ll start out by saying that this has been a draining week and I cannot publicly blog about the details of why. I will say that all administrative associations are against this bill, as am I. I know that teachers often feel it’s “us against them” (which is sad to me), but believe it or not adminstrators are for collective bargaining.

First of all, unions protect good teachers from bad administrators. With the history of poor administration in my school district, I can understand why teachers would be fearful of the loss of collective bargaining rights. I think I can safely say (without just braggin) that we now have a good administrative team in my district that supports our teachers. Without collective barganing rights, it is possible that a school board looking to make budget cuts could direct to layoff the most expensive teachers. Some of my most expensive teachers are my best teachers. I do NOT want to have to do such a thing. Teachers negotiate many other issues in their collective bargaining agreements such as class sizes, prep time, start/end time, sick days, extra duty pay, etc. With that master contract to follow, many decisions I have to make as an administrator are easy. One prime example is teachers asking to leave early or miss some of school–I just follow what the master contract states. Leaving early for a medical appointment? Yes, just fill out an absence sheet for sick leave. Leaving early for a hair appointment? Sorry, but that will be unpaid leave. In those cases, I do not have to be the bad guy, because I am just following what their master contract states.

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