Cheers for the Long Beach Board of Education
Battling the teachers union...
[by Jon Coupal] 3/29/06
Beach Board of Education has just mailed a letter to 235,000
constituents declaring that the board will not be bullied by
the teachers union into providing more than the 4 percent pay
raise being offered.
Most of us
love teachers. The popular perception is that they are self-sacrificing
altruists dedicated to guiding our children to a golden future.
The image is that they struggle to survive on low pay and carry
on instruction with few resources.
romanticized image may actually fit a few teachers, mostly
at private schools, what is seldom considered is that the unions
representing teachers are as bare-knuckled tough as those representing
coal miners or teamsters.
Coupal is an attorney and president of the Howard
Jarvis Taxpayers Association -- California's largest
taxpayer organization with offices in Los Angeles
and Sacramento. [go to website] [go
to Coupal index]
the teachers unions have been immensely successful in promoting
the image of the struggling teacher, while at the same time
elevating their pay to the highest in the nation, according
to statistics available from the U.S. Census Bureau.
And woe to
anyone who challenges the teachers union. When Governor Schwarzenegger
increased education spending -- which is more than half the
state budget -- but not to the level demanded by the California
Teachers Association, they came down on him like a ton of bricks,
spending millions of dollars on advertising accusing him of
betraying education. It is no coincidence that the governor's
standing in the polls began to decline during these attacks.
governor backed a ballot measure that would require public
employee unions to get permission from their members before
they spent dues money on politics -- rather than the core issues
of collective bargaining -- the teachers union came down on
him like five tons of bricks. The union spent tens of millions
of member dollars in an effort to discredit the governor. The
outcome of the special election showdown over the governor's
reform ideas, including limiting the union's political spending,
was not what someone who has seen any of Schwarzenegger's Conan
movies would have expected. In this political epic, the union
handed Conan his proverbial head.
example of organized teachers bowling over the opposition fresh
in everyone's minds, it is surprising that anyone within the
education industry has the courage to take them on.
members of the Long Beach Board of Education. Rather than continue
to be ground down by the constant attacks by the local teachers
union for their refusal to cave in to union demands, they have
taken their position directly to school district residents.
outlines the problems faced by the school district and the
generous salary and benefits offer they have placed on the
table -- an offer that the union insists must be doubled.
LBUSD is experiencing declining enrollment, which has triggered
cutbacks in state funding, the board has offered a 4 percent
increase in pay and additional money for more experienced teachers.
The offer would provide an annual average teachers salary of
$57,860 plus $18,848 in benefits, totaling $76,708. Salaries
plus district-paid benefits would range from $61,816 for a
new teacher with a bachelor's degree and no experience to $104,729
for a teacher with a master's degree and 30 years of experience.
A teacher with a doctorate and 30 years experience could expect
$116,079. For these salaries and benefits, teachers are expected
to teach 182 days a year.
is demanding an 8 percent pay increase, which board members
claim would cost the district another $26.8 million tax dollars
and would damage the education of the students.
matter is resolved -- whether it be for the benefit of the
teachers or the students -- will likely be determined at the
ballot box next month.
Teachers Association of Long Beach continues to wrangle over
pay, they are flexing their political muscles by backing three
pro-union candidates challenging incumbents in the April 11
school board election.
If, as is
the custom in so many school board elections, the voter turnout
is dominated by teachers union members, it is the students
who will come out second best. CRO
2006 Howard Jarvis Taxpayers association