Friday, February 11, 2011

Scary Stuff

I love my job, and I've never considered doing anything but teaching. I started as an El Ed major, and switched to Art Ed when I transferred schools my second year of college. Working with kids has never been a question for me. However, I have never been more nervous about my job and the repercussions the government has on it as I am now. Our new governor seems to have it out for all public employees-especially teachers. We got a memo today about his proposed "budget repair," and it's downright frightening.

Here's a direct quote from the memo about the provisions that could be in the legislation he is trying to rush through our state senate this coming week:
  • Sizable cuts in school aide over the next 2 years, which would be mostly but not totally made up for by allowing schools flexibility to lower benefits to teachers.
  • Require public workers to pay in 5% of their salaries/wages to their WRS retirement.
  • Require workers to pay 12% of their health premiums.
  • Reinstitute a version of the QEO that ties total package increases to revenue limits.
  • Limit collective bargaining rights by making some issues (like insurance, discipline, discharge, and evaluation) permissive subjects of bargaining; meaning that school districts could implement their language without reaching an agreement with the union.

Now, these are things that could be in that bill, which has not been made public. This list was taken from an article in the Milwaukee Journal, which is a very reputable source. I find this all so scary. Not only do they want to dock my pay (by making me pay into retirement), but I also have to pay more for my insurance, and have no say in any of it? Ridicules! Why is it just because we choose to spend our lives serving others some members of government think they can push us around and take away our livlihood? I'm already low income, I have another kid on the way, I'm in grad school to increase my pay-yet I'll be making less money next year (despite moving up a lane!) if this plan goes through. What other career do you know of could that happen to an employee?

I love teaching. But I seriously HATE the politics of working in an area that the government has any hand in, let alone pretty much controls.

If you teach in Wisconsin, I'm sure your union has already passed this rotten news on to you and urged you to call your representitives. Let me be one more voice urging you.


Angie said...

That is terrible, but some of these things are standard in some states. I've had to contribute to retirement in states where I knew I wouldn't retire. In Alaska, teachers were required to pay for health insurance, no opting out if their spouse had better. They also had to join NEA, which makes me think this was how things were negotiated. I do find it ridiculous that teachers are treated so badly.

Dale Parker said...

All state employees in NC have been required to take furlough time for the past two years. Meaning that built in paid vacation is gone and any other furlough is made up by taking off on a leave day. I have taught so long that I have a lot of leave days built up which I could use on teacher work days and still get paid normally. Now I have to take the days and not get paid. The rumor is that we will have to take twenty three days next year. We have not had a raise, not a step up or cost of living for three years. The totally crazy part is that we have to make our No child left behind status and scores have to rise or the state department takes over our school. So we get no money, our jobs cut and want the American schools to excel. Really? Really.

taramarie88 said...

I teach in Texas and I am feeling your same pain except I think I may not even have a job next year. Our governor wants to cut roughly $1,000 per pupil from annual state aid to school districts, chop potentially 100,000 school employees’ jobs, and wipe out state grants for pre-kindergarten for 64,000 schoolchildren and extra help for 650,000 students at risk of failing high-stakes state exams. We are supposedly need about 9 billion dollars to help get us out of this hole. I live in Dallas, but work for a small suburb district. Yesterday Dallas ISD announced they would cut 4,000 jobs next year!! Which completley blows my mind! The teacher to student ratio will be something like 30:1. I cannot believe our governor can stand there with a straight face and even act like this is okay. I am a single mother of two and don't really know what I will do if I lose my already low paying profession that I love...guess politicions don't care, all there kids are in private school. Did I mention our state has a "Rainy Day Fund" of about $9 billion that is to be used for a so-called "Rainy Day", but they don't want to use it for our education system? Ugh hello? It's about to pour cats and dogs here in Texas... Hope things are better for you up North!