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Author Topic: Possible SOPA-like Amendments / Union discussion  (Read 1544 times)

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Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments to Copyright Act
« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2013, 09:14:27 AM »
Many of you are misunderstanding the point Retribution is trying to make.

He is simply saying that while a union has a responsibility to advocate in a rational manner in support of its constituents, it often is only doing an injustice to the industry, and to the net sum of industry employees, when it goes about defending union members for clearly biased reasons. 

Let me give you two examples:

1)  For many years now, public school (and many private school) teachers were granted automatic salary raises for getting a Master's degree.  However, extensive, decades-long research has shown that teachers with master's degrees are no more effective at improving student achievement, as compared to bachelor's degree educated teachers.  In other words, many administrators were suggesting that these salary raises should be going to the teachers who are good teachers (whether they have a Master's or not), and who are actually helping students improve academically.  The union was in an uproar over this idea for some reason.  (Try convincing a business manager to give you an automatic, no questions asked raise for your M.B.A., even if your sales figures are the same as a guy straight out of high school).  For many, many years the unions tried to defend this, but now, finally, many teachers unions have slowly acknowledged legitimacy of this line of reasoning, but you'll still see unions advocating this.

I have never understood why the teacher's union supports this, considering that it actually helps good teachers by being able to earn higher salaries while avoiding the added student debt of pursuing a Master's degree.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304795804579101723505111670

2)  Many unions routinely go to bat for defending sexual predators in K-12 schools.  In the private workforce, even the slightest hint of sexual harassment will likely result in a firing, but this is not the case in many major city public schools.  I don't want to ramble on, but check out the article below, and you'll see how union practices routinely try to protect individuals who clearly do not deserve to be on the job.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10000872396390443437504577547313612049308

In addition, I think some of you are incorrectly viewing the right to a fair trial as being a special benefit provided by the government, when in reality, it is a core tenant to even the basic functioning of the American judicial system.  In other words, it is not some sort of perk or privilege, but an integral Constitutional clause for our court system to even function in a fair manner.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 09:27:20 AM by ValthazarElite »

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Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments to Copyright Act
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2013, 10:12:34 AM »
I'm not that familiar with how workplace negotiations (or business-level labour deals) between employees, unions and employers (and trade organisations, as counterparts to unions) function in the US - I do know that the role of labour unions has long been different from what it is in many places in western Europe - so I'll just make two general points and leave further arguing to others.

Many of you are misunderstanding the point Retribution is trying to make.

He is simply saying that while a union has a responsibility to advocate in a rational manner in support of its constituents, it often is only doing an injustice to the industry, and to the net sum of industry employees, when it goes about defending union members for clearly biased reasons. 

Let me give you two examples:

1)  For many years now, public school (and many private school) teachers were granted automatic salary raises for getting a Master's degree.  However, extensive, decades-long research has shown that teachers with master's degrees are no more effective at improving student achievement, as compared to bachelor's degree educated teachers.  In other words, many administrators were suggesting that these salary raises should be going to the teachers who are good teachers (whether they have a Master's or not), and who are actually helping students improve academically.  The union was in an uproar over this idea for some reason.  (Try convincing a business manager to give you an automatic, no questions asked raise for your M.B.A., even if your sales figures are the same as a guy straight out of high school).  For many, many years the unions tried to defend this, but now, finally, many teachers unions have slowly acknowledged legitimacy of this line of reasoning, but you'll still see unions advocating this.

I have never understood why the teacher's union supports this, considering that it actually helps good teachers by being able to earn higher salaries while avoiding the added student debt of pursuing a Master's degree.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304795804579101723505111670



It's not the union's purpose to further what company managers, bosses or trade organizations want. That's not why people join a union; the union is there for the employees and should aim to be evenhanded and ready to defend its members, especially in circumstances where the individual member/s would soon be in a tight spot if they tried to take on their employing firm or agency on their own.

I think you're missing, too, that it can be hard to find real, objective measures of how much students are taught or the kind of success they derive from their school. Most of us pick things up from, and evolve from, other sources than just what we're exposed to in class or what we did as homework or school projects. You dislike academic inflation, that's one point you have often returned to here, and I agree, but how about grade inflation? Some schools build an unofficial but (to applying students) very audible reputation that "it's fairly easy to get good grades at that place, their teachers want to stay in tune with the times and build a nice trademark for the school, so they are not overly strict, they don't make you bite your nails to get a good grade." That kind of rep will pull students in, because ultimately what counts to many students and even to employers (or on the next rung in the education system) isn't what the student has learnt and really brought into himself on the road, it's the grades and the exam diploma.

So in a competitive market, schools and colleges will sometimes tend to push their own amount of high grades upwards, both to give an impression of "excellence" and to attract incoming students the next year. A teacher who refuses to engage in this likely won't be seen as "honest to God and committed" but as someone peeing on the parade.

A large number of teachers having MBAs or postgrad degrees doesn't have to mean they all work wonders for their students, but it's at least a more objective yardstick of high ambitions at the school than a larger-than-average share of top degrees being given to the students.


Quote from: ValthazarElite
In addition, I think some of you are incorrectly viewing the right to a fair trial as being a special benefit provided by the government, when in reality, it is a core tenant to even the basic functioning of the American judicial system.  In other words, it is not some sort of perk or privilege, but an integral Constitutional clause for our court system to even function in a fair manner.

As someone said, "there's a bloody wide gulf between being right, having the right to something in theory, and getting your dues acknowledged". A "core right" in abstract often don't amount to diddley unless it is backed by some strong agents - unions, a public watchdog, etc - who have the spine to formulate professional and academic goals and the muscle to get through a trial for you, to weather attempts to break your backbone economically before the fight is even halfway through, or to counter attempts by the employer or somebody else to smear the person they are trying to get rid of in the public media. Or even smear him inside the courtroom.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 10:45:59 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments to Copyright Act
« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2013, 11:11:59 AM »
It's not the union's purpose to further what company managers, bosses or trade organizations want. That's not why people join a union; the union is there for the employees and should aim to be evenhanded and ready to defend its members, especially in circumstances where the individual member/s would soon be in a tight spot if they tried to take on their employing firm or agency on their own.

My point was, many unions counteract what is in the best interests of certain employees.  For example, the Master's degree issue is detrimental for any outstanding teacher of limited means, who is not interested in taking out student loans for a Master's degree.  Have we really become a society where we consider "better" Kindergarten teachers to be the ones with Master's degrees?  All evidence suggests that the M.S. Ed. does not yield corresponding gains in student outcomes (which is not singularly focused on grades, as you stated).

I am not sure if anyone here is familiar with M.S. curricula, but as someone who is very familiar with these programs, I am not surprised that these programs are not yielding improved student outcomes.  For example, one would think that an M.S. Ed. (say in technology integration) would consist of evidence-based courses on pros/cons of certain technology integration, research studies on how students learn, etc.  But some of these courses are nothing more than, how to make a blog, how to use a wiki, etc.  These are things most of us, and presumably many teachers, can easily learn through a quick Google search.  I guess as someone who is familiar with this, I struggle to see how this merits an automatic pay raise.

As someone said, "there's a bloody wide gulf between being right, having the right to something in theory, and getting your dues acknowledged". A "core right" in abstract often don't amount to diddley unless it is backed by some strong agents - unions, a public watchdog, etc - who have the spine to formulate professional and academic goals and the muscle to get through a trial for you, to weather attempts to break your backbone economically before the fight is even halfway through, or to counter attempts by the employer or somebody else to smear the person they are trying to get rid of in the public media. Or even smear him inside the courtroom.

Did you read the link regarding union protection of teachers engaging in sexually predatory behavior?  These are not "alleged" incidents, but confirmed, documented encounters - often with text-message histories, or other bystander testimony.

How can you rationalize a union supporting the tenure of someone who has blatantly engaged in predatory behavior with school children?
« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 11:18:04 AM by ValthazarElite »

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Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments to Copyright Act
« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2013, 11:40:12 AM »
Did you read the link regarding union protection of teachers engaging in sexually predatory behavior?  These are not "alleged" incidents, but confirmed, documented encounters - often with text-message histories, or other bystander testimony.

How can you rationalize a union supporting the tenure of someone who has blatantly engaged in predatory behavior with school children?

Even Ted Bundy had a defense lawyer.  That said, sometimes the defense has to consider what's really in the best interest of the person they are defending:  Take the quiet plea deal or let all the evidence come out in excruciating public detail.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments to Copyright Act
« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2013, 11:41:28 AM »
My point was, many unions counteract what is in the best interests of certain employees.  For example, the Master's degree issue is detrimental for any outstanding teacher of limited means, who is not interested in taking out student loans for a Master's degree.  Have we really become a society where we consider "better" Kindergarten teachers to be the ones with Master's degrees?  All evidence suggests that the M.S. Ed. does not yield corresponding gains in student outcomes (which is not singularly focused on grades, as you stated).

I am not sure if anyone here is familiar with M.S. Ed. curricula, but as someone who is very familiar with these programs, I am not surprised that these programs are not yielding improved student outcomes.  For example, one would think that an M.S. Ed. in Educational Technology would consist of evidence-based courses on pros/cons of certain technology integration, research studies on how students learn, etc.  But some of these courses are nothing more than, how to make a blog, how to use a wiki, etc.  These are things most of us, and presumably many teachers, can easily learn through a quick Google search.  I guess as someone who is familiar with this, I struggle to see how this merits an automatic pay raise.

Did you read the link regarding union protection of teachers engaging in sexually predatory behavior?  These are not "alleged" incidents, but confirmed, documented encounters - often with text-message histories, or other bystander testimony.

How can you rationalize a union supporting the tenure of someone who has blatantly engaged in predatory behavior with school children?

Okay.. let's take these apart from the other side of the issue.

How about those school districts that REQUIRE continuing eductation/training in their teachers. I have two examples of this from my own life. I had a horrible french teacher, she was most assuredly biased, she failed me and another student in one year and we sat down with a student who passed the same classes. I would get 4 to 5 points off for a mistake the passing student got 1/2 a point for.  We did a survey among other students and it was clearly evident that she didn't play fair. She decided to start working as  legal clerk for her husband's firm after the school disctrict's continuing education requirements would have pushed her past a masters into a doctorate. She didn't want to take the time to do the continuing education after her hubby's lawfirm took off. Too many social events she wanted to do. (FYI.. the next year, I went from 3 to 5 hours study a night and 12+ a weekend to NONE and passed French with a A-, ditto the french-canadian girl who failed with me)

While another teacher was forced by the school district to work THREE schools a day to keep his job because his DOUBLE doctorate made him the most qualified teacher in the district. Yeah..he had a doctorate of music and education purely because of the cotinuing education requirement. As a result he had to teach at TWO middle schools and a high school to keep his job, IN ADDITION to doing the high school marching band and theater departments (luckily my sophomore year the bible thumpers killed the county theater program or he'd have died of exhaustion).

If I follow your logic the school district was perfectly within their rights to demand a continuing education element as part of their conditions of EMPLOYMENT but not compensate them with higher pay due to becoming more qualified by the SCHOOL BOARDS on criteria. And a LOT of school boards mandate continuing education as a condition of qualification for work. IE. You have to maintain an ongoing amount of credit JUST like a RN or Doctor does to maintain their licenses.

TWO. Want to bet on the where the most charges of 'child predation' come from? I think school enviroments are one of the top three in the US. I know of at least 3 friends who will NOT close a door if there is less than six students in a room with them, and who maintain detailed 'incident logs' of counseling. (One even records counseling sessions for self protection). I had a teacher in high school who was accused of molesting a student, and got fired for the charge (Despite the fact that she was: A. Twenty miles away at the time B. In a court room with 20 students and three other teachers. Turned out the kid wasn't even there. Didn't get the teacher her job back. Or being painted for YEARS with the red 'A' of molester. She lost custody of her kids because of it. But hey.. she didn't need a group of 'strong arm' thugs like you indicate to protect her right? She was surely given a fair shake by the school board. Now she's got a doctorate in history and something close to a masters in education and has spent the last 2 decades writing travel articles free lance becuase some kid was pissed he got a grade he deserved.

It cuts both ways, union protection and things like you cited ValthazarElite. There are TWO sides to the coin. Mandating continuing education requires a return on the person's investment and in some jurisdictions you will accure enough continuing education credits to get a degree eventually. I've seen it happen. i've seen it happen to the point where to continue justifying pay the teachers were worked to near death like the music teacher.

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments / Union discussion
« Reply #30 on: October 24, 2013, 12:15:39 PM »
You need to realize that all of my views so far in this thread have been based on rational reasoning - neither fully pro-union nor fully anti-union.  Your assumption that I would support a district mandate for continuing education is incorrect, because in that situation, the school district's decision is not based on any research.  If they researched the issue, they would realize that a Master's or a Doctorate in Education hasn't shown to improve student outcomes in any measurable way - whether it is grades, behavior, attitude towards learning, or whatever.  This may be a clear case where the role of the union performs a measurable benefit, as Retribution said.

Personally, I don't know anything first-hand about K-12 districts that mandate a Master's for licensure, and yet do not provide any sort of increased compensation, or tuition reimbursement.  But I can guarantee you that the teachers' unions in those districts will ironically be saying the following:

"Studies show that these Master's degrees do not improve our teaching at all, so why are you requiring us to get them?  We can be excellent educators without this requirement"

My only point in these last few posts is to demonstrate that unions are incredibly biased in favor of the average to below average worker, depending on the context at hand, and are not the "just and moral entity" as they are often characterized to be.  I can assure you that if you do research on union bureaucracy, you will see as much fraud, corruption, and bias, as in the executive level of corporations.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 12:18:47 PM by ValthazarElite »

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments / Union discussion
« Reply #31 on: October 24, 2013, 12:46:33 PM »
You need to realize that all of my views so far in this thread have been based on rational reasoning - neither fully pro-union nor fully anti-union.  Your assumption that I would support a district mandate for continuing education is incorrect, because in that situation, the school district's decision is not based on any research.  If they researched the issue, they would realize that a Master's or a Doctorate in Education hasn't shown to improve student outcomes in any measurable way - whether it is grades, behavior, attitude towards learning, or whatever.  This may be a clear case where the role of the union performs a measurable benefit, as Retribution said.

Personally, I don't know anything first-hand about K-12 districts that mandate a Master's for licensure, and yet do not provide any sort of increased compensation, or tuition reimbursement.  But I can guarantee you that the teachers' unions in those districts will ironically be saying the following:

"Studies show that these Master's degrees do not improve our teaching at all, so why are you requiring us to get them?  We can be excellent educators without this requirement"

My only point in these last few posts is to demonstrate that unions are incredibly biased in favor of the average to below average worker, depending on the context at hand, and are not the "just and moral entity" as they are often characterized to be.  I can assure you that if you do research on union bureaucracy, you will see as much fraud, corruption, and bias, as in the executive level of corporations.

No, the point your making is that in the defense of the few you dig up the bad and use that as justification as a way to slam the whole system. You can put out the molesters and 'sub par' teachers as evidence that unions are bad. What about the system reform, giving the folks who are qualified a chance to offer input to the system? I have seen school boards in MULTIPLE regions turn away qualified plans because it was too 'pricy' to the new Tea Party candidates and atrocities like 'No Child Left Behind' mangled the system to the point where we're falling behind where we were BEFORE the damn thing was passed.

I notice you point out the negative on unions and don't comment on the positive, how about pointing the negative out on the legal side. How about discussing 'junk' like 'intelligent design' eating up budgets, the crazies down in Texas having an inordinate amount of control on circulumn development due to their impact on the text book industry. Hell let's talk about text books being a locked industry with next to NO price controls and eating up more and more of the school budgets.

Is there a problem with the unions protecting the unsuitable? Possible. Consider it from this angle. Why are these so few qualified people to stand in? Could it be that teachers are a product of their environment?  I lived in Ireland and sat in a classroom with three different grades of students. Even there the student to teacher ration was below 35. In the US, I don't think I've ever had a classroom below 35 students. Ever. Today I hear of schools where classrooms of 60 now. Teachers are looked on by their school boards members as 'failures' because they 'settled' on being a teacher. The US has an attitude of 'Those who can't.. teach.' That has to stop.

I have seen a LOT of teachers get protected by their unions from frivolous charges and accusations. I wonder how many of those cases have slipped under the radar of your research? It's easy to see the bad VE.. not so easy to see the system when it works. It's not JUST the unions that need reform (and yes, I see a need for ethic codes in ALL sorts of organizations) but the education system in place in the US. The 'No Child Left Behind' atrocity was a bandaid triage for what should have been major surgery.

And to me.. Education is the foundation of how we can fix this country. We need a better education system, we need a better educational skills foundation for our kids. We need more options than just 'you need a degree' to succeed BS like we have in place. Had I taken my great uncle's advice back in the day, I'd be most likely have taken vocational school training for refrigeration and electrical work (which I wound up with anyway) and doing a lot better than I am today. (Odds are I'd either be a partner with the guy he tried to pair me with.. or full owner of the business..his statement not mine).

In short.. you're pointing out one of the symptoms of the system at large. It's not JUST the unions protecting the corrupt results of the system but the system needs fixes. You propose taking away more of the protections without proposing any replacements. You're going to hurt as many (or more) innocents than the guilty that way.

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments / Union discussion
« Reply #32 on: October 24, 2013, 01:08:37 PM »
I actually agree with a lot of your views, and I'm not trying to diminish the importance of unions.  I think we can both agree that unions aren't perfect, but that they also serve good purposes in several ways.  But with that being said, they require as much close monitoring and regulation, as the business executives themselves (or education administration, in this case).

For example, I also am not a fan of No Child Left Behind, nor am I a fan of Common Core Standards.  It prevents truly great teachers from excelling by limiting their creativity, and forcing them to prepare students for a test, rather than develop skills they would need in the real world.  So in these specific instances, I think the unions are doing the right thing.

Teachers can be the best in the world, but if a kid's parents are not emphasizing the importance of education, then no amount of effort is going to help students.  That's unfortunately the main issue, but there's not really much teachers can do to change how parents view education for their kids.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments / Union discussion
« Reply #33 on: October 24, 2013, 01:26:18 PM »
I actually agree with a lot of your views, and I'm not trying to diminish the importance of unions.  I think we can both agree that unions aren't perfect, but that they also serve good purposes in several ways.  But with that being said, they require as much close monitoring and regulation, as the business executives themselves (or education administration, in this case).

For example, I also am not a fan of No Child Left Behind, nor am I a fan of Common Core Standards.  It prevents truly great teachers from excelling by limiting their creativity, and forcing them to prepare students for a test, rather than develop skills they would need in the real world.  So in these specific instances, I think the unions are doing the right thing.

Teachers can be the best in the world, but if a kid's parents are not emphasizing the importance of education, then no amount of effort is going to help students.  That's unfortunately the main issue, but there's not really much teachers can do to change how parents view education for their kids.

My problem is this.. how do you protect the innocent without also giving fair representation to the guilty under the presumption of innocence till guilt is found in a due process environment. I would argue that companies that conduct equally uneithical actions in the treatment of their employees and customers. But that is an issue for another thread.

We've got to stop treating symptoms and start treating the diseases. Problem is.. that is a long process and in our twitter feed mentality it isn't going to happen.

Offline meikle

Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments to Copyright Act
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2013, 04:31:45 AM »
Even Ted Bundy had a defense lawyer.  That said, sometimes the defense has to consider what's really in the best interest of the person they are defending:  Take the quiet plea deal or let all the evidence come out in excruciating public detail.

That's really it.  If the damage is concrete, irrefutable, undeniable, the Union will lose -- and maybe it will get to choose where it loses.

If it's not concrete, not irrefutable, not undeniable, then the union might win.

In either case, the Union must fight -- even if the best it can do is brawl until it loses, to do the best it can -- because if it doesn't, then it will collapse, and it will never fight again.

First they came for the accused embezzlers, and I did nothing...
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 04:36:24 AM by meikle »

Offline consortium11

Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments to Copyright Act
« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2013, 04:39:42 PM »
that's the union's job, though.  that is what that guy paid his dues for.  if the union didn't go to bat for him, other union employees would see that the union is willing to take their money but is not willing to spend that money back in toward protecting its workers.  everyone pays in, everyone gets the benefit of having paid in (ideally, at least.)

But that's not how it works, unless unions in the US are radically different to those in the UK.

In the UK the legal services part of the union's responsibilities to a member invariably include a "prospects of success" clause in the exact same way a legal expenses insurer does. In essence what it means is that unless the union/insurer's pet lawyers decide that there is a chance of winning in excess of 50%, the union is free to not offer any help with the legal aspect, pick up any of the costs etc. And if the union member disagrees then they have to pay for their own lawyer who's more senior than the union's (in the UK generally a barrister to trump a solicitor and a QC to trump a barrister) to do a separate prospects of success assessment saying there are sufficient prospects.

And despite that people keep buying private legal expenses insurance and keep renewing their union membership...

The union may go to bat for a member in different ways, but they have a built in method to get out of covering the legal aspects and the costs associated... and they use it frequently, rather than this sort of "all for one and one for all" world you set out.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments / Union discussion
« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2013, 04:44:52 PM »
Sounds like UK unions are indeed radically different than US unions, because I've never heard of anything like a 'prospects of success' clause over here.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments / Union discussion
« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2013, 05:31:19 PM »
Sounds like UK unions are indeed radically different than US unions, because I've never heard of anything like a 'prospects of success' clause over here.

News to me too.

Offline consortium11

Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments / Union discussion
« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2013, 06:48:30 PM »
So do US unions have to take on every legal matter a union member is involved with (at least with regards to their employment) or do they have total discretion as to which cases they take on and cover the legal costs/provide legal assistance for?

Offline Zakharra

Re: Possible SOPA-like Amendments / Union discussion
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2013, 07:29:24 PM »
 I think they have to take on every case, a side effect is it can be -very- hard to fire someone who is seriously screwing up and/or has been caught doing things he/she should not have been in the workplace.