By: Matthew Balsinger
On Tuesday, a letter by Nic Miller criticized opponents of SB 5, including myself, of lying and being intellectually dishonest. It’s time to set the record straight and show Mr. Miller that comments such as “SB 5 will destroy public unions and collective bargaining” as well as “SB 5 destroys public education as we know it” are not lies or hyperbole. They are direct, observational and intellectual facts.
Miller began his criticism with citing the bill itself, but missed the contradiction within the bill. He quotes a section that states that public employees have the right to bargain collectively to determine wages, hours, terms and other conditions of employment, but fails to mention the later provision that allows public employers to not bargain on any of those conditions, rendering the aforementioned provision entirely useless.
In addition to loopholes such as that, Issue 2 prohibits striking, prohibits public schools from entering into collective bargaining agreements that include the establishment of maximum class sizes, limits sick leave payouts (previously negotiable by employers and employees), creates a system of performance-based pay (without employee or union negotiation), abolishes continuing contracts for teachers and removes consideration of seniority regarding layoffs.
If teachers cannot negotiate on sick days, classroom sizes, wages and multiple-year contracts, then there is no reason to have a union. This bill destroys public unions and the rights and reasons to form them. Sure, it doesn’t ban the right to form them outright, but it does almost ban what you can do with them. If you are rendering unions useless, you are rendering the voice of the people useless.
With this bill, there is no limit to how many students a teacher can have in a classroom, nor can the teacher negotiate that as part of his contract. The teacher is held financially responsible for the success of those students. Regardless of how many students the district and the state stuff into a classroom, the teacher is responsible equally for each student’s success, almost guaranteeing the teacher to fail. Do you seriously think that public school boards will listen to arguments of lowering class sizes from teachers? It’s more cost-effective to have fewer teachers teaching more students. A business model might work for making money but not for educating the future.
Studies have shown that smaller classrooms yield more successful students because of one-on-one interaction with the instructor. To say that it is fair to pay a teacher based on the performance of many students over a limited time is wrong. This is not to mention the question of who is ultimately responsible for a student’s success.
The most important variable is the student. It is solely up to the student whether he or she will succeed or fail. Parents, teachers and members of the community can all be in support of a child, but the child has to want to succeed. How is it fair to shoulder all of the responsibility and blame for a student’s academic failure on teachers?
Governor Kasich was elected because people were voting with misguided anger and stupidity. They voted for him not because they agreed with his policies, but because they were upset over the recession and our slow recovery. Kasich’s plans have since been met with overwhelming outrage, disdain and disgust, which is why Kasich currently has the worst approval rating among governors in the United States, and he hasn’t even completed his first year yet.
To destroy the rights of unions and their powers to negotiate is un-American. The United States of America is itself a union. If you hate unions so much, what are we to do with our Preamble of the Constitution which reads, “We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…”?