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Sunday, July 25, 2004

Daryl Cobranchi links to an interesting article about teacher's unions and contract negotiations:

Mario Mancieri's 25-year tenure in Portsmouth's central administration earned him the informal title of dean of Rhode Island's school superintendents.


He says, "Every year in February or March, we'd sit down [with the unions] either to settle a new contract or review current issues. On our side, we'd be wanting to discuss education issues. But they'd want to talk about benefits. Often they wouldn't even stay at the table unless there was something to give.

Of course you'll never have enough money to solve the real problems in schools if the money is constantly diverted for these growing benefits."


Mancieri says, "My colleagues and I were very frustrated. As soon as one community picked up a benefit, it was only a matter of time before it would gravitate to your community. I tried so hard to bargain down the benefits to deal with some of the education problems, but it was impossible. The unions might even sacrifice on salary money to get benefits that would last beyond retirement, for example. The people who controlled the union were aging, and their primary goal was to enhance the benefits for themselves when they left.

"The truth is that you would do a lot to win three years of labor peace."


These many years of the unions playing the districts off of one another is one reason Rhode Island developed the dubious distinction of being number one in the nation as the state that pays its teachers the largest amount over and above the state's median income.

Mancieri notes, "Once they got their money or benefits, they were more willing to acquiesce on education issues."

Sounds like blackmail to me.

But it's all about the children, isn't it? Yeah, sure it is. This is yet another reason why homeschooling is by far the most plausible choice for me and my family.


.: posted by Dave 8:08 PM

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