March 28, 2013
Speaking of Tuesday’s Supreme Court election, we can’t rule it out as one of the reasons Milwaukee school board members didn’t immediately cave in to the teachers’ union last week.
The union wants to reopen contract negotiations with the intention of, at minimum, extending the existing agreement and prolonging the delay in Milwaukee Public Schools implementing the Act 10 collective bargaining reforms. Alert school board members might have realized it wouldn’t do to rouse up the taxpayers by saying yes to the union before the election—with its Act 10 implications—is out of the way.
And while that issue ripens, the big city a little farther down the lake is offering Milwaukee teachers an opportunity to learn something. Our guess is it’s an opportunity few of the teachers and none of their union bosses will take.
In Chicago, dwindling enrollments, unsustainable benefit packages and bloated public payrolls—the kinds of things Milwaukee teachers are fighting to retain—are driving events to their inevitable conclusion and mass school closings are one result. Illinois, farther down the same road Wisconsin was traveling pre-Act 10, is simply falling apart.
We’d like to be consistent in rejecting the concept of a paternalistic state, but that’s contingent on the citizens behaving like grown-ups. It’s a little disheartening when the unions, and especially the teachers, prove over and over again that they’re in need of adult supervision.