A Law Too Far? The Wisconsin Budget Repair Act: Counterpoint

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Education Law Reporter


education, wisconsin budget repair act, schools, unions, teachers' unions, collective bargaining


This article encourages debate regarding the power and force of teacher unions and collective bargaining and their impact on the quality of education. As an initial matter, it is important to keep in mind that the authors of this Counterpoint start with the premise that the purpose of employee unions, whether in education, the automobile industry, or other fields aside, is to save the jobs of members. In education, our argument is that taking care of students has decidedly taken a back seat, and thus, we find it frustrating to hear that teachers “want this for the children” when, in reality, the current debate is about protecting pay raises for senior, tenured teachers, regardless of whether they actually perform their jobs meritoriously. The Counterpoint part of this debate has taken a broader view from the Point's discussion of Wisconsin, choosing not to limit the debate to only one state, but rather considers fundamental contentious issues relating to unions and teacher collective. A fundamental proposition in this Counterpoint is that the purpose of employee unions is not to further the interest of children in public schools, but rather the protection of union members' jobs and benefits, provided at taxpayer expense. Missing from this equation, though, is the absence of a concomitant commitment to the quality of the jobs performed. The authors of the Counterpoint would suggest that recent events in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio can be viewed as bellwethers of changes that are needed in order to shift the debate from collective bargaining to the best interests of the students.


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