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Teachers in 2010

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My Washington Examiner column this morning looks at the growing divide between the interests of young classroom teachers and their older and retired counterparts.

As November approaches, young teachers have to be looking at the perilous state of public finance at the federal and especially the state levels and wondering how their union bosses can be standing with House Democrats or trying to elect Jerry Brown in California or Ted Strickland in Ohio or any Democrat anywhere. Education spending depends upon healthy, growing economies, and places like California and Ohio are teetering on the brink of massive cuts in the governmental sector because the money’s just not there and new taxes simply cannot be added on to an already crushing business burden.

If public education is going to be saved and reformed and the careers of young classroom professionals preserved, reformers like Meg Whitman and John Kasich have to be given a chance to pare away government’s excesses outside of education so that the schools can survive and thrive. Younger education professionals have to break with their union seniors who are playing for a couple of years here and there and hoping to be retired with a guaranteed pension before the roof falls in. What they don’t seem to realize is that those retirement benefits are only as good as the state economy that supports them. You cannot get blood from a stone.

I am going to limit most of my program today to calls from teachers. I am curious how many of them have figured out that their union leadership has driven them right to the edge of a cliff, and whether they intend to vote for real change this time.

The math teachers at least should get it.



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