It would be hard to make up the things that are going on at Racine Unified. To the best of my knowledge, the RUSD administration, led by superintendent (or CEO) Dr. Hicks, and the teachers union, have agreed on a tentative contract for the teachers. This was reported recently in the Racine Journal Times. On April 24th, the teachers will vote to accept or reject the deal. Assuming they accept the offer, the next step is for our elected school board to accept or reject the deal. Fair enough, right?
OK, this is where it gets weird. The administration and the teachers union have agreed to withhold the information from the public that will have to pay the bill. Thus the taxpayers will be prevented from learning the details of the contract until after it is ratified. We will have no opportunity to debate the subject or attempt to influence our elected representatives. We will have every opportunity to pay the bill, however. I guess this is what is meant by community "buy in".
This abuse of citizens by the RUSD administration and the teachers union is apparently legal. I don't know why it would be, but I will never be suprised by the ability of WEAC to impact legislation.
The decision by RUSD and the teachers union to withhold the information from the public is often justified on the grounds that we have elected our school board, and that we must then trust our elected representatives to look out for our interests. This is an outrageous justification. I don't recall hearing any teachers making similar arguments with respect to our current administrations in Washington or Madison. Have the teachers tried to influence policies with regard to school vouchers, for example, or have they said, "We have elected a Republican majority in Madison and we should trust their work. We don't need to see the bill until after it is signed by Governor Doyle." Or this, "Please President Bush, go ahead and make some adjustments to the "No Child Left Behind" legislation. We will wait patiently the changes." This is total hypocrisy on the part of the teachers union. They want to influence education policy and spending, and they will do everything in their power to prevent the taxpayer from participating the process.
Here is what I don't understand. How are the administration and teachers union able to prevent our elected representatives from accessing the contract information? Is the tentative contract being withheld from our representatives also? How will they be able to vote for or against the contract without having a copy? Can the administration legally withhold a document from an elected official who will be required to vote on the contents of said document? And finally, can the leaders (if you can call them that) of our public schools demonstrate any more hostility to the public that they purport to serve?