Monday, January 22, 2007

Caledonia's School Choices and Union Opposition

Local union guy Tom Berger weighed in on the Caledonia school secession issue in a JT commentary. He does not favor it.

Among his more hilarious questions was this gem: "How will you achieve the diversity required by federal law in those schools?" I don't know all the details of federal law as it relates to this issue, but I doubt that a school district would be required to be more diverse than the community it resides in. Otherwise we might have to start importing some Hmong students from Green Bay.

But I like this question the most as it reveals the real issue for Berger: "How do you expect to get the voters not living in Caledonia, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant to vote in favor a (sic) secession when it will undoubtedly increase their taxes to keep what is left of RUSD?" Tax happy communities like Racine are always looking for other communities to pay their bills, so the loss of Caledonia from RUSD would be a huge blow to RUSD. It is about time that Caledonia starts to look out for Caledonia students, especially as I have heard of credible reports indicating that 60% of eligible Caledonia students are stearing clear of RUSD schools. Caledonia residents are paying huge sums of cash for a school system that they are avoiding like the plague. If their secession harms RUSD, perhaps that will spur the remaining RUSD communities to consider some actual reforms that might work, such as school vouchers.

I have some questions of my own for the folks in Caledonia. Here they are:

To what extent can you link the demise of education to the rise in power and influence of the teachers unions?

Can you form a school district that minimizes or eliminates the influence of the teachers union?

Do you have to build shools at all or could you simply issue vouchers to parents who could use them to send their children to the school of their choice, whether that choice is public or private?

And this last question is for Mr. Berger: Since when do voters in Mount Pleasant get to vote on Caledonia matters?


Randy said...

I think you can avoid unions in the services areas (clerical , custodial, etc.) by outsourcing. I think the teachers will be another story. As a teacher, I wouldn't mind having the union out of my life as they serve little purpose. However, I am in a teeny minority amongst my colleagues.

Avoiding union bullying and costs on the service areas will be a huge perk for the new district.

Denis Navratil said...

Thanks Randy.

walter said...

I just saw your site listed in the editorial of the Milwaukee paper.I have admired your column in the Racine editorials for years but have missed you lately.I live in Caledonia and a great sense of joy came over me to hear of a possible solution to the Unified School problem.I can tell you are a fan of Milton Friedman and the idea of Vouchers for Caledonia deserves serious consideration.I think you should seriously consider running for the schoolboard.

Denis Navratil said...

Welcome Walter. Thanks for the complements. I don't write for the JT anymore as they won't have me. I have thought of a school board run, but for the moment I have decided against it. It would be interesting to have someone on the school board who is an advocate of school vouchers.