Friday, April 04, 2008

Child Laborers Union Needed

According to a JT article yesterday, 200 Horlick High School students campaigned in favor of the recent school referendum. The effort was aided by teachers, by a group called Voces de la Frontera, and by a $1,000 donation from the Racine Education Association.

In the past, the political activity by Horlick students has been justified as non-partisan educational activity aimed only at increasing voter turnout. Not this time. There was direct advocacy going on here.

These children are being used and manipulated by teachers with the support of the teachers union. If the teachers union wants fliers distibuted in favor of a referendum, they should distribute the material themselves, instead of relying on unpaid child labor.

These kids should unionize and demand a living wage. Now that would be an educational experience.

19 comments:

Nemo said...

Don't forget that if the value of the students efforts on behalf of the campaign is more than $25, they must register with the state as lobbyists. Maybe their union rep can help them with the paper work.

J. Gravelle said...

Good plan.

Announcing the new Wisconsin Education Association Kids Lobby Infrastructure Network Group of Students:

W.E.A.K.L.I.N.G.S.


-jjg
Daily Scoff

Anonymous said...

Who does one talk to in order to report noncompliance?

Michael Gibson said...

Unpaid child labor? The kids were obviously not forced to campaign. This is called volunteering. Believe it or not, some people do things for what they believe is the greater good and not profits.

Have you actually spoken to any of the students who campaigned? Or the teachers? I suggest that you find out how they organized this group before you criticize their efforts.

Anonymous said...

As is right wing ideologues did not control the media outlets on cable and airwaves...

Pariah Jeep said...

The REA is the union, right? The taxpayers pay the teachers and the union skims off their membership fees. The union then uses taxpayer money to lobby for more money, quite illegal. However this is a non-issue if you don't answer to anyone. One of many intangibles - had a single student been injured while they were going door to door, the school district's insurance would have been invoked, probably a few lawsuits initiated, and the taxpayers would have lost again.

Lou D'Abbraccio said...

In 2004, Horlick teachers organized students to "get out the vote" in the presidential election.

I talked to many of the students, and they were full of idealism, most of them genuinely interested in getting people out to do their civic duty.

The teachers who organized the effort, however, chose to focus these idealistic students, who came from Mt. Pleasant, Caledonia, and the city of Racine, exclusively on democrat-leaning Racine, ignoring the more conservative suburbs. Even within the city, efforts were focused on the more liberal wards.

The end result was that this effort, organized in taxpayer funded schools, by union teachers, USED these idealistic kids for their own twisted political purposes.

Pariah Jeep said...

Lou - I voted for you! But to add another dimension to this nonsense with the schools, what should we do - fight them? Then they get the best lawyers money can buy to fight back - AND WE PAY FOR THAT TOO!

Pariah Jeep said...

. . . and of course I had to learn about the PB&J hirings at RUSD from - the Milwaukee paper. Wouldn't want to mess with the Racine paper's breaking headline about Facebook . . .

Michael Gibson said...

"I talked to many of the students, and they were full of idealism, most of them genuinely interested in getting people out to do their civic duty."

My point exactly. These kids wanted to help. They were not manipulated and used for sick political purposes. The teachers did point them in the right direction, but why wouldn't they? Saying that it is wrong to tell the kids where to campaign is like saying it would be wrong to point someone selling water to the Sahara desert.

Lou D'Abbraccio said...

Thanks, PJ

Michael: You don't get the point. The schools are taxpayer funded institutions, and have no business engaging in partisan or advocacy-related political activity.

This get-out-the-vote effort was focused on democratic wards, where in some cases there was an 80-90% chance that any voter they got to the polls would vote for the Democratic candidate. At the same time, they ignored areas that were predominantly Republican.

The purpose of the activity was to generate Democratic votes. It was organized in a taxpayer funded school, by teachers during working hours. This kind of political advocacy using taxpayer resources is wrong.

Denis Navratil said...

Michael, children are often idealistic and eager to help adults. For this reason, they are also susceptible to being used by adults for the adults purposes. As such, the adults should be quite careful NOT to do so. And yet, year after year, public school children are trotted out, with the support of public school teachers, to lobby for more money, the vast majority of which goes to, you guessed it, teachers. Teachers should not be doing this.

Michael Gibson said...

Dennis: Did the teachers go to the students or did the students go to the teachers? My guess is that the students CHOSE to attend some type of meeting set-up by a group of teachers. The teachers probably did not force the children into the meetings. Furthermore, these were HIGH SCHOOLS students. By high school you should have good enough judgment to be able to think for yourself. If kindergartens were sent out I might think that they could have been manipulated.

Lou: Would you have a problem with a group of Republican teachers trying to get kids to campaign against the referendum? Did you ever consider that the group could have organized after-school?


P.S. From what I read, these groups were organized by students. Teachers were not involved.

"Bianca Quintero, 17, a Horlick High School senior, helped organize her classmates to spread the word about the referendum in several wards in the city that typically have low voter turnouts. Students hoped to knock on an estimated 16,000 doors in Racine."

Anonymous said...

This whole debate is etrmelly illogical.

It woudl be pretty rare tofind kids who are not in in favor of having an adequate education. Further, it would pretty difficult to find those who value education over their pocketbooks in the predominantly republican nneighborhoods that Lou would have them canvassing in.

Lou D'Abbraccio said...

I wasn't referring to the referendum.

I was referring, in general, to the use of taxpayer funded schools as a platform for political activism by teachers and the teachers union.

Furthermore, while I do not agree with your conclusions about who does and does not support education, you clearly imply that you support the targeting of students to get out the vote in specific neighborhoods in order to deliver a specific outcome - which is exactly what is wrong with the whole idea.

Would you have taxpayer funded schools acting as a adjunct wing of a political party? Should they be working to get out the vote for one party or candidate over another?

There are members of the Wisconsin legislature who went to jail for exactly the same thing.

Pariah Jeep said...

Lou - the entire argument has already been framed. The end justifies the means and this is all for the children; if you disagree you are against children. Who can be against children, only monsters, right? People watch this and shrug their shoulders at best, while those of us who recognize the injustice can continue to pay the bills. The irony is teacing kids that it is those capitalist elitists who screw this country, yet without them paying the preponderance of the bills, there would be no schools, administrators, teachers, rain gardens, solar panels, etc. There certainly wouldn't be enough money to pay $13,000 per student for what should be substantially less.

Again, what business (or household) makes a budget that can always be exeeded with the assurance that someone will bail them out? The schools have x money when they begin contract negotiations, and "most" organizations would determine the infrastructure, energy, equipment, and other needs to insure that the STUDENTS are served THEN the salaries for services would be allocated from the remainder. No, they get the salaries and benefits figured out first. Peeling paint? Forty-year-old furnace? Tough, I got mine! We can always take pictures and whine about not having enough money to fix things and how evil you would have to be to be against that and POOF - more money!

Michael Gibson said...

PJ - I would appreciate if you would not bring Walden into the argument. Our solar panels (which we have successfully raised the money for, by the way) and rain gardens were not in any way funded by RUSD. Furthermore, the schools have more than peeling paint and 40 year old furnaces. We have century old furnaces and rusty pipes from which we are expected to drink from. Leave your sheltered community and take a walk through a public school.

Pariah Jeep said...

You know what Michael - I actually did read a comment from you. Guess what - regarding those "century old furnaces (let's say that is accurate, although you can Google 'natural gas furnace' and see if they were actually manufactured in 1908)", subtracting around the year 1993 from 2008 because that is when the referendums started, and you will see that the furnaces were 85 years old back then. No one would argue that this was way past the replacement life of these furnaces. How many contract negotiations and budgets have been conducted in this time period without spending the money to replace the furnaces? How much has spending increased in RUSD - mostly on salaries - during the period that everyone knew the furnaces need to be replaced?

Rusty pipes "that you have to drink from"? Did they go from pristine to rusty in the last fifteen years while teachers and (mostly) administrators and consultants were moving money out of RUSD in hand carts?

Pariah Jeep said...

. . . and one more thing, I sure do lead a "sheltered life". My wife and I bust our asses working hard every week, week after week. My wife and I pay over $7000 per year in property taxes on our house and have no children. My car is a 1989 model and her's is a 1996 because this is all we can afford in the face of all the luxuries we enjoy, like food, heat and the occasional vacation. Come to think of it we couldn't afford a honeymoon. We need a new roof on our house and are scrambling to figure out how to pay for it. Can we get the community to buy us two new cars and a new roof? After all, without the ability to live in our house and get to/from our jobs our tax contribution to RUS will evaporate.

It's for the children!