Our Opportunity


by Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh

I have just finished reading the latest edition of “Education Weekly” and am struck by what I perceive as an opportunity to change the discourse around public education. Here’s why...

The headlines read:

  • “D.C. Success Must Go Beyond Test Scores, Study Says” (No kidding? Teachers have been saying this since the inception of NCLB. Could it be Michelle Rhee, former DC School Chancellor’s plan is NOT working?)
  • “State Moves to Shut Down Minn.’s First Online Charter” (Guess what?!! The audits revealed that students were graduating from the school without completing state-required coursework. Seems like this was brought up to our Utah policymakers as a concern with this year’s SB65, the online learning bill sponsored by Sen. Howard Stephenson.)
  • “Charter Schools Founder Fired” (For-profit greed? The founder was accused of ordering principals and teachers at six charter schools in the city to break the seal on state standardized tests and use the question to prepare students.)
  • “Duncan’s Alarm on ‘Failing’ Schools Raises Eyebrows” (Big Shock? Teachers are continually sounding the alarm with regard to the emphasis on testing mandates.)

Could it be the school reform measures being advocated by many are not grounded in research or best practices and, therefore, are doomed to failure? Looks like an opportunity for educators to take back their profession and ask the so-called “reformers” to watch and see how it’s done.


No Thanks Governor Walker

Date Posted: 5/1/2011 2:58:41 PM
Name: Steve

Lyn, It is important to be sure that you get the facts correct! The teachers in Wisconsin AGREED to all the cuts that Governor Walker propose in order to balance the budget. So the supposed "budget deficit" was taken care of. What did the Governor do? He split the bill and passed the funding piece because the teachers had already agreed to share the burden and then still went after their collective bargaining as a separate issue. This is not about protecting jobs and balancing the budget. It IS all about destroying the middle class and unions.

Gov. Walker and the Spin

Date Posted: 4/30/2011 7:19:18 PM
Name: Cindy Carroll

With all respect, Gov. Walker did not intend to help a bankrupt state, but wanted to disallow public employees from to collectively bargain their contracts. The Wisconsin Teachers' Association had already agreed to Gov. Walkers requested reductions. This was not enough. This compromise did not stop the governor from standing against labor. He went on to do away with collective bargaining law, proving what labor had been saying all along, it isn't about the money, but the power. Sad day for all of us when our rights to collectively bargain our working conditions are taken away.


Date Posted: 4/27/2011 10:28:57 AM
Name: Stuart

Without unions we would not have the standard of living we enjoy today!

Thank Gov. Walker's Efforts to Save Teachers' Jobs

Date Posted: 4/25/2011 3:39:10 PM
Name: Lyn Phillips

If the public school teachers would actually research the issues themselves, instead of blindly following what the UEA tells them to do, they would learn that Governor Scott Walker had a choice to make. He had the choice of letting his state government go banckrupt and lay off 1500 state workers, or cut a few benefits. He saved jobs. And the teachers and other public employees still have better benefits than most workers in WI. Those who have been protesting are protesting against the governor for saving their jobs (they obviously don't realize it, because they don't do their own homework), and are protesting against their fellow tax payers (and even themselves if they pay taxes). A kindergarten teacher in WI sent emailed death threats to Republican congressmen and their families. I read the emails. They were evil. I certainly would not want her around my child. I would not want my children to be "educated" by such ignorant people. Yes, keep up the protesting and the criticizing of state governments. Do not study the issues. Do not educate yourselves of how things really are. Please keep this up. And just maybe the UEA/NEA will self-destruct. I think that logic and good sense has left the picture with this whole thing.

NEA/UEA hates families' freedom of choice in education

Date Posted: 4/25/2011 1:11:15 PM
Name: Lyn Phillips

Talking points from the NEA website regarding charter schools: "It follows from these purposes that a charter should be granted only if the proposed charter school intends to offer students an educational experience that is qualitatively different from what is available to them in mainstream public schools, and not simply to provide a "choice" for parents who may be dissatisfied with the education that their children are receiving in mainstream public schools." Apparently the NEA/UEA does not like parents to have a choice in education. They like to be in the dictatorial positition. They want to be the ones to decide what's best for students. I appreciate the hard working school teachers, but the unions don't seem to have the students well-being at the fore front. I don't agree with federal employees being unionized, because ultimately, they are collectively bargaining against fellow tax-payers. Even FDR thought federal employees should not be unionized. I do think that teachers should be paid more, and they could if the public schools did a better job of using tax funds. Text books can cost $400 each, for example. A lot of other unnecessary waste is also going on. But it's quite annoying and just not right for the teachers unions to dictate whether or not charter schools can exist. That's not their business. The unions are to give teachers job protectioin and tell them how to vote. That's about it. That's your realm.

Neighborhood Schools

Date Posted: 3/25/2011 11:49:09 AM
Name: Tom

People like their neighborhood schools. It's the schools across town or in other states that are failing but their local schools are doing the job they want them too. Why, because people are concerned with their local neighborhoods. We need to remember that the best way to show concern globally is to act locally. Schools were originally set up to answer to local school boards who answered to local citizens. I don't think there are many communities that want their children to fail. Reformers should consider the best reforms that can be made are those that strengthen local schools, not dismantle them.

Really Marty

Date Posted: 3/24/2011 4:13:58 PM
Name: Don

UEA does not hate charter schools. What is unacceptable are charters not living up their charters which include an innovation clause. Many are being organized to compete with public/neighborhoods schools and offer no innovation. Fact is, most charters are not performing better than our neighborhood schools.

Charter Schools

Date Posted: 3/24/2011 3:12:38 PM
Name: Marty

Why does the UEA hate charter schools? Afraid of the competition?


Date Posted: 3/24/2011 2:52:02 PM
Name: Cheryl Dearing

Thanks for all the work you do in behalf of Utah teachers


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