Las Vegas Sun

April 27, 2015

Currently: 66° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

J. Patrick Coolican:

With arbitration ruling, teachers union wins battle but comes out a loser

J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican

A conundrum: Polls show that teachers are some of the most admired people in America. Yet, nearly half of the respondents in a 2011 Gallup poll said teachers unions hurt the quality of education, while just 26 percent said they helped.

Some of this is due to sustained attacks on unions from the conservative movement, but it’s also due to self-inflicted wounds such as we’ve seen this week from the Clark County Education Association.

In a written ruling about education that suffered from poor grammar, spelling and missing words, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the union in its contract negotiation with the Clark County School District, which means raises for some teachers and layoffs for others, according to the school district.

The union is playing right into the hands of anti-union forces, seeming to throw some of its members overboard and accepting increased class sizes in exchange for those raises.

Ruben Murillo, president of the Clark County Education Association, said the union believes the district has the money and should husband its resources better.

“We’re hoping to avert layoffs by working with the district to make sure their priorities are correct,” he said.

He called the arbitrator’s decision “bittersweet” because of the looming layoffs. But this would seem to be a tacit acknowledgement that the union’s victory will indeed lead to layoffs.

Murillo said the district should not have hired 800 teachers at the beginning of the school year knowing that tough negotiations were coming. He also said that once teachers announce they are retiring or leaving the district, the administration will be able leave openings unfilled rather than resort to layoffs.

But this misses the point. Unfilled positions have the same effect as layoffs: fewer teachers in classrooms and larger class sizes. What are parents supposed to think of this? Or rank-and-file teachers who will face even larger classes than the current warehouse conditions besetting many district schools?

The district, which faces a more than $60 million shortfall this coming school year, says 90 percent of its budget is personnel, which means layoffs are inevitable after the arbitrator’s decision.

In previous years — before Superintendent Dwight Jones took over in late 2010 — the district threatened layoffs during negotiations but never made good on the threats. This has union defenders saying the district is again crying wolf.

Not this time, Amanda Fulkerson, a district spokeswoman, told me.

“This is not a game of chicken. This is happening,” she said.

(If they turn out to be empty threats, I’ll be the first to write a column saying the district gamed the media; but again, unfilled positions will amount to the same thing — fewer teachers and larger class sizes.)

Fulkerson said the district has made $150 million in cuts this school year, including a 20 percent reduction in administration.

Murillo said the district has been so busy fighting the union that it has lost sight of the real problem: not enough money for education. “What I didn’t hear (Jones) do was attack the source of the problem, which is lack of proper funding for education in Nevada. We’d like to work with the district to present a plan to the Legislature to have adequate funding.”

Murillo noted that teachers haven’t received cost-of-living increases in several years (welcome to America) and spend a lot of their own money on education materials for their students and pursuing graduate work.

Fair points. According to a 2010 report from the National Center for Education Statistics, among the 20 largest school districts in the United States, Clark County ranked 13th in per-pupil spending. (The data are a little old, and years of budget cuts may make our current situation worse.)

Our district has big challenges — English language barriers, social ills such as poverty, and the difficulty recruiting and retaining teachers in such a tough environment — and we need more resources. Fine, but as of now, we have a zero-sum game. Money for raises means fewer teachers in the classroom.

And so the union has delivered, gift wrapped with a bow, an easy talking point to its critics in the Legislature. The union could have made concessions, as other public sector workers have the past few years, and kept more teachers in the classroom, thus lowering class sizes. Instead, they fought for their raises.

In other words, the union looks less like an education advocacy organization and more like just another special interest group.

Addendum: When I wrote that “The union could have made concessions, as other public sector workers have the past few years, and kept more teachers in the classroom, thus lowering class sizes,” I should have been more clear that I meant concessions in the current contract dispute. The union agreed in May 2010 to forgo raises based on experience.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 47 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Mr. Coolican...

    What in the world are you blathering on about?

    I'll 'bet you' this;
    Not ONE SINGLE TEACHER will lose their position over the arbitrator's ruling *(with the possible exception of a couple folks that deserve to be let go due to disciplinary issues).

    "(If they turn out to be empty threats, I'll be the first to write a column saying the district gamed the media; but again, unfilled positions will amount to the same thing -- fewer teachers and larger class sizes.)"

    So, in essence, you're saying 'it's the teacher's fault'...

    If CCSD HAS THE MONEY, (as the arbitrator has indicated in his ruling) but CHOSE NOT TO USE IT for the purpose of fulfilling contractual obligations to it's employees, it is somehow *(AND CONTINUALLY, IN PERPETUITY) INCUMBENT UPON TEACHERS to pay for the effort to reduce class sizes and other efforts the school district makes to improve education...these funds should COME OUT OF THE TEACHER'S POCKETS, instead of both realigning the current budgets AND demanding the state provide a PROPER AND ADEQUATE funding formula for it's school districts?

    Should the teachers feel GUILTY for having 'won' the arbitrator's decision?
    HE!! NO!
    But, on the whole, DO THEY have 'mixed feelings' over it?

    Contrary to popular opinion in Nevader, teachers are NOT STUPID...
    If 'the pie' is adequate to pay their salaries, and they have sacrificed FOR YEARS to the effort to retain their fellow cohorts AND prop up the state's MINIMALIST FUNDING FORMULA as adequate for the job when it is CLEARLY NOT, why would/should the teacher's say, 'well, heck; keep this year's increase and combine it with the last few year's increases and NEXT YEAR'S INCREASE, and 'retain a few of my comrades so class sizes will remain constant at a level that is already less-than-desirable for optimal educational outcomes?


    Mr. Lamy...
    As always, I enjoyed your insightful comments.
    Folks like you should be part of the discussion on 'how to' improve and drive education into the new millenia.
    You are one smart hombre, but WAAAAY BEYOND the grasp of this state's low-functioning functionaries.

  2. (I posted these on the other news item. It should have been posted here. Sorry Editors!)

    The arbitrators did NOT give us a raise. We merely get to keep what we have, such as it is.

    Last year, we agreed to freeze our salary. This year, we just get to keep what we have. THERE IS NO SALARY INCREASE! We do not get anything more in our paycheck. In fact, we get less because we now contribute to our medical insurance and our retirement. We do not have social security benefits nor unemployment benefits.

    We did NOT have a cost of living increase for a decade now and when money was plenty. All other government agencies - the state employees, other county employees, the police, the firemen, and everyone else got a raise. WE DID NOT! And their salary are way higher than ours. A plumber from the county whom I hired a few years back for my home's plumbing problems made $80,000 that year while I, with a masters' degree, made $38,000. My accountant told me that one of his clients, a dancer in a gentleman's club, reported $397,000 income that year.

    This is Las Vegas and I realize priorities are a bit askew. I don't begrudge them of their income because they deserve it considering the difficulty of their job. We have a very difficult job too with the pressures teachers have to deal with these days, in addition to the enormous responsibility of teaching and learning. Public apathy makes it painfully harder. We were left behind all these years, we just want to keep what we have.

    Direct your anger to where it belongs. Fight for responsibility and accountability in politics. Fight for fiscal responsibility from our school board, higher administrators, and state leaders. Fight for the removal of bad teachers and administrators, but leave a little dignity and appreciation for those who work their hearts out.

    Thank you very much.

  3. OK. You want us to be honest with kids:

    Here' the reality. You don't have to go to school. Be a drug dealer and you will make bank. You don't have to go to college. Just work in the entertainment industry. Heck a stripper can make hundreds of thousands. Rob a bank! Go to someone's house and steal their money and jewelry. Pretend to be a financial whiz and steal millions, even billions from your clients. Lie to people - become a politician and enrich yourself. Be a lobbyist. When you get a lot of money, be a corporate raider and make even more money.

    Do you want teachers to 'tell the truth' and encourage children that way? Oh, my job would be A LOT EASIER. There is plenty of 'realia' I can show them. The newspapers are full of them!

    This is what I fight against, every day of my life. And, it is getting extremely difficult:

    "My neighbor did not finish high school, but he has a red flashy car and a lot of gold around his neck."

    "My Mom showed me yesterday, how to hide a makeup I like at Walmart so we do not have to pay for it!"

    These comments came from my first graders a few years back. Just a few days ago, a boy came to school to report his mom and sisters are dead!

    Deal with that Uncle!

    Yes, I am putting a 'wool over my my students eyes.' Amidst this chaotic and apathetic society, I teach them RESPONSIBILITY, RESPECT, and RESILIENCE - something they DO NOT see every day.

    You bet I deserve the salary I get! If you don't think so, you can try it!

  4. You are paying US to take care of YOUR children because NOBODY else care or does.

    Here's a scenario, and a lot cheaper:

    Use the schools as day care warehouses. No 'highly-paid' teachers or 'highly-paid' administrators.

    Put computers in where children can play computer games all day long, until their parent remember to pick them up. They bring junk food they eat all day long while at the computers. No PE, no Music, no Library, no Art. They fix the computers themselves.

    Hire security guards at the doors. You don't need books and other materials. Just uniforms and batons for the guards. If there is a fight among the children, let them be - survival of the fittest. You don't need a cafeteria. You don't need a gymnasium, you don't need sports. You don't need theaters. You don't need musical instruments. And, least of all, you do not need teachers or administrators to tell them what to do.

    How's that scenario working for you.

  5. Teachers are the union. When union leaders asked teachers if the wanted to accept a salary reduction teachers said no. They were tired of propping up the school district and state on their backs. The district agreed to arbitration. It is a fair system. When Jones and the district won arbitration a few months ago to keep money they unilaterally took from our paychecks you did not hear Dr. Jones complaining about the system.
    Where does this sentiment come from? How dare teachers ask to keep a living wage! After all, they are just teachers!
    Yes, you will be gamed. Keep an eye on how many long term subs will be hired to save money and provide substandard education to our students.


  6. Oh, yes, you can bet they'll increase class sizes, then say, "The teachers did it! The teachers did it!"

    Did you ask how many licensed teachers are in non-teaching positions and could be put back in the classroom?

    Did you ask about how much money was wasted recently on nonsense that will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help children, such as "performance zones" and the new star rating system?

    Did you remind your readers that DURING THE BOOM WE SUFFERED WHILE EVERYBODY ELSE WAS PROSPERING? Now that it's a bust, "YOU HAVE TO SHARE THE PAIN!" you all yell.

    I'm not disagreeing with you that it makes teachers look bad, but that's not because teachers are bad, that's because people are angry and ignorant. They are taking their anger out on the wrong people.

    BTW, teachers, this is a columnist who hawked "Waiting for 'Superman'".

  7. "The union could have made concessions, as other public sector workers have the past few years, and kept more teachers in the classroom, thus lowering class sizes."


    Have you compared what teachers make over years to what average school police officers make? To what most government employees make?

    It's not "the union" making teachers look bad; it's local journalists. You expect this from the RJ. Too bad the Sun is jumping on the same teacher-bashing bandwagon.

  8. Does anybody know if in the contract the district has with the union there is a class size limit?

  9. "For you teachers that survive these impending layoffs, your students in the classroom are not stupid. They know each one of you would leave them abandoned in a burning building to serve your best interests."

    OMG, BradleyC, really? Really?

    Anyway, there are enough overpaid firefighters to take care of that, aren't there? How about the school police officers who make more than teachers?

  10. I wish this decision had come out May 1st. What a perfect nail in the coffin of unions in this country. The vitriolic anti-union message is just another way that we have ceded the middle class to the whims of politicians and big business.

    So teachers can't dare ask for a decent middle class living? If they do they are greedy? Please.

    Why has no one mentioned the fact that when the Sun started their "exclusive" stories on Mr. Jones' "turnaround" schools they lost a little bit of their reporting independence. This whole town seems to be in Dwight's pocket. He must be some terrific salesman. He is because no one is mentioning the fact that he demanded a huge salary to come here from Denver and then immediately demanded paycuts from almost everyone in the district. I'll be surprised if he doesn't take his cool million he'll pocket after about three years and be off.

  11. Chuck, there are basically no limits on anything in our contract, and that includes basically no limits on extra hours and hours of work that your principal can tell you that you have to do to institute this and that program that the principal wants, even if you know it's a worthless waste of your time.

    Limits? There were class sizes DURING THE ECONOMIC BOOM of more than 40,50,60.

  12. The school Administration needs to be cut by way more than 20%. How many 6 figure jobs does it take to run a school district?

    And for the record, I object strongly to the notion that all parents are absentee. That generalizaion is no different than saying all teachers are greedy.

    And also for the record, teachers don't make a lot of money, and they don't get social security or medicare, they have PERS, and that benefit comes from the taxpayers. So, it's not just your salary but your retirement also that the taxpayers pay for.

    I don't have that safety net, but I sure pay for yours.

  13. This just opens the door to get rid of The Public School System to Those For Profit Charter Schools with less oversight from the State, less rules,no unions and the use of taxpayer's dollars. Parent's love these schools they believe they are better. If you CAN'T FIX THE SYSTEM PRIVITIZE IT.

  14. Should any district comply with No Child Left Behind FEDERAL mandates (in order to get Federal funding), certain Title 1 Schools are required to have restricted class sizes. It is routinely circumvented by school districts by the Administrating Principal of such a school, to kindly ask teaching staff to SIGN a WAIVER(at least in prior years) so that class size will be INCREASED. It is all legal, and has zero to do with what teachers believe is in the best interest of classes.

    As you can well imagine the pressure in signing such a WAIVER, if a teacher does NOT.

    After the last few years of economic crisis, most students have felt the cuts, in the form of reduced classroom supplies, teachers not having adequate paper for providing working copies, fewer after school programs, and the use of long term substitutes. It takes longer for burnt transformers in classroom light fixtures to be serviced, and incentive prize boxes for motivation and rewards are getting leaner.

    But let me tell you, in my parts, students still know in their hearts, the incredible love and care teachers at their school have for them. You have evidence of that with the letters that they write to these teachers, and the impromptu hugs manifested throughout the day. Their day is spent in trying hard---learning and showing that they have learned. Their faces and conversations are full of happiness, glad to be in class and at school, running to their classrooms as soon as the gates open, to greet their teacher, be helpful with classroom chores, and sharing with their fellow students. They are NOT caught up in the hatred, condemnation, and bitterness that is spewed in the media by adults. How could that be? Part 1 of 2

    Blessings and Peace,

  15. Continued-Part 2 of 2
    Yesterday, while leaving after hours from school, five children came my way. The one thing they know in life is that they can ask a teacher. A little 3 year old was with older siblings across the street playing at the park (which has NO restroom facilities), and the oldest, her 4th grade brother, knew she couldn't make it all the way home to relieve herself. Of course I escorted her and the next youngest little girl to the staff ladies room even though it is not my responsibility to tend to children after school. There were other staff in the building. Point is, that children in our society understand the life mission of educators. They maintain that respect until they equate money into popularity, and greed becomes the center of proving yourself in life. Then football heroes and basketball stars are idolized because of money, not the goodness of the person.

    Nevada needs to change its tax structure to meet the needs of the People in Nevada. For over a century, LAWMAKERS have kicked that political can down the road, and now we have an economic crisis that is screaming out to LAWMAKERS to finally address this decades neglected problem. Nevada's infrastructure cannot possibly continue the course its been on: it is dysfunctional and ineffective, and no longer able to serve the People of Nevada.

    It is a waste of time to hate. Let's use time wisely and create solutions. Education is a sound-byte in the BIG picture of Nevada's problem landscape.

    Blessings and Peace,

  16. I have had the honor and privilege to stand at Frank Little's grave site and read the inscription "Slain by capitalist interests for organizing and inspiring his fellow men". I've stood at the Labor Day parades in Butte, Montana and watched retirees from Miner's Local Union #1 march and celebrate their struggles with the ACM...Anaconda Copper and Mining...the Company. Coolican, you can't take one incident and forget about the context. Unions are collectivist organizations whose purpose is to better the economic and social conditions of their members and, by extension, their communities. They have been remarkedly successful in advancing those goals. When I first moved to Montana many years ago the state AFL-CIO regularly met with the Farmers' Union, the Grange and even the more conservative Farm Bureau. They lobbied the leg alongside the Bar Association, the Medical Association and other like-minded collectivist groups. The Chamber is one, as is the Newspaper Publishers association and the National Association of Manufactures. Why is it acceptable for the capitalists to engage in concerted collective action on behalf of their membership but it is not acceptable for the working class?

    CCEA did the right thing for the majority of its members. We demonstrated to a neutral third-party arbitrator that the District had the ability to honor its contract with us. That they choose not to do so is an indictment of their integrity, not ours. The District wanted the ability to remove ineffective's in the arbitrators decision at our request. The District wanted criteria other than seniority...same thing. Certainly those items are weighted in our favor...that's our responsibility to our members. Remember too that this contract covers all teachers, not just dues paying members.

    We've given a big victory to the anti-union forces. You mean those groups that organize and act in exactly the same manner that a union does, working collectively for the interest of their members? See my first paragraph. We have no obligation to cooperate with those folks whose stated purpose is to destroy us. If we have offended their tender sensibilities then too bad....perhaps they can join in a damaged self-esteem therapy group.

    If it were not for the Federation of Teachers and the Education Association the state of education in the United States would be poorer still. We might even have states placing creationism in science curriculums and banning hand-holding as a gateway sexual activity.

  17. Why do school districts have unions? Was there a time in American history when teachers were forced to work long hours with no over time pay? Where teacher forced to work in dangerous buildings that threatened their well being? I don't remember ever hearing about any of that. So why do schools districts have unions? Oh yeah, so unions can make money. Get rid of unions and get rid of the problem.

    I wonder if people even realize the there are far more teachers that DON'T belong to the teachers unions than those that do.

    Also I'm sick of hearing or seeing posts like the one above saying they only earned so much with a masters degree and some stripper earned hundreds of thousands or some plumber earned $80,000. It was your choice to go into a field that you know has never paid a lot. If you wanted to make a ton of money maybe you should head to the gym and start working out. Don't act like you went through all this school and found out what you went for wasn't a super high paying job.

  18. So far, my child has not had a crappy teacher. She loves school and comes home every day telling me something new that she learned. I know what the curriculum for her grade is and the children in that classroom are getting that and more. My daughter is challenged to think, to problem solve, to research, to write about what she has learned, to use her imagination, to take what she has learned previously and apply it to new situations. In other words, what she is getting at school is simply an extension of what she learns at home. I'm not worried about my daughter's education in the public schools. From personal experience, I know what it takes to educate kids in the classroom, and based on what my daughter does at school, I know for a fact that these teachers are going above and beyond what is required in order to provide a quality education for their students.

    The fact of the matter is that teachers HAVE had their pay frozen for years. They haven't received COLA increases. If they wanted to have any chance of receiving any pay increase, they have taken their precious time and money and done what the contract stipulated...received more education. The district and the newspapers claiming that teachers have not made any concessions is patently false. Too bad the public falls for the lies, every.single.time.

  19. Endless inane comments by "teachers." Where are the moderators?

  20. ccsd: Average per pupil funding. 51st in results.

  21. Roslend @7:59 inane [adj] senseless, unimaginative, devoid of intelligent content, also see fatuous or vacuous.

    Apparently you have some familiarity with the word.

  22. Aside from Coolicans' comment about the true cause being lack of funding... Coolicans' usual more taxes is a good thing approach... he did highlight the real issue, will teachers eat their own to pad their pockets?

    As the teachers union and thus the teachers always accuse the taxpayer and parents of punishing children to avoid tapping their wallet, it is now our turn to see if our teachers will come together and choose our children over personal gain.

    Will teachers sacrifice those without seniority, tell students and parents to eat cake or will they act in the way they demand of others?

    Possible? Yes. Likely? We'll see.

    It's time to stand up and be counted.

  23. @Roslenda "ccsd: Average per pupil funding. 51st in results."

    Actually, Nevada ranks 2nd to last (49th for those too uneducated to do the math) in per pupil funding. Only New Jersey spends less. Page 10, top right corner...

    There are 50 states, we cannot be "51st in results" Please educate yourself before posting absurd "facts" that you make up.

  24. Sorry, NJ is the highest, Idaho is the worst...

  25. Good point Dale, it is time to stand and be counted and teachers have through their representative organization, the CCEA.

    Why is it that we should sacrifice when few others are doing so? If it's as bad as you imply and we're all in the lifeboat together then explain to me how come the bankers and financiers don't seem to be stepping up to the plate? How come the corporations are hanging onto cash rather than creating jobs? How come the Dow is way back up? How come the R-money crowd is raking it in and paying less than 15% income taxes?

    Ohhhhh no, Mr. wharfrat you've just brought up class warfare. Too bad, you declared it, I'll fight back. I'm sick and tired of you folks who aren't represented by unions try to drag us down rather than standing up for yourselves.

  26. In my haste I read the data backwards... NV is the 3rd lowest.

    "States with the highest per student expenditures: New Jersey ($16,967), New York ($16,922), Vermont ($16,308), Rhode Island ($15,384), and Wyoming (15,345). Arizona ($6,170), Utah ($6,859), Mississippi ($7,752), Nevada ($7,813), and Idaho ($7,875) had the lowest per student
    expenditures (H-11)."

  27. The people understand that unions are part of the PROBLEM and will never contribute to the SOLUTION. So you can admire teachers for all the do, you can be contemptuous of their union because it is a hindrance to better education in this state and country.

  28. Matt Philips says "There are 50 states, we cannot be "51st in results" Please educate yourself before posting absurd "facts" that you make up."

    Wow Matt, must be embarassing for you to read the very first sentence on page 2 of the report you cited which states "This publication, Rankings of the States 2010, contains rank-ordered statistics for the 50 states and the District of Columbia." which would, of course, mean that all of the rankings reported do range from 1st to 51st.

    Next time maybe you should try actually reading the report you cited and educate yourself before making yourself look like a fool with an insulting comment that is contradicted by your own reference.

    So it's good that you remembered that there are 50 states....bad that you forgot that the District of Columbia is almost always included in state level breakdowns....and really bad that you chose to smack others down erroneously.

    And for the record, if there are three entries below Nevada (AZ, UT, MS) that would make Nevada 4th lowest, not 3rd lowest.

    The chart you would have needed to look at would be chart H-11 on page 51 which shows nevada ranked at number 48 out of 51.

  29. And let's not overlook that the arbitrator found that "the District does have the ability to pay".

    The school district was found to have enough money to continue to pay the teachers at the level they agreed to when they signed the current contract. The district is simply choosing to spend that money elsewhere.

    So why is this getting spun as "Union victory causes layoffs" rather than "District's choice to spend money on areas other than contractual obligations causes layoffs"?

  30. Shannon, because whether Nevada ranks last, next to last, or 4th from last depends entirely on which source and which breakdown you use, whereas the person I chastised failed to stop at "Hey, I found a chart showing Nevada 4th lowest, not last" and instead made a complete fool of himself over whether or not a state could be ranked 51st.

    As to sources and breakdowns, try looking at Nevada's rankings even within a single source but taking in different defnintions of "per pupil funding". Do you mean... amount of money spent on any area deemed "education" within the state? amount of money that actually reaches public schools in Nevada?

    ..."per pupil" based on enrollments at the beginning of the year?

    ...END of the school year?

    ...are ADA and special needs pupils and funding included or not since they have different funding sources and needs?

    ...WHICH school year are the numbers even for?

    So I guess I have to say that Matt didn't "disprove" anything. He simply provided a separate source with a slightly different result.

    Specific rankings always comes down to "choice of methodology".

  31. Shannon, agreed. She should provide something to support her claim.

    (which is an odd claim in the first place because she's claiming that the CCSD ranks 51st.....but CCSD isn't a state, it's a school district. How many school disticts are there? 51st out of how many?)

    I responded to Matt primarily because, for better or worse, minunderstanding or misrepresenting facts is a common occurance here, but attacking someone on their facts....while completely misunderstanding/misrepresenting the facts you think proved your case is fairly egregious.

    The first is all two often a case of someone repeating something they heard without doing their own research. The second was someone doing their research and then blatantly mangling the results of that research.

    My guess is that he did a Google search and pulled a quote directly from the target....without taking the time to read the document he found in full. A sad mistake all too often made.

    But we see it all the time. Not to push any buttons but how often in here do we see claims of "The US Supreme Court declared Bush the winner of the election" citing Bush v. Gore or "The US Supreme Court says corporations are people" citing Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission? In both cases I can immediately determine that the writer has NOT taken the time to actually read either decision. While thos emight be what talkign heads boiled down some of the effects of the decision to be, in neither case is it what the actual decison said.

  32. Actually, the Union looks more like the Nevada Government, the school district administration and the residents since neither are truly education advocacy groups.

    The residents say they want more and better education but can't support the institution. This is like drafting an Army and giving them bamboo sticks to win the war, just send more privates, like in Viet Nam.

    Increase the class sizes and force them to learn more. Sounds more like spit wad city. When the classes became too big in our High School, it wasn't safe to walk by an open window.

    All this for Iraq ! Unlimited borrowing and spending by the hundreds of billions, then stand by while the THIEVES in Real Estate made their big commissions, now this. That's why more than 50% of the homes sold are for cash. The Thieves made a bundle emptying the treasuries of this country and now education pays for it.

  33. RE@11:44.......class warfare has been around a lot longer than me and thee. The only time it seems to be such a shock is when the proles get tired of their condition and start stirring up a fuss. Can you imagine the horror of it, Metsican field hands wantin' me to pay 2 cents more for a tomato so they can feed their kids; factory workers wantin' safety and health protection; teachers wantin' a middle class living comensurate with their education.

    I'm a foot soldier in class warfare and damn proud of it.

  34. Re,

    In your delusional world it's always the rank and file at fault. Apparently grotesquely inflated salaries, bonuses tied to simply breathing rather than stock performance and lavish allowances and company provided perks are perfectly normal. In the mid 50's those corporate salaries were significantly less than now. Blue collar workers could afford a modest home and a car and the missus could stay home. Oh.....union membership was about 37% of the private sector workforce. When I see the Tea Party folks and their signs demanding to take back the country and return to those simpler times I gotta wonder if they understand the economic structure of those times.

    GM didn't lose market share due to unions, they lost market to increasing global competition, an inability to react flexibly to that competition and a moribund product line from a conservative management.

    We should go have a beer and argue long as it's union made beer. Coolican should buy.

  35. Why to hostility to unions, ordinary working-class folks. I could understand outrage at, say, defense contractor and their Congressional handmaidens. We've moved way beyond $600 toilet seats to planes that can't fly and ship that develop stress fractures and take on water at a cost of billions....and don't get me started on Dick Cheney and Halliburton.

    Of course unions are special interest groups. If you're a union-buster then you and your organization are as well.

    The fact is, in this case of CCEA v CCSD, the union is in the right, the arbitrator supported our position because we made our case. That Jones and the District are continuing a scorched earth policy indicates that they have no desire to move forward to plan and implement a system for improving a dismal district in a dismal state. Teachers and their union are not the problem, they are a part of the solution. The current reform fad of demonizing teachers and teacher unions is simply a straw man to divert attention from the fact that very few jurisdictions have made successful transition to high-achievement education without broad community/parental support, stakeholder buy-in and money. Local example, the turnaround schools: add 750K a year to their budgets, repair the physical plant, require parental involvement, get better quality teachers and administrators and pay them more and, miracle, it works.

  36. The ones that lose are the taxpayers.

    Teachers can't do anything but read from a playbook and follow the playbook. Yes they spend on a lot on education to become teachers and they've paid their dues and expect to be paid more than they are paid. Still, this is career choice they made and until they change their system with the liberals, it's not going to get any better. Get use to it and stop expecting us to pay for a broken system, we're sick of it.

    Kids will never become all they could be until teachers and parents are afforded the freedom to teach kids like it's supposed to be done. The liberal's infestation into the educational system has desecrated our educational system where kids have no earned consequences for not doing their homework or school work, it's sickening. Kids need more than natural consequences, as they hit the wall, they need to know it's wrong, simply giving a bad grade does nothing, making excuses is even worse. They become adults and they've learned what liberals wanted them to learn. Somebody else or something else is to blame, not them.

    Look at society as a whole, it's messed up. If one really has an open mind and accepts reality. Look at their idols, lmao. Who would ever imagine brainless people making millions being stupid? I know I never imagined this would occur in my life, it did.

  37. Bob Realist...

    Right on the money.
    Dwight Jones is an unmitigated DISASTER.

    But, he DID have the big brainy idear to 'rank' schools on a "Star System"...
    Now, THAT was sheer GENIUS!!!

  38. Mr Freeman:

    You are so proud of your union busting skills, why don't you go bust the biggest money grabbers of all? They are the congressmen and senators, the Ponzi schemers, the mortgage frauds, the band of CEOs who make themselves billions by corporate raiding, and union busters such as yourself who mess up other people's lives for their measly salaries.

    Oops! I forgot. You are one of them!

  39. I wonder if Coolican gets paid by the number of responses his columns generate. A commission system sort of like where we are headed with teachers.....more passed proficiency tests, more graduates = more pay.

    I have been involved in union activities for many years and one thing that strikes me odd about this situation is how rapidly it has deteriorated from a collaborative to an adversarial in the course of several years. Bob Realist brought up several valid points in his 6:09, May 4 post. At the time of Jones' hiring several commenters suggested waiting until a new Board was in place and more thoroughly vetting candidates. That was not done and, perhaps, that rush to judgement with Jones the last man standing has saddled us with an inadequate candidate.

    That said, several on and off-site administrators whose judgement I trust have told me that they believe Jones has potential to remake the District but that he is getting bad advice from entrenched OG administrators bent on guarding their sinecures. Consider that Jones actually has only one independent administrator of his own choosing....Pedro Martinez. You may not like him because he is not an "educator" but bringing in a fresh perspective rarely hurts organizations. How many of the OG are hoping to damage Jones by omission or commission?

    CCSD and CCEA should quickly move to get beyond the current imbroglio. The Board needs to quickly and firmly provide direction to District administration and teachers need to do the same with CCEA.

  40. Mr. Freeman:

    Bill O'Brien, President and CEO of Hanover Insurance said:

    "...organizations do not provide significantly unique opportunities to command the loyalty and commitment of our people. The ferment in management will continue until organizations begin to address the higher order needs: self-respect and self-actualization (referring to Maslow's hierarchy of needs)..... there is an enormous reservoir of untapped potential in people that can be channeled more productively than it is.... you create organizations that are more in line with human nature---- yet, everywhere we look we see society in a terrible mess of self-centeredness, greed, and nearsightedness. The potential of businesses to contribute toward dealing with a broad range of society's problems is enormous.... We must learn to harness the commitment of our people - then our commitment to building a better world will have some meaning."

    That is a hallmark of leadership. Denigrating people and pushing them toward poverty and deprivation do not make your type of work worthwhile.

    Your posts do not convince people your work is anything but for self-aggrandizement. Stop hurting the poor. Stop calling the poor lazy. Opportunities do not come to them in a silver platter like your more affluent friends do. Inefficiency in government is not their fault. Everybody cheats the government, including your friends - only your friends do it in a bigger and more sophisticated scale.

    Good luck to you here and the hereafter.

  41. First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    By Pastor Niemoller

  42. At the beginning of the school year my daughter who is a Sophmore came to me very excited, she decided she wants to be a high school science teacher. She loves the subject and her teacher makes it fun and interesting. Now we are at the end of the school year and the last thing she wants to do is teach high school anything.
    Most of the students have stopped listening the teacher, they are rude to each other and rude to the teacher. She is so sick of watching her teacher attempt to teach and make a difference. She is in a school that is striving to increase its graduation rate so no matter how hard the teachers and administration try to enforce the rules, the students know their are very few real repercussions for their actions. The only ones truly worried about their behavior and consequences are the good kids who think college is the future.
    I am saddened to say that I am no longer encouraging her to be a teacher. The students are obnoxious, the parents think they have the right to scream at teachers because their little angels are never wrong, the administration for the school district is currently attacking their own teachers and the public seems to think they have a right to decide what a college educated teacher should make and be allowed to do in their job. Why would I encourage my child to take a job full of these daily abuses and challenges for a wage that will not allow her to live on her own unless she takes on another job as well. In ten years if we keep this up we will not have any good teachers left.
    The amazing part is the teachers themselves still try to convince my kids that it will be alright. They tell my kids to go to school to learn to teach because it will all turn around again in a couple of years and the kids are worth it. I wish I had that same optimism in the system that the teachers do. I guess that's why they continue to teach no matter how rude the public, the school district, the students and the parents get.

  43. "The concept you described is a respectful workplace environment."

    Mr. Freeman:

    Have you ever wondered how that environment became that way?

    Respect is earned - not given freely. Read about great leaders. Analyze the leadership styles of the bosses of the company you are trying to get unions busted. Maybe they can learn something about true leadership.

    Please stop citing data and numbers. They are meaningless. Solutions that work before do not necessarily mean it will work again. One has to understand problems in the current contexts. They never are the same.

  44. Shannon: read Jon Ralston--Nevada pays average (nationwide) for per pupil funding in toto (look up the word) but gets 51st results. Arizona spends $1,000 per pupil per year less and gets graduates who can read and write despite ELL and other similar issues. All of the rest of the world (except Switzerland) pays LESS than Americans for K-12. If you want to see the citations, do a web search. But again, thank you for emphasizing my posts.

  45. teacher: LEO's work about twice the hours you do. Where was I: It DIDN'T HAPPEN. Teachers have received raise and raise and perq after perq ever since (and before) Guinn was Governor and kept raising taxes. Now we can't afford to support ourselves 'cause we're too taxed to pay for a broken K-12 where teachers are concerned only about compensation.

  46. 'Roslenda'...

    I smell a roseanrose.
    How many screen names do you use?

    Your obvious bias against teaching professionals is typical of the TeaNut JUST DO NOT GET IT, and you post just to aggravate people.
    Your incessant need to denigrate (look it up) and marginalize these hard-working, dedicated souls is silly.
    Are you a former teacher who couldn't hack the classroom???

  47. Love how the conversation changed from whining teachers and their union to automobile quality and their unions...

    Unions in all trades regardless are useless. Unions of today aren't the union of the past. Unions today are all about the union bosses and how much they can suck off their members. Union of today take no pride in who they allow in their trades where they employ anyone who is willing to pay the initiation dues, monthly dues and man the phone banks when it comes election time and one who will beat to the drum they're told to beat. In other words, they're brainless trolls that take no pride in the quality of the work provided or the end result of their work product.

    Show me a union member who claims their union is good, I'll show you a liar every time.