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Teachers have lost benefits they deserve

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BETH BURDICK
June 4, 2012
This is among commentaries submitted to The Gazette from students at Janesville’s Craig and Parker high schools who did field studies in either Washington, D.C., or Madison in Advanced Placement U.S. government courses taught by Joe Van Rooy.

When we think of first responders, police and firefighters come to mind. But teachers are also first responders to the needs of students.


All workers who dedicate themselves to their jobs deserve the benefits that are owed to them. Employers have a long history of avoiding paying the benefits that are owed to their workers. Thus, workers have fought back against this through use of unions and collective bargaining.


Public unions received a major blow when Wisconsin Act 10, known as the collective bargaining bill, was passed. When Rep. Joe Knilans was asked why the bill affected teachers but not firefighters and the police, he said, “Firefighters and police officers put their lives on the line and therefore have a protective status.”


Police officers and firefighters put themselves in physical harm’s way, but teachers put themselves in mental and emotional harm’s way. Walking the halls of Craig, it’s not uncommon to hear a student badmouthing a teacher. Teachers hear these words every day. It takes a toll. Yet they continue to get up every morning and come to school to work with ungrateful students, only to be slapped down by state government.


Christina Brey of the Wisconsin Education Association Council expressed her outrage when Gov. Walker made the biggest cuts to education in Wisconsin history. “Programs like gifted and talented, reading specialists and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) are losing education staff,” said Brey.


Loss of collective bargaining has made teachers lose the benefits they deserve.



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