Letter to the Editor

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at 10:05pm

I'm an MNEA member, i.e., a union teacher. My students are ranked at the top in the country on their national exams. They often score an 800 on the SAT II test in my (specialization) area. So being a union teacher is neither here nor there.

To make a school work at its best, you need cooperation between the administration, faculty, students and parents. Charter schools are about that cooperation and what is best for a school. The “one size fits all” attitude is part of the problem with education today — not the “union teachers.”

Posted by “howelln” 

Filed under: City Voices

66 Comments on this post:

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 6:35

Good moring


By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 6:41

In today ever changing world, with almost instantaneous anything we look for the quit fix or blame to everything. We expect a problem to be solved or a murder solve within an hour and if not then we must lay the responsibility on someone else.

It takes a village to raise a child.

By: dargent7 on 12/16/10 at 7:03

Anyone who can score a 800 on the SAT II is abnormal.
Besides a Bill Gates, we earthlings score around a 550.
With a tail wind.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 7:10

Good morning d7. How you doing today?

By: house_of_pain on 12/16/10 at 7:19

Good Morning.

By: house_of_pain on 12/16/10 at 7:20

Nemo, I blame idgaf. This is all his fault.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 7:22

I wonder where that old fool is.

By: house_of_pain on 12/16/10 at 7:28

He has a facebook page.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 7:31

Really. Then he is still around.

By: yogiman on 12/16/10 at 7:51


There apparently is still a few intelligent people in this world. I haven't been able to figure them out yet, but there certainly aren't any of them in our legislature.

I wish howelln could take them into his/her? class, unless he's/she's? lying.

Have you read where Oba ma is quietly working to open our North and South borders?

By: HokeyPokey on 12/16/10 at 7:53

Who wrote this nonsense anyway? This here is T.n. and we hate us some unions. All of us conservatives hate us some unions, unions and liberals are the curse of humanity and we will never go nowhere as no country until we gets us rid of ever dad-blamed one of um.

Boy do I feel stupid before breakfast.


By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 7:56

Yes dargent do you read Paranoia Magazine? I understand that it keeps all the crazies informed on the latest conspiracy.

By: Loner on 12/16/10 at 8:32

Good morning, Nashville!

You folks know my views on this topic.

Union-bashing is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the GOP and even more so for its spin-off klan of kooks, the Tea Baggers. For the elected GOP and Baggers, It's simple a matter of reiterating standard management rhetoric; these pompous guys and bimbonic gals are paid-off lackies, beholden to anti-labor special interests. The USSC opened the floodgates for corporate, special-interest cash to flow unimpeded to our cash-hungry lawmakers....things will only get worse.

Unions are not without guilt, blame or fault in most cases; but management must also share the responsibility for performance, or the lack thereof. Management has often failed the "vision thing".... you can't hold the hourly-wage earners responsible for that.

Folks seem to forget that all of the benefits that every worker now takes for granted were not freely given away by enlightened management. No, things like a 40-hour work week, overtime pay, paid vacation, sick days, retirement, healthcare and other benefits were not given away, they were earned at the bargaining tables. Non-union workers have benefited from the advances in the value of a person's labor that collective bargaining made possible.

The right-wing demagogues would like to see American workers brought down to size, they blame worker benefits for the economic hard times; that and intrusive, burdensome governmental regulations and onerous taxation.

These nominally Christian folks would like to roll the calendar back to the days of Charles Dickens' when horrific working conditions were very common.....and when regulations and taxes were non-existent or easily managed.

Beware of ardent union-bashers, if they are not independently wealthy, they are useful idiots for those who are.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 8:34

Yesterday’s yogi 10:01post is laughable. …”It's a shame God didn't give you more common sense than he did. Question: what would you do if you wanted to buy a bottle of beer in a market and was asked for proof of your age? By the law our beloved government has issued for the 'benefit' of 'we the people', you would have to prove your age. How many times in your life have you presented your birth certificate to prove you was who you said you was? Now, use the other side of that brain. What makes you so sure Obama is really a citizen of the USA? Because he said so? I can only assume you don't believe he has told a single lie while sitting in that office.”…
First he complains that God didn’t give me more common sense. This comes from a man that only has half a brain and the missing part of his brain is logic among others. Plus who is he to tell God what to do. I think yogi has a little too much ego.
The he go off on a tantrum about buying beer a being and proof of my age and how many times I have to show my birth certificate to prove who I am. Oh gosh let me see how many times it has been now…. I can think of once when I got my pass port. I don’t remember any other time.

I must ask you yogi do you have a certificate to show proof of your sanity?

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 8:36

Good morning Loner. I wish you would just say what you think. lol

By: slacker on 12/16/10 at 8:38

I bought a new pair of Union made overalls once. I found a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich in the right rear pocket.

By: Loner on 12/16/10 at 8:40

Morning, Captain, Nemo...you are right, I gotta quit sugar-coating my language.

Morning to you other posters too...Yogi, Darge, House and Hokey (sounds like the name of a law firm?)

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 8:40

You are correct Loner about the unions and how we all have a better life because of unions. I have never been a member of a union, but I have benefited from them.
I suppose this bonehead could think differently if the corporation manage to destroy the unions al together.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 8:42

So that is what happen to my peanut butter sandwich.

By: Loner on 12/16/10 at 8:42

That's funny slack and good morning to you too...are you sure that was a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich and not a soiled pampers, stuffed in their by a infant-bearing shopper on the run?

By: slacker on 12/16/10 at 8:46

Good morning Loner. I believe those overalls were made on a Monday, a usually big hangover day.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 8:46

The Law firm of Yogi, Dargent, House and Hokey. Shysters on the Run.

By: Funditto on 12/16/10 at 8:47

Id has a fb page? What name is it under? I'm curious.

By: Loner on 12/16/10 at 8:52

I would have thought that Idgaf would be featured on Assbook, not Facebook...(bah, dah Ding...boom-boom.)

Mornin' Funditto.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 8:56

LOL Loner. I love it.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 8:57

id and yogi would fit under the same dumbbell.

By: govskeptic on 12/16/10 at 8:59

A big problem within one element of education problems
to this reader is Tenure. It's granted too early, the evaluation
of whether to grant is poorly done, and evaluators that perform
same are usually unqualified to do so. Most students that have
poor teachers for two yrs in a row are in big-big trouble the
remainder of their K-12 education. If it must remain, there
should be a re-evaluation every 5 yrs.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 9:04

That is not a bad idea gov, how would you go about conducting this?

By: yogiman on 12/16/10 at 9:20

Captain Nemo,

In answer to your question at 8:3. I would be happy to compete with you on sanity at any time. I was told I made the highest score the had ever been made on the GED test when I went in the Navy at age 17. I thought the guy was lying but the brilliance I have obviously shown since then I'm sure that man was telling the truth.

And on you 8:57 statement; Is that where we met you?

By: yogiman on 12/16/10 at 9:23

Oh, and on your comment about my intelligence. I would be happy to take a competitive knowledge test with you, using only half of the the half-brain I still have.

By: house_of_pain on 12/16/10 at 9:25

Fun, it's under Frank Briamonte.

By: house_of_pain on 12/16/10 at 9:27

d7 also has a fb page...feel free to leave inappropriate comments on his wall.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 9:35

I never said anything about competed with you yogi. I am just crazy. You are just insane.

BTW I don’t think I have met you are id, but then again you are just insane.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 9:39

US officer faces prison in 'birther' court martial


By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 9:39

This silly man believed in the lie of the Birthers and now he is doomed.
“I don’t want (my career) to end this way,” a tearful Lakin said to military jurors during the sentencing phase of his trial Wednesday afternoon. “I want to continue to serve ... It crushed me not to be on deployment. I can be on a plane tomorrow. I’d truly do that.”

By: Captain Nemo on 12/16/10 at 9:58

I got to go to work. See you people later. You too yogi.

By: jcdad2003 on 12/16/10 at 10:18

I am a teacher and I am also anti- union. Loner you are correct in your statements that unions have made working conditions in this country 1000's times better, but unfortunately enough legislation has been passed to cause unions to loose their power. With this said, I have a hard time giving money over to a union president to pay his salary when he really doesn't accomplish anything for me, or share my same views. I agree tenure is something that needs to be looked at because to many teachers become complacent with their jobs, just like any government employee. But the evaluation plan put in place by ole' Phil, and the push by B.O. to hold teachers 100% accountable for a students success is wrong, also.

In one of the previous blogs someone mention management needed to be looked at, also. I appaulled your intellegients, because if any business operated the same way most school boards, or any government enity for that matter they would be bankrupt within a year. As the old saying goes we have way to many chiefs and not enough Native Americans (notice the political correctness).

Back to students not being held accountable for their own success. We as a society have become conditioned to expect things given to us without any effort on our part, that is not what the American Dream is all about. Ask any immigrant who comes to this country, and they will tell you that if you are willing to work for it, you can have a good life in America. Unfortunately, to many students are not willing to work for a good education.This is where the flaw in the evaluation system comes into play. As a teacher it is my job to not only educate the student, but also find ways to motivate students to want to learn. Even though I put forth my best effort everyday, I still have some students who refuse to even have enough self disipline to not desturb the whole class.

It is like taking on a building project. You given the designs, and the deadline for completion. Most times you are given extra time in your deadline to deal with unexpectant problems, and in most cases if those problems are to great you can usually extend the deadline. Better yet if needed you can also alter the design for problems that may arise. Unfortunately, teachers are given the expectations ,the state standards, and the deadline. Neither one can be adjusted, so when a teacher is faced with what I have been faced with it makes the evaluation a little unfair.

I teach fifth and sixth grade math, which has a strong concentration in fractions. My challenge is the majority of my students still can not multiply and divide, so I am having to take time that i should be using to teach 5th and 6th grade math standards to teach 3rd grade math. To put it into terms of the building example, I am having to go back and tear down a load bearing wall and rebuild it properly because the previous builder used a wall jack (calculator) to do the job. That is the easiest way to teach a child who is not understanding the concept. The problem is this approach only cripples a child.

By: HokeyPokey on 12/16/10 at 10:40

jcdad2003, you're a teacher and you don't know the difference between "loose" and "lose?"

How about "loser?"


By: dargent7 on 12/16/10 at 10:46

Personally, I have under retainer, the law firm of, "Click, Clack & Cluck".
They specialize in malfeasence, money laundering, jury tampering.
Also represent the Detroit Lions for fraud.
ps: "pain": my full time job is deflecting all the rich, white, Christian Republicans over at there other Mein Kampf paper.

By: gdiafante on 12/16/10 at 10:48

Really...out of that intelligent post you focus on one typo?

By: HokeyPokey on 12/16/10 at 10:55

it wasn't a typo, it's a common error made by computer people who learn grammar from DOS error messages.

Trust me on that one.


And the jury's out on how much actual intelligence there is in the post. Treating your students as products on an assembly line is one theory of pedagogy, but I gave up my subscription to that one some time ago.

OTOH, I have a life-long subscription to the notion that parents should teach and drill their children on their math facts before they're turned over to schoolteachers. If you don't know your math facts, you're forever behind in any math class. That and hand-make nourishing lunches for each child, each morning, and whip them bloody if they don't eat them and eat junk food instead.

By: Loner on 12/16/10 at 11:05

I see your point(s) jcdad2003. True, many of the gains made by organized labor are now state and/or federal law. As we have seen, laws can be circumvented, abolished or made impotent. Unions are a balancing force that keeps those laws in place.

Here's how you teach fractions: Order a six piece pizza for every three kids; you'll see that they already understand the concept, if not the terminology. Once they are stuffing their pie-holes, you might be able to go from there, into how to fairly pay for the pizza....fortunately, our decimal-based monetary system lends itself well to teaching the idea of fractions to kids.

Maybe you can get a discount deal with a local pizzeria....it's for the children!
Oh yeah, make sure it is a healthy-diet sort of pizza and that it violates no kid's religious beliefs....you don't want the food police or Jihadis busting into your classroom.

I salute you, as a teacher, I know the job ain't easy.

By: AmyLiorate on 12/16/10 at 11:25

I'm with GD. There were two typo's but I'm not going to call the other one out because that was a great post jcdad and we all hit the wrong key once in a while.

Thanks for taking time to say that JC.

By: manotin on 12/16/10 at 11:26

Let's take the red pen to a portion of jcdad2003's entry.

"put in place by ole' Phil"
That should be "ol' Phil"
"for a students success"
That should be "student's success."
"success is wrong, also." "to be looked at, also."
Stylistically poor structure.
"someone mention management"
That should be "mentioned."
"I appaulled your intellegients,"
Really? A teacher wrote this?
"government enity for that matter they would be bankrupt within a year."
"Entity," not "enity." Comma after the "enity" and "matter." Number agreement
between "enity" and "they."
As the old saying goes we
Comma after "goes."

The problems go on and on. This response is appalling. If I had turned in writing like this in high school, my teacher would have lost control and beaten me seneseless. I understand how this format can lead to some sloppy typing because it happens to me all the time, but please proof your work. Especially if you are presenting yourself as an educator.

By: AmyLiorate on 12/16/10 at 11:27

I am curious, do teachers at private schools belong to unions? If so then what percentage do?

Teachers surely have the right to be in a union if they want, but it's not like teachers are faced with conditions like the factory workers of 1880 either.

And tenure? What purpose does it serve in k-12? I can see it has a valid purpose in college where you might have some serious concepts to bridge. I just don't see tenure needed for 2nd grade teachers or most of their peers.

By: AmyLiorate on 12/16/10 at 11:32

Math teacher, not good at English?

Manotin, will you post an algebra quiz. It would be more appropriate.

By: HokeyPokey on 12/16/10 at 11:34

In jcdad2003's defense, the letter was written from the perspective of a math teacher, not an English teacher.

But I stand behind my comment.


By: Loner on 12/16/10 at 11:39

Typos can bedevil the best of writers...spellcheck will not tell the writer when the wrong form of the word is being used, so long as it is spelled correctly...this gives one a false sense of security.

Case in point, in my opening post, 3rd line, 3rd paragraph, I used the word "simple", when I meant to write "simply". Spellcheck won't pick up that sort of error.

Spellcheck will not correct mistakes when using words like, "there" vs "their", "it's" versus "its"..... "here" vs "hear"....that sort of thing.

There's no substitute for a good proof-reading, IMO.

This is an online newspaper talkback forum, not the Harvard Law Review....things are a bit slack here...that's fine with old Loner.

By: Loner on 12/16/10 at 11:55

My dear old departed dad would ask if jcdad is a union member, or a "scab" teacher.....he hated scabs.

Back when I was a kid, when dad went on strike, things got a little scary. The nuns, my K-8 educators, were somewhat anti-union....my dad ( a not-so-converted Catholic convert) used to quiz me every so often, to make sure that those nuns did not brainwash me, vis-a-vis labor-management dynamics.

By: HokeyPokey on 12/16/10 at 11:59

Unionized Nuns...

Frightening, frightening...