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Friday, April 22, 2011

Conference brings out emotions of school union leaders

Union leaders ran through a whirlwind of emotions at The State of the Teacher's Union's session at the Education Writers Association National Conference in New Orleans earlier this month
“Kasich is going in the opposite direction,” President of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten said in an interview about the Ohio’s new governor.
"He is a wrecking ball," she said. 
She talked specifically about the work school leaders have done with winning the federal initiative The Race to the Top.
"Kasich will take the state back a lot and attempting to go backward in time and undo the work in education," she said.
Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, couldn't agree more with Weingarten who spoke on the session's panel.
Both spoke on the recent changes made with Wisconsin and Ohio's new collective bargaining laws for educators.
Weingarten said it was an all out assault and it's not about balancing the budget in these states. 
"What's happening in those states is far bigger than just education issues," she said. "We are still emerging from the greatest recession. None of the teachers caused it." 
Roekel said collective bargaining is a process.
"It's a problem solving process," he said. "If the process is used well, there could be incredible decisions made through the toughest circumstances."
Although, both seemed passionate about the new legislation, they agreed change has to take place within teacher evaluation systems.
"We need to step up and share responsibility," Weingarten said. "Everyone wants a silver bullet."

- Angela Gartner


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