Once again, your paper displays an interesting viewpoint in your "Our View" column of Sept. 12. Within the article, you repeatedly use the word collaboration and implore taxpayers, administrators, and teachers to collaborate to avoid future strikes. Additionally, you remind us that we are all living in a time of " ... almost universal economic malaise....."
The problem, as I see it is exactly what you say it is not -- a focus on money and salaries. I have never heard of a strike based solely on benefits, work hours, class size, or benefits. While many in the private sector have gone without raises for several years, and in some cases, have been required to take pay cuts, our teachers have repeatedly threatened to strike in order to achieve their financial goals.
I fail to see how the repeated threat of striking results in "collaboration." Strictly speaking, all of the power and high ground in this discussion resides with the union members -- i.e. -- teachers. They provide a vital service for which they are compensated but at the same time hold a sword over all of our heads. The biggest annual increases on our tax bills is for pension funding, all while our 401(k)s lose money and are a far cry from guaranteed.
The days when these people were underpaid civil servants are long gone. I do not know of any person in the private sector, whether hourly or salary, who is not subject to an annual performance-based review. If teachers do not wish to be reviewed based on their students' test scores and their personal performance, then what can or should we hold them accountable for?
In a time, when teachers have more than fair pay, nearly universal job security as well as a sweet pension system, isn't it time that they were more collaborative with the community and got rid of their sword/union?