Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Strike !

It is THE issue that gets people fired up enough to contact Talkback 16 and its internet cousin: TEACHER STRIKES.

We have another one here in our area. Teachers at Northwest Area walked off the job yesterday, three and a half years after their old contract expired. This is a picture of an empty Garrison Elementary in Shickshinny I took Monday morning.

Most states have banned teacher strikes. Some will say teachers should be able to strike because their rights are the same as the factory worker down the street.

On the other hand, teacher strikes do have a huge impact on the community. But then again, the law mandates that kids get their 180 days of education. A strike might be disruptive, but the minimum classroom time will be fulfilled. Teachers will eventually be back in the classroom, whether or not they have a new agreement. A strike makes a statement. It doesn't solve the problem.

Good teachers should get good money. Our kids should have the best. Paying the bill is another matter. You can no longer tax your way out of economic difficulties. There are limits. If we're not there, we're dangerously close.

Bad teachers should be shown the door. I've encountered a lot of bad teachers in my day. The system seems to protect them.

The state legislature has sought solutions for years. You know their track record for effectiveness. They can do pay raises. They can manipulate the system to piggishly sniff out money for themselves, even on Sundays. Finding a better way for taxpayers and our kids is not the general assembly's strong point.

We could talk about this for days. There is no black and white. There is no right or wrong. There is a strong counter argument for every good argument.

Who wins? Who loses? That part is easy to figure out. Everyone loses.