Oh, Noodle, your wife is one of those. She's part of the problem. Her absurdly high salary and insanely padded benefits package is the reason the state can't balance a budget (a state that had a massive surplus before it was all vanished with a massive tax cut that created a deficit).
Teachers: the real enemy.
Exactly. In our little suburb of Milwaukee it's especially bad. We're in a very Republican area and I've heard stories of the way teachers are treated that just makes me sick. One of my wife's colleagues was at the grocery store when someone recognized her and came up behind her, stuck their hand in her back pocket and said something like "I'm just checking to see if my paycheck was in there."
I've heard teachers called lazy, greedy, and a whole host of other names. I had no idea that even a portion of the public really thought this about teachers. It makes me so sad because I watch her toil away in this mostly thankless job, working harder than anyone else I know in any field. She wakes up in the morning and is working, and when I come home from work, she's working, and when I go to bed, very often, she's working. She gets summers "off" but during that time she's taking classes in order to stay licensed, or working on her curriculum, or doing other work that is directly related to her job.
And, for the record, I don't think that teacher unions should have the ability to choose things like insurance carriers and then choose themselves. (Surprise, after the law took effect and the health insurance company they owned actually had to compete with other companies, they had to reduce premiums or get lost.) To you, that means I hate education. To me, it just means that there's a fine line between supporting teachers and supporting teacher unions. (Indeed, I think letting unions self-deal at taxpayer expense is actually worse for education, because that money is spent on lining the pockets of union bosses and not on educating children.)
The health insurance company owned by the teachers union was already in competition with other non union run health insurance companies. My wife's district for example, switched off of the union insurance provider a few years ago, BEFORE the Walker administration or before the new union rules. Several districts had moved away from the union insurance provider in the past, and many of those same districts moved BACK to the WEATrust insurance after they realized that they were in fact very competitive and provided an excellent balance of benefits to cost.
Make no mistake, Walker was not out to save a dime when he proposed the collective bargaining law. He wanted to weaken unions, because unions are primarily democratic supporters, and he wanted to pave the way for a republican win in the Wisconsin presidential race. This was admitted word for word. The teachers union agreed to absolutely every financial implication of the law and would have even agreed to more if they were consulted. However, Walker wanted to get rid of the unions, so he framed it as a fiscal argument.
The wording of this collective bargaining law has widespread implications that go beyond the teachers unions. A neighboring district recently made massive overhauls of their employee handbook including new things like dress code changes, removing coffee machines in the teacher lounges, adding additional hours to the teacher's schedules without pay, and eliminating prep time for teachers. The school board argued that they couldn't seek teacher input on the new handbook because that would violate the collective bargaining law. The changes were made without any teacher input until the night of the vote, and at that point it was too late to make substantive changes to the handbook. I ask, how does requiring teachers to wear skirts that go below the knee save the district or the taxpayers any money?