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[Susan notes: ]

Published in Wall Street Journal

To the editor

This letter responds to Peggy Noonan's Public Unions Get Too 'Friendly' in the Wall Street Journal. Who do you think knows more about unions--Peggy Noonan or this Texas librarian?

I teach in a right-to-work state, Texas, and it's more like a right -to- get- fired state. With the Texas budget shortfall projected at $27 billion in the next biennium, Wisconsin's shortfall, still in the millions, sounds like a pajama party. The Texas legislature is refusing to fulfill its constitutional duty to fund public education. It's estimated that 100,000 Texas educators will lose their jobs, and there is nothing we can do about it.

Over 8% of our district's current staff has received RIF (reduction in force) notices, including 573 teachers. Now that the school board voted for financial exigency, our superintendent has the power to ignore our contracts. Here in Texas, our "unions" have no collective bargaining power. Our teachers rank 39th in pay compared to other states, and our student test scores are far below those of children in states with strong teachers' unions, such as Wisconsin and Massachusetts. Therefore, please do not blame the unions for the problems in public education. Even the pseudo-documentary, "Waiting for Superman," which faked scenes so that it was ineligible for an Academy Award nomination, admits that only one in five charter schools outperform traditional public schools. Stop scapegoating teachers. American students who attend schools with less than 10% poverty outperform every other country but Finland in international tests. Blame instead a national student population of over 20% living in poverty.

Sara at the Half Time Blog

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