- Feb 10, 2005
- Reaction score
- Montgomery, Al
To fix public schools, you have to control public schools.
And there’s little control when teachers unions, with their self-serving agendas, question every cost-cutting proposal and reform on the table.
That’s why so many state governments have taken swift action to limit the power of organized labor in public schools. Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Idaho and Michigan were the first, and Tennessee added itself to the list on Wednesday.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam affixed his signature on House Bill 130 and Senate Bill 113, ending collective bargaining and giving local school boards the full authority to operate their districts in the manner they choose.
That doesn’t mean the unions are shut out of the discussion. The new laws create a process called “collaborative conferencing,” where the school board, administrators and union officials will be forced to sit and discuss many of the normal issues, including salary, insurance, grievance procedures and working conditions.
If the two sides agree on any number of issues, they can sign binding “memorandums of understanding,” that will serve the same purpose as collective bargaining agreements. But any issues that are left unsettled will be the sole domain of the school board, with no appellate procedure available to the unions.
School boards will also have the option of not entering into any sort of agreement with the union. In that case they would have full authority to deal with all issues in an arbitrary manner.