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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Teachers Finally Earn Respect From Newspaper - But Little Else

In Sunday's editorial titled "Local teachers deserve more respect," the low-wage conservatives at the Janesville Gazette attempted to reframe and fine tune their decade old political and economic opposition against our public school teachers. Possibly feeling some guilt (but I personally doubt that) after hearing President Obama offer an uplifting shout-out for the teaching professional in the SOTU speech, the Gazette offers this rather tepid endorsement.

JG Editorial Excerpt: (Editorial not available online)
But don't blame teachers individually. They fill one of our community's greatest roles. Most are highly dedicated, and many pour their own money into classroom supplies.

On the local scale, nobody has ever blamed individual school teachers specifically, but to blame them for what? Well, the assignment of blame here was the Gazette's way to flatter the teachers and address the problem the newspaper perceives about their recent pay and benefit's compensation package. They believe the Janesville's school district new four-contract ratified last year was too generous.

JG Editorial Excerpt:
If you want to assign blame, direct it at the school board for agreeing to the contract and the teachers union that pushed it.

Oh yeah, that's who you blame. The evil socialist bargaining union and the hapless school board. So, don't bash the teachers for getting the wages and benefits they deserve, point the blame at the bargaining union for negotiating the agreement and the school board for giving it to them. Just remember to point the blame.

Over the years, the Gazette has been no friend of public school teachers as a bargaining group or worker unions of any kind. They would criticize local teachers directly saying teachers need a dose of reality and then follow-up their deliberately provocative headlines and editorials against them with anonymous rants from aroused taxpaying readers for weeks on end. Or when the newspaper compared teachers compensation to the declining and often demerited wages of workers in the private sector. Or the time the editor admitted that the newspaper gives special treatment to GM workers, teachers and law officers, particularly how they are disciplined and how they are compensated. Yep, that's the Janesville Gazette. Completely objective and with no agenda.

But at least the Gazette acknowledged that public school teachers have gotten very little respect from the local public. The problem is the newspaper blames everyone for that but themselves.


Anonymous said...

The Gazette's criticism is not of teachers, but of the union's bargaining for more compensation at a time or times when residents are seeing lower wages, unemployment and higher expenses. To that end, comparing wages and benefits to the private sector is valid.

A number of Gazette newsroom folks have spouses who are teachers in the Janesville School District - including Editor Scott Angus. Seems to me that high teacher pay and benefits would only be good for them.

Lou Kaye said...

Don't forget that the teachers ratified the agreement. They could voted against it with a directive to make more concessions due to declining local economic conditions - they did not. Instead, the Gazette uses the Obama speech to create a wedge between the teachers and their negotiating team and between taxpayers and the school board strictly for the purpose of assigning blame. My point is either you support the teachers or you don't and not have to justify their compensation by blaming others for what the teachers want.

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