Same mentality Blethen the Elder inflicted on his returning strikers back in 2000. Make them suffer!
Why should they respect teachers? They have no respect for learning or knowledge.
soundpolitics had a similar statement. I was baffled, what are you going to do fire them and hire....? that huge pool of people looking for shitty pay dealing with crappy kids jobs?

that will fix education, fill the schools with unemployed ditch diggers!
Per-pupil-spending has doubled in real dollars since the 70's. Class-room sizes are half of what they were then. The education system doesn't need more money, it needs to handle the money it has with more sense and honesty. The teachers are the last ones to blame for this.

Because the education system is like the military and the teachers are like the soldiers. The brass (administrators) don't really give a fuck about the soldiers (teachers), despite the fact that they have the hardest jobs. Needless to say, it would be better if our education system was over-funded and pointlessly bloated, instead of our military.

And this isn't necessarily true in every district, especially the smaller ones, but for most of them, and especially the big ones, the culture has been well-established.

Then you add the fact that the entire education paradigm has to change before we can address the record drop-out rates, and all the people devoted to maintaining that failed and failing paradigm, and you have the cluster-fuck that is public education in America. More money won't solve that problem.

You can not write about pupil spending doubling without also taking into account inflation. 10 dollars got you farther in the 70's then today.

And Classroom size is not always the best meter in this situation since every district is so distinct.
there is no extralegal right to strike
Just scare em into not participating in the union. Worked over here at WSU!
Svensken @ 5: That is inflation-adjusted. The national center for education statistics (a government agency) has the numbers here. Real per-pupil spending in 1970-71: $4,552. Real per-pupil spending in 2007-08: $10,441.
@5, as David points out, those are inflation adjusted dollars.

I agree about class size, though, in that there isn't one method of teaching kids that's going to work, since kids are individuals with their own ways of learning. Unfortunately, kids are the last people we consult and take into consideration when figuring out what they learn and how they learn it.
@6: It's not an "extralegal" right to strike, it's a basic human right. If the teachers have no legal right to strike, the school district is legally free to fire the striking teachers. But everybody has the right not to show up for work.
Goldy @ 10: That's a nice piece of legal jujitsu -- I mean that quite sincerely -- but it's not the accepted legal intrepretation. There are things that you can legally do as an individual but not as part of an organized effort. For example, an individual can stand on a sidewalk with a protest sign without obtaining a permit, but if a lot of people want to do it together, they need a permit; without one they may be arrested. You can find plenty of cases where teachers have been jailed for striking if you google "teacher strike jailed"; here's one. These cases are not being overturned on appeal.

Just to be clear, I'm not arguing with you about whether the state of the law is moral or consistent with universal human rights or whatever. I'm just pointing out that it is the state of the law. Teachers can be jailed, not just fired, for striking.
@11: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble"
So if people peaceably assemble in a public area, they can be arrested? The way I heard it, they need to be doing something more than just protesting: e.g., obstructing public ways, inciting violence.
"Class-room sizes are half of what they were then" Oh please, where were you in the '70s? I was in class and no, they were not double the sizes they are now.

By the way, you know that Bill Gates says class size doesn't matter (if you have a great teacher, we could put 40 in a classroom). Meanwhile, of course, his children are in private schools that advertise...their small class size.
@10 Goldy, dead wrong again. There is no "basic human right" to strike against the government. From the relevant state Attorney General's opinion:

Although no Washington appellate case has directly considered the question of whether state employees or teachers have the right to strike, in a case involving employees of a port district, the Washington Supreme Court held that public employees do not have a legally protected right to strike. In Port of Seattle v. Int'l Longshoremen's & Warehousemen's Union, 52 Wn.2d 317, 324 P.2d 1099 (1958), union members employed by the port went on strike. The Court affirmed a trial court order enjoining the strike, stating in part that “ [a]bsent legislation... we feel compelled to hold that the right to strike is subordinate to the port's immunity therefrom.” Id. at 323. The “general immunity of government from a strike” referenced by the Court in Port of Seattle (id. at 319) is a recognition that at common law public employees have no right to strike. “As a general rule, public employees, even in the absence of express statutory prohibition, are denied the right to strike or to engage in a work stoppage against a public employer.” James Duff, Jr., Annotation, Labor Law: Right of Public Employees to Strike or Engage in Work Stoppage, 37 A.L.R.3d 1147, 1156 (1971).

AGO 2006 No. 3.

If teachers have the right to strike, then so do cops and firefighters, right?
@13, I was in school, too, though I frequently wish I hadn't been born until the mid 90's or so. Anyway, your comment made me go back and try to find where I saw that stat, and I couldn't find it! (God help me, I might be dreaming or hallucinating statistics.)

So I take it back. Class size has certainly decreased overall, thanks to state and federal initiatives, but only by about 1/5th or 1/6th. And still, there's no real evidence that smaller classes lead to more learning across the board. Of course, I imagine smaller classes are more pleasant classes, so I understand the desire shrink them.
Since both sides were supposed to bargain in good faith and neither side did, they should have locked the head of the union and the superintendent up in the same jail cell until they got things sorted out.

The teachers may not have a de jure right to strike, but they sure as hell do have a de facto one.
@15: You have no facts to back up your claim about class size. Class sizes vary widely depending on where you are. My wife teaches sixth grade in a relatively affluent school system and has 31 students in her class. That's pretty common these days, and about the same size as most schools I was familiar with 30-40 years ago.
The thing I don't get is this:

I went to school during the Boeing Bust years in a semi-rural area that was flat ass broke. My schools weren't over crowded, we had everything we needed, we didn't have to bring anything much from home. Most of the teachers were great and you could tell that they were teaching because they loved to teach. Some of the schools were old and kinda beat up, buckets would appear in hallways to catch leaks from the roofs on rainy days, but they were good schools and kids went on to impressive colleges and such.
Now, I live in that same area, it's quite wealthy nowadays, kids have a long list of crap they need to bring from home, and the schools are broke.

We could pay for schools when we were poor, but now that we're wealthy we can't? Huh?
@17, I only have the facts available from quick google searches. The Dept. of Education says the average class size has decreased from 29 students in 1961 to 20 students in 2007-08.

Right now, in lots of places, class sizes are growing because of budget cuts. In others, they're staying the same or shrinking slightly due to other factors like smaller enrollment. Obviously, it's all going to vary greatly from place to place, but stats like those above are certainly more useful than personal anecdotes.

And it doesn't really matter in regards to my central point that the school systems don't need more money, as per-pupil spending has doubled in the last 40 years in inflation-adjusted dollars. The systems need to completely change administration practices and revolutionize the curriculum paradigm.
"per-pupil spending has doubled in the last 40 years in inflation-adjusted dollars."

You're comparing pre-IDEA schools with post-IDEA schools and pre-computer schools with internet age schools. Of course we're spending more now!

Take a look at transportation costs. 40 years ago we had kids walking and biking to neighborhood schools, now we have half as many schools with twice as many kids in them and kids have to be bussed to these regional schools. It would be mighty expensive to bring back those neighborhood schools. So, again, of course we're paying more now.

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