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February 17th, 2011
08:36 AM ET

Sec. Arne Duncan responds to Wisconsin teacher protests

Teachers in Wisconsin called in sick today, protesting Governor Scott Walker's plan to try to take away collective bargaining rights from the teachers' union.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan responds to the protests in Wisconsin and says teachers are "doing probably the most important work in society". Education Secretary Arne Duncan talks to American Morning's T.J. Holmes.


Filed under: Education
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. ILeducator

    "Yeah, wages are much higher and because of that mostly everything is made overseas."

    Who doesn't deserve a living wage? Keep blaming the victim, unless you want to work in a Chinese sweatshop for 10 cents an hour yourself. Didn't think so...

    March 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  2. Steve Harvey

    How would Arne Duncan know how rewarding teaching is? He has never taught a day in his life. Why would anyone in their right mind get in public school teaching in a country that holds teachers in such contempt.? Does Duncan really think that young people will fall for the big bucks being promised while he's trying to shortchange current teachers out of the benefits they have already been promised? I would love to see these clowns try to replace all the experienced teachers with new meat. The schools would start folding like a house of cards within the year. If you want to save money cut into the bloated bureaucracies that have sprung up in school districts all over the country. It's funny how we were able to teach without all these consultants, test hustlers, etc. back in the 60s. Do something about the dissolving families. It use to be there was one parent at home to help Jr. with his or her homework. Now they're all latchkey kids.

    February 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  3. James R

    THESE ARE TOUGH TIMES EVERYWHERE –

    Why all the fuss about Wisconsin? There are many States trying to work through the mess they created when times were good. It seems to me that the people of Wisconsin have only two options: Raise taxes to cover the shortfall or layoff people until the good times return. Any intelligent entrepreneur knows – you can't spend what you don't have – so increase revenues or cut costs.

    The bigger issue is the cowards (politicans) who hide from the problem – why in the hell do they still have a job? You can run, but you can't hide from the envitable – it's going to happen with you or without you. Good luck Wisconsin – you are no different than any other State with financial problems. DEAL WITH IT!

    February 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  4. Teena

    Unions have protected workers in this country. But, right now the admiration of the society is NOT on the worker, it is on the corporation.
    Yes, American workers make more money than workers in China. But as an American do you want to move from your home, live in a dormitory with other workers, eat in the company cafeteria and only see your extended family once a year on holidays? This is the life of a Chinese worker.
    So, those of you who think the American worker and the unions that protect them have caused all of the problems–think again.
    I will think differently if and when the governor and representatives of Wisconsin take a 10% pay cut! As well as giving up all of the tax breaks to various businesses who STILL have not created a private sector job after those tax breaks!

    February 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  5. Joan Retzloff

    What a clever ruse! Blaming teachers for the state of the economy to take the heat off the Wall Street and corporate hogs who took whatever they could from the trough of unregulated commerce and off the politicians who made it possible.
    Worker's rights were hard won in response to abuses by business and public service interests over the last century. We cannot return to the uncontrolled governance of money and power over our right to bargain for fair wages and working conditions. Government needs to protect its citizens. It must not strip them of the rights that are necessary to maintain a balance of power in the marketplace and in our community.

    February 21, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  6. Stacy

    Wow. My guess is that over half of you who have posted negatively about teachers haven't seen the inside of a classroom since you graduated. Walk in our shoes for a week. We don't become teachers for the pay, rest assured of that. We EARN what little pay we get, and we don't get the same perks as Corporate America. I teach in a right-to-work state, which means I go to school regardless of what the school board says. More power to you, Wisconsin!

    February 21, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  7. scholastica

    I'd love to trade places with those who think that teaching is an easy job. They can trade places with me and pay for supplies they need to do their job out of their own pocket. They can go without a meal or restroom break (all day) because there were phone calls that needed to be made, reports that needed to be filled out, meetings you need to attend, etc, etc.

    Then you can go home and grade papers, plan lessons for the next day and complete classwork for the courses you are required to take (and pay for) to earn your "academic units" so you have a prayer of getting a raise while trying to spend some time with your own family.

    I came to teaching from a successful career in the business world. I took work home from my job from time to time but that was the exception not the rule. I had two 15 minute breaks a day, an hour for lunch and could use the restroom whenever the need arose. I worked a 12 hour day last week so I would be available for parents and guardians that needed to talk to me. If I was an hourly worker, I would probably be entitled to overtime. I left the school at 7:00 PM and was back at the school the next day at 7:30 AM.

    While it is true that I have the summer "off", I don't get paid for it so I am not sitting around doing nothing. Most of the teachers I know work second jobs in an effort to support their families.

    February 21, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  8. Carolyn

    As the wife of a career teacher, let me correct some wrongs.
    Retirement: I know of only one teacher who is living on her retirement. that is by necessity not choice. She has MS.
    Benefits: Yes they have good insurance now. Until around the 1980's they had no health insurance.
    Contract: These contracts are for 9 months, not 12. They are paid over a 12 month period because the state can use that money longer.
    Home with children: Yes, they do have some perks here. However, in Texas, teachers must take so much college credit each year to just stay certified. Texas is non-union.
    Pay: It sucks. When I went to work in 1975, I was making more than my husband was as a teacher. I always made more than he did.
    Stress lever: Off the charts.
    These teachers put up with disruptive students, students coming to school high or drunk, students coming to school with guns and knives, students in gangs, jocks. Jocks are some of the worst. And this is just from their students. They must also contend with parents who won't show for conferences. Parents who are absent in their child's life. Parents who want their child to be given straight A's. Parents who think a child's social life is more important than school.
    And if you are reading these posts and commenting on them, thank a teacher.

    February 21, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  9. Carolyn

    Has anyone asked the Governor and legislature how much of their salaries and benefits they are voluntarily giving up? In all this mess, we are screaming and pointing the finger at each other. Every non-union member is angry because union members still have jobs and benefits. Yet, just a few years ago, I was being laughed at for spending my working career in public service. I was stupid and lazy because I could make so much more in the private sector. We are busy fighting each other and the politicians are winning. I do not see one politician giving anything. No refusal of benefits, no reduction in salary, nothing. So why are we not calling them on this? One new congressman stated that yes, he would be taking the federal health insurance because it was being offered by his employer. Hello. They vote their own salary and benefits. No taxpayer control. Why is that?

    February 21, 2011 at 8:55 am |
  10. Jon D

    Facts are facts the US ranks 18 and 24 in math and reading in the world What happened and what or who is responsible? As a nation dropping like a rock in the worlds educational contest the past 30 years.
    Curriculum has been continually dumbed down to make people feel better about the out-put. Educators have gone along with this program for years and did not storm the gates.
    Wake up folks before we become 2nd or 3rd world country educationally and economically. Increase the requirements to teach and DEMAND the Students pass minimal requirements before moving on to graduation.

    February 21, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  11. Nick

    "Get a reality check teachers – at least you have a job and a good one at that."

    So get a degree and become a teacher, if you think they have it that great.

    February 20, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
  12. el perro

    I am a teacher, I start work at 7 am and finish at 6, doing things they don't pay me for. I chose this, but don't tell me I should feel the pain.You chose to work for the private sector, stock options, benefits etc. The economy tanked as a result of greed, greed of the big business you worked for. Too bad.

    February 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
  13. DLor

    I think we need our " Best and Brightest" in politics. That's where I see the deficit right now.

    February 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  14. Jane

    Bridget Helvey- How are you so sure that teachers are home to eat dinner every night? My husband would beg to differ with you on that one. That is the most ignorant argument. Drive past a school parking lot at 5:30 or 6 and you will see cars. Those are the cars of teachers working way past the last bell. Also, summers off? I get 2 weeks off in June, July and I go back to work the first week of August to begin getting my classroom ready for the new school year. I take my child to daycare in August and spend the days in my classroom. Have you ever driven past a school parking lot in August? It is not empty. There are cars and again, those are the cars of hard working teachers. We do not get paid over-time, we do it because we know it is the right thing to do. You obviously do not know any teachers personally. Do you even have children in school or are your most recent memories of teachers and education from way back when when you were in high school?

    February 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  15. Chris

    Clearly....we have problems with our education system, but I am not sure who is at fault. Because parents these days are not active in their children's education and those that are being active, 2/3 are dictating the curriculum, especially in sciences and arts. Teachers need to be given the flexibility to teach their students without interference from parents. Unions are a double edge sword, they represent the common trades but they can give a hindrance.

    From what I heard, Republicans gave tax cuts and they wonder why they have a budget deficit.

    February 19, 2011 at 4:52 am |
  16. Perlin

    Mr Duncan has his fair share in bashing teachers and demonizing the unions. The bankers, the Wall Streeters the corporate tax cheaters and the corporate welfare recipients can thank him for taking off the blame for the financial crisses and putting it squarely on the shoulders of the teachers. Thanks to him bashing the teachers became the favorite national passtime.

    February 19, 2011 at 1:29 am |
  17. R

    There are so many issues with this truly national problem. To preface my statement, I am a NJ teacher in a similar situation. Many will not continue to read this, but I implore you to continue- as every voice is important in a democracy. I understand that teachers are fighting for their collective bargaining rights. Collective bargaining will not fix the state budget, as everything is done at a local level- as the locality has the best understanding of the community needs. Just as in NJ, this is about a dislike for unions and the power of a group voice working in unity for a common cause- whether it be for salary/ benefits, safe working environment, or improving educational standards. This translates into improving the private sector, as many improvements to working conditions came from collective bargaining. The problem does transcend to something more basic the belief that public sector employees get so much more than private sector- and I have seen conflicting reports on this. The media is only showing the one side of this. Where is the truth? I have friends that graduated at the same time as I did that started $30,000 higher than I did in the private sector with similar degrees with many more perks
    . So why would I stay -because I love what I do- despite the many obstacles that are thrown at me. Due to our governor, 250,000 professionals in my field have lost their voice in the politics of improving education because like WI, our governor will not talk to us. There is no separation between the teacher and the union. If you vilify the union, you vilify the teacher. I cringed at President Obama state of the union encouraging the best and the brightest to teach. How long will they tolerate being told that they the problem for the budget problems? By the way, in NJ- the state didn't pay their contribution into the pension system for almost 15 years after they raided it for government spending. Please put government officials on a teacher's salary to improve the budget. Teachers are not the problem, and we want to be part of the solution. Let's work together to find a solution.

    February 18, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
  18. Richard E. Jacobson

    I question Sec. Duncan's qualifications on this or any issue regarding education. I am a retired teacher and have seen what the courts and politics have done to education, now they want the front line to serve without rights. This is also part of a larger issue, worker rights and the rights of Americans. In recent weeks we have seen the Egyptians and other mid-east coutries protest for their rights and broght down tyranny, is this what the Republican Party is about?

    February 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  19. E

    All you people who think teaching is such a gold mine and such easy work and short days, with summers off should try doing the job. Go ahead, go be a teacher, you will be in for quite a surprise when you see the low salaries, long hours and high stress that comes with the job. Then see which side you fall on in this debate.

    How can you people be fine with a CEO or marketing exec sitting in his office all day making 6 figures, but a teacher who spends all day reigning in 35 kids, then going home to do planning and grading into the night, worrying about the kids, spending more time with them than their parents, being under constant scrutiny... they are greedy and evil for asking for a living wage (around 40K where I live) and healthcare?

    February 18, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  20. Mark

    I have a great idea, just take everything from the teachers, fire fighters, police, and give it all to the rich. This will make our great (United States of America), a much better country. Don't you agree with the Ripublicans on this???? After all, you just gave our great country right back to the Republicans to run again. Oh, they just did such a wonderful job for the past 10 years, we need to reward them even more for our great ecomony.

    February 18, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  21. softballguy

    I see that our elected cronies on both sides want to cut benefits for us, but do you hear them saying that they will also cut theirs????? They get their benefits for retirement and health care from us. We pay their benefits thru taxes. If they really want to save a lot of money get into their 401K and all the benefits that they get when they retire. Our elected cronies have made themselves the beneficiary of EXTRAVAGANT benefits for serving the public, which is why they make it a life long endeavor.

    February 18, 2011 at 5:48 am |
  22. Matt

    We want our country's education system to flourish but yet we don't want to pay the teachers what they deserve to be paid. Does wisconsin need financial reform? Yes we do. Is cutting the benefits for our teachers who are forming our youth, who will eventually be running this country, the right answer. No. How about we let governor walker and the other senators and republicans live off the $30,000/year salary and then take a 6% cut. There, a huge cut to the state deficit. We want our children to get the best education, but now there is a huge financial woe to any person wanting to become a teacher and live a comfortable lifestyle.no matter where the cut is made in the budget, people will be upset, but when you are cutting money from those who already don't make a lot, it isn't the best possible decision.

    February 18, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  23. Amanda

    Just because our Governor dropped out of college (Walker dropped out of Marquette University.) and chose not to earn a degree doesn't mean that the rest of Wisconsin wants to follow suit. WE WANT A DEGREE! WE WANT A QUALITY EDUCATION! Education is FREEDOM! WE WANT TO BE FREE!

    February 18, 2011 at 12:27 am |
  24. Grim Reaper

    Education in the US is a disaster and both sides are to blame. School administrations that are bloated and overpaid, programs and services to serve the few, teachers that are unfairly protected by the unions, and collective bargaining agreements that do NOT mirror the rest of society.

    Higher education costs in the US has outpaced health care costs by a margin of 2 to 1 over the past 20 years. Riddle me that Duncan. We offer the most expensive education costs and yet finish at or near last among industrialized nations. Riddle me that Duncan.

    Dismantle the Federal Education Agency and return the money to the States so that it gets to those that teach. Cut administration to the bone rather than taking it out of teachers hides and cap their ridiculous salaries. Instead of recruiting out of state for administrators and treating them like prima donnas promote from within.

    Change defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution plans like that of the private sector. Bring back the arts programs to reach a greater number of kids and cut back the overblown athletic budgets.

    Teachers want to make more money. Fine. Operate schools throughout the entire year pay them for 12 months instead of 9. Unions made America strong. False. Unions have driven business overseas from their overreaching demands.

    How many teachers took a pay cut during the recession? How many took a cut in pension? How many felt the pain of their benefits? If you want the people to back you think for a moment of what you have and compare that to the people your grousing to.

    February 17, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  25. Forward

    I am a life long Wisconsin resident. I want Walker out. We don't need a dictator. The reason the WI budget has a shortfall is due to the tax cuts he installed after taking office. His comment that the senators return to WI "out of respect for the institution of the Legislature and the democratic process." What a HYPOCRITE. Why can't he respect the institution of the Legislature and the democratic process by working with the population instead of railroading the state with his union busting tactics. The isn't a money issue this is a bald face attempt to weaken and break the unions. This is Wisconsin – where collective bargaining began! I will not stand for it. I'll be there tomorrow!

    February 17, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  26. Bonnie Bohse

    I live in Oregon, WI and my husband is a retired teacher. Don't tell me the teachers leave at 4pm daily. Our great teachers are at school at 7am & may be able to leave by 5pm, but then have papers to correct, lesson plans to make,etc.Yes, teachers need to spend their own money for items no longer provided by their school district.Do you spend money for your company to stay in business? The general public does not know what great teachers do for their children. And our new governor, Scott Walker, just threw this bill in our faces & is not letting anyone talk to him about the mistake he is making. We need a governor who will at least speak to his constituants instead of just DICTATING to us!

    February 17, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  27. Hugh

    There is one issue and only one. No bargaining, is the only item on the table. The lack of acknowledgment of this by the host B.J. Holmes is frustrating. No one is going on about the outlay of cash, as many public unions have been the first to step up to help the budget shortages, the fact that you can't gather as a group to work for a contract and bargain is amazing. The rich get richer, and their serfs cheer all the hard work they do through inheritance, and nepitism. Time to storm the castle, as the new royalty is acting like the old royalty that the people got rid of in the 1700's.

    February 17, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  28. Sam

    The strikes are not about objecting to taking pay cuts or contributing more to pensions and health care. The real issue is the loss of collective bargaining. If there is no collective bargaining, the state can establish whatever conditions it wants and there is no real recourse for the teachers and other public sector employees.

    This is inflamed by the fact that the bill is a budget repair bill masking a blatant policy bill. If the claim is everyone needs to do their part to make this budget right, the unions that supported his election should have been forced to take cuts. Also, the unions are happy to do the things outlined in the bill without collective bargaining being rescinded.

    February 17, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  29. Jon

    "Our country has grown strong on Unions, if not for collective bargaining everyones wages would still be down at minimum wage."

    I had to laugh at this one. Yeah, wages are much higher and because of that mostly everything is made overseas. I guess we are a victim of our success. We've become a service oriented economy vice the industrial super power we once were. Unions served a very good purpose in the beginning. However, over the years they have become giant political machines that have negotiated very nice contracts with states who allowed it to happen when the revenue was flowing in. Now that the economy has tanked, that isn't so good now. I never have been a fan of unions and never will.

    February 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  30. Lg

    Illinois teacher unions back the walk out of Wisconsin teachers, Don't step backward.

    February 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  31. Lg

    Mr. Duncan doesn't even hold a degree in education

    February 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  32. Mary Ellen

    This is not about the Teaching profession it is about worker's rights & Union rights to collective bargain. I am listening to Ed Shultz and he is in Madison covering this story. The firefighters, teachers and all other workers want to negotiate in good faith with the Governor to come to a reasonable deal, that is all.They want to keep their American 1st amendment right s,to collective bargaining. The Governor is on a power trip,fortified by the rhetoric of the likes of Glen Beck , Rush , and FOX News(I say that with a sick feeling in my gut) Fox does not do the news they do rumors and innuendo,kissing the ass of the Republican party.
    The demonstrators are exercising their right to redress their government, that is all. It is the 1st amendment in case you do not know where that right comes from
    I am a retired RN. I am able to be retired at 63 because of the union contracts I have worked under and helped negotiate!!!!

    February 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  33. lisa

    I am trying very hard to figure out when and why we became the enemy. I am a teacher in another state that is trying to eliminate many of our rights and protections. Once the republicans won the state legislature last November, I knew we had lost. I cannot understand why the very people who receive lower pay than the private sector, who are facing major changes in the profession already, and who come in and love, protect, care for, discipline, and teach other people's children every day deserve to be held in such contempt. We see students who have not been fed, taken to a doctor or dentist, or provided with a place to sleep come through our doors. We try to meet these children's basic needs while we teach the educational standards appropriate for their grade level. We try to help prepare them for the bombardment of tests now required. We go to visit them in the hospital or at the funeral home when their little brothers die. Explain to me, please, why we are being attacked.

    February 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  34. tina daniels

    The repulican party is trying to get people to take their FREE buses up to the capital to offset the people that carpooled and drove alone to save the union.

    February 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  35. sam

    Fitzgerald is selling you a dog and pony show – first police and fire can not strike and walk off job – it's part of the collective bargining agreement that allows police unions to even form – yoiu can't have police go on strike. States do not pay into pensions, it's the local governemnts that contribute and with whom the teachers unions deal with. The states want to take over the teachers and police pensions because of the money in their funds. The states don't like the fed gov getting into their business and the states have no business getting into local cities business. Teachers and safety unions are aware of local gov problems and they are helping by taking pay cuts, pay freezes, larger pension pick ups and greater health care cost sharing

    February 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  36. tina daniels

    I am a real wisconsin resident. I farm and I want Walker OUT. Fight argue but DO NOT rule by decree. The Union must stand!

    February 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  37. Debby

    All of us in corp. American have had to tighten our belts, do more work for less pay, cut benefits and the list goes on and on – the teachers union is finally getting on board with the rest of us in the world. I wish I could retire at 55, collect all my benefits and still work!! What a deal – wish I would have gone into teaching instead of just paying for all these benes and working longer and longer..

    February 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  38. ChicanoSurfer

    I place a comment that was about beltway media reporting on this event. How it was slanting FOX way and nothing, Why???????

    February 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  39. jan

    Teachers and school workers spend part of their paychecks on classroom needs that the government no longer can or won't provide. I have witnessed this many times over-parents not providing needed items such as crayons, paper etc. Teachers have had to buy their own paper to make copies for the day's lessons. I have bought needed gloves, socks, coats etc. I've donated items to teachers. Teachers and myself have stayed beyond the clock for several hrs at a time and no payment received. You won't see restaurant workers or employees at other businesses stepping up and saying "sure I'll work for free today and here let me buying your groceries" to the customers they service. If only the taxpayers knew what we as school employees do for their children because we believe in their children. If the unions go, well there goes the money spent on their children-guess they will soon see what went on in the classroom.

    February 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  40. Autumn

    Collective Bargaining is not the reason for our fiscal crisis! Unions have contracts that are negotiated between administration and employees that is a mutually agreed upon contract. It ensures that the employees are protected from the union side, but it also provide administration with set standards that employees must abide by. People complian that contracts do not allow for proper discipline or termination and those are simply myths that lazy administrators use to cover the fact that they have not followed procedures set forth and agreed to by both parties.
    As for insurance and salary bargaining being taken away...Republicans that have for so many years lined their pockets and buttered there reelection bread with the big insurance industry lobbyist hob nobbing need to clean up their dirty act, regulate the insurance industry so that health care is affordable not only to the rich but to the working class as well. You can not turn your head from allowing the insurance industry to continue having huge profits while we are all struggling to pay high insurance premiums!

    Our country has grown strong on Unions, if not for collective bargaining everyones wages would still be down at minimum wage. A rate that no politician could survive on!

    HANG IN THERE WISCONSIN UNIONS!!! UNION STRONG!!

    February 17, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  41. ChicanoSurfer

    Hello watching this. This is not about making concessions. For all of Us that can be a given if rich and poor are asked to give up the same percentages.
    What this is all about if you research is "ending collective bargaining!"
    I worked for a municipality&school district and gave up pay and other concessions.
    But to say we have no say so?
    That is what WE as a country have fought for. I am a veteran and joined to protect ALL this. "TRUTH???????"
    Why is it the Mainstream Beltway Media NEVER seeks and reports ALL the TRUTH???????Where is cronkite, brinkley, the old 60 minutes crew seeking and delivering ALL the TRUTH???

    February 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  42. Social Justice

    We hold teachers to a higher standard than we hold people in other professions, because we are the taxpayers. It brings out the little bosses in us, when we realize we could save $100 a year on our taxes if we just cut teacher pay by 5%. As we criticize, we need to admit this one huge bias.

    February 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  43. Caleab

    Again, why is Arne not focusing on the HUGE, bloated salaries of administrators. Why should teachers/staffs take all the cuts. CUT ADMINISTRATORS SALARIES!!!!

    February 17, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  44. Theresa Candelaria

    What Sec. Duncan did not call attention to was that Governor Walker gave millions of dollars in tax cuts to corporations like McDonalds and Walmart and caused the budget shortfall, and then expected the middle class to pay for it in their healthcare benefits and pensions.

    Before he gave the tax cuts, Wisconsin had a budget surplus.

    Governor Walker brought this on himself.

    Wisconsin workers are not having it and are calling him on it.

    February 17, 2011 at 11:34 am |
  45. TCahill

    Fire them all!! They should be at their jobs not calling in sick.

    February 17, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  46. Bridget Halvey

    Granted teachers perform a very important role. They are also home in summers with their children, they are home for dinner every night and they have a steady paycheck with amazing benefits both during employment and into retirement.

    It is disgusting what teachers are doing to the school system....they are being immature and ridiculous by staging a call in sick day to protest and leaving the very students that employ them without a teacher in the classroom.

    Teachers should not be immune to budget cuts every other employer has made. I haven't had a raise in 3 years and my health insurance is so expensive I can't afford it so I have none.

    Get a reality check teachers – at least you have a job and a good one at that.

    February 17, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  47. Erin

    "On Wisconsin" and "Forward," indeed!

    February 17, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  48. Gail Burke

    Secretary Duncan refuses to acknowledge that unions and teachers must face budget cuts as well as the rest of the public. Obama and his administration owe unions that supported his campaign. They will never support necessary budget cuts.

    When you see teachers demonstrating, calling in sick, and encouraging their students to demonstrate for them–it is unconscionable. These kids don't even know what's going on. Watch the video of them telling the reporter that they don't understand why they are demonstrating. When you see things like this happening, it makes you wonder what is going on in public schools today. Teachers are giving themselves a bad reputation.

    February 17, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  49. Ed T

    The US spends 2-3 times what any other nation does to get a 30% failure rate in our schools.

    Clearly, money alone is not the answer.

    I would bet that there are far more administrators per student that there is any other nation. Get rid of 50% of all administrators, get rid of collective bargaining, which does ONLY MAINTAINS THE STATUS QUO.

    Finally, Duncan DOES NOT WANT SMART PEOPLE IN TEACHING – he wants puppets. If a 40 year old wants to start teaching, he will start at the same pay as a 21 year old. Why bother? What a joke.

    February 17, 2011 at 8:59 am |