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Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

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Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

Postby Beaver » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:35 pm

In the Feb 18 issue for the Dailypage Forum excerpt on page 4, you have the post from Galoot chastising John Matthews and MTI for "pulling this stunt" which closed Madison schools. However, I don't think John Matthews and MTI ever called for a work stoppage or for teachers to not come to work. Instead, many teachers called in sick on their own, so Madison canceled classes because there weren't enough teachers.

If so, this post is incorrect and shouldn't have been used as the excerpt. Also, on the the Dailypage Forum I would say 80% or more of the posts support the teachers calling in sick and protesting on the square. So this post doesn't well represent the Dailypage Forum which is another reason it should not be printed as the excerpt.
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Re: Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

Postby gargantua » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:10 pm

As a general principle, I agree that Forum excerpts should not be factually false or misleading.

I don't agree that they necessarily should reflect the prevailing (perceived) opinions of most Forons. Usually they tend to be interesting, slice-of-life in Madison excerpts, which I like. And sometimes opposing views make the most interesting excerpts....just don't include those that are factually incorrect when dealing with polarizing issues like this one.
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Re: Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

Postby Galoot » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:30 pm

There was nothing factually incorrect about that post--I gather from other teachers that MTI *did* call a walkout, and in fact I remember reading online that he had contacted Dan Nerad and said that the teachers would be calling in sick on Wednesday.

Like gargantua said, such posts are a snapshot in time, of a person's feelings. Having talked to other teachers from outside of Madison over the last few days, I have different feelings about Wednesday's walkout. Many of those teachers said that WEAC might not have called their statewide sickout without MTI leading the way, although I'm skeptical of that. I think solidarity is key, and I still think that it would have been better for *all* districts to act in unison, rather than having Madison act alone.

And of course 80% or more of teachers support the general walkout. That doesn't mean that most East science teachers weren't at work on Wednesday, there is no contradiction there at all.

I, and many other teachers, have serious issues with how Matthews acts as a dictator. That is between Mathews and us, and doesn't mean that we teachers don't fully condemn Walker's fake budget crisis and his draconian actions against public employee unions.

FYI, Beaver, the only comment I got from another teacher about the comment (who wasn't sure it was me commenting, but asked anyway) was positive.

Looking back on it, I have changed my views on the topic somewhat since I wrote that post, but I don't regret writing it. I think many Madisonians understand how we as teachers are torn between being in school, and taking action to protect our rights. There was NO question about taking action when the state union called the strike, there was a lot of questioning when MTI did it alone.
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Re: Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

Postby Beaver » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:40 pm

I still say no teachers union, including MTI, called for a strike. It wasn't a strike. It was a teacher demonstration. A judge agreed:

http://www.channel3000.com/education/26 ... etail.html
Madison Schools Denied Court Effort To Get Teachers Back
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Re: Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

Postby Galoot » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:45 pm

Yes, I was unclear on that myself, Beaver. It wasn't a strike action--the faculty reps from MTI recommended that we take action, and Matthews called Nerad to say that, in effect, many teachers would probably be missing work.
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Re: Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:46 pm

Galoot wrote:And of course 80% or more of teachers support the general walkout.
...

I, and many other teachers, have serious issues with how Matthews acts as a dictator.

I see a serious disconnect between your two statements.

Teachers elect the MTI president and those who bargain on our behalf from our ranks. Matthews, as executive director, carries out the policies of our elected union officials.

I have been a proud member of MTI for over 35 years. Thirty years as a teacher and since my retirement from full-time teaching, as a substitute.
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Re: Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

Postby Galoot » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:50 pm

Like I said, it is between us and MTI, and I don't see much point in discussing it further here. I know a lot of teachers who strongly disagree with the MTI leadership, that's all.
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Re: Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:12 pm

I have a feeling that I know many more teachers than you do and that is not the sentiment I hear.
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Re: Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

Postby workboy7 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:31 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:I have a feeling that I know many more teachers than you do and that is not the sentiment I hear.


See there? Henry is not only smarter, but more popular too.
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Re: Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:32 pm

workboy7 wrote:See there? Henry is not only smarter, but more popular too.

I'm smart enough not to rely on the ad hominem to make a point.

Btw, what is your point?
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Re: Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

Postby Galoot » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:01 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:I have a feeling that I know many more teachers than you do and that is not the sentiment I hear.


You're probably quite right, Henry.
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Re: Forum excerpt in Feb 18 issue was a bad choice

Postby talagaster » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:15 pm

While the excerpt wasn't something I politically agreed with, I thought it was a great choice for the paper. Many (not close a majority) teachers did think a sick-out was a bad idea and many of those who did call in sick were extremely conflicted. Printing the view of dissenting teacher helped illustrate that the sick-out was not a decision made lightly.

I'm not a teacher or a parent but I was very torn about the teachers' decision to sick-out, I supported it but only tepidly. With the benefit of 4 days hindsight, I think it was a good move. Would we have seen the national attention without the crowd numbers bolstered by teachers from throughout the state.

I just feel terrible that our state's teachers were put in this position to begin with.
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