My mother is a teacher. My grandmother was a teacher. My sister just graduated from college with her teaching degree. One of my best friends is a teacher at our old high school. I am not kidding when I say that I grew up admiring teachers and still do. In fact, I often am in the position of defending teachers when talking to my fellow conservatives.
The vast majority of teachers in the state are good and put their heart and soul into their classrooms. Were I in the Assembly, I would be offering amendments to improve the bill, which would include expanding the definition of "wages" to include pay schedules, bonuses, overtime and possibly vacation. I think eliminating the cap of CPI on raises is shortsighted or at least poorly defined. I would like to be able to reward good teachers with higher pay, but with the legislation written as is, that would be difficult to do. These would be minor changes that I think would have little fiscal impact and improve the bill greatly. I have a lot of other minor changes I'd like to see too.
But what I saw in Madison yesterday is making such changes impossible and the unions have no one to blame but themselves. If liberals and union members want to know where everything went horribly wrong after this bill passes, it will be this:
I spoke with the older doctor with the beard on Saturday. I was stunned by his arrogance and the fact that he had a line of teachers waiting for excuse notes. Calling in sick when you're not is bad enough. Lying to your employer to go protest sets a bad example for the children you claim to care so much about. The fact that doctors and teachers are openly engaging in fraud is despicable. I know they're giving idiotic statements about "mental anguish" or being "sick and tired" of Scott Walker, but they are not fooling anyone.
The teachers asking for these fake notes are showing themselves to be liars and cheats. They are proving that this has nothing to do with educating children or fighting for some greater good. For them, it is about money and power, nothing else.
And that is a terrible, terrible shame. This tiny minority of Wisconsin teachers are causing serious damage to the image of all teachers and making it nearly impossible to negotiate a compromise. It comes down to this: if you're willing to lie and cheat about something so simple as this, how can the Governor and the legislature trust you?