Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Peon's Last Stand - The Assault on Texas Education Continues

Source: http://ciudadcapital.com.mx/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/campesino_maiz_570.jpg

In a conversation with a colleague yesterday, the subject naturally turned to all the heart-stressing reforms Governor Perry and State Legislators are about. "Is it that they want to completely destroy public education so they can siphon money off for business cronies and private/charter schools? And, what evidence is there that private/charter schools are even effective? They're not compared to public schools."

As we pondered what education in Texas would look like after the Texas Governor and Legislature finished demolishing it, I noticed this article from Pew on Pension and Retiree Health Care Reform:
As states face declining revenue, they are also grappling with the ongoing cost of public employee pensions and retiree health care benefits. (Read Source)
The Teacher Retirement System (TRS) now faces a potential change:
Freshman House member Rep. Jim Sheets (R-Dallas) filed a bill (House Bill 1974) March 1 to convert both the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) and the state employees’ retirement system from the current defined benefit plans (DBP) to defined contribution plans (DCP). A DBP is a plan under which participants are guaranteed a certain level of benefits for meeting eligibility requirements. A DCP is more like a 401(k) or 403(b) in which contributions are subject to fluctuations in the market and returns are not guaranteed. 
Proponents of converting TRS from a DBP to DCP believe it would lower the costs of providing benefits for retirees and save the state money. ATPE is opposed to such a switch and reiterated this position during the March 2 hearing of the Senate Finance Committee. HB 1974 has yet to be referred to a committee or scheduled for a hearing. ATPE will monitor this bill closely. 
Source: ATPE LAN Update Email, Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 4:41 PM
When I stop to add up how much teachers actually make, the health care, and TRS, it's clear that any effort to "cut" those down makes teaching as a career a poor choice. As one of my wife's aunts said once, "Why do you want to go into teaching? You'll end up a peon." At the time, I remember being offended and, after respectfully acknowledging her contribution to the conversation, walking away. Now, though, it's becoming clearer that for some in Texas, there are some who are to be considered peons and others, their Masters.

As for me and mine, we'll stand with the peons.

Source: http://www.leonespatillas.com/images/pueblo/el_boxeo_campesino.jpg

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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