Let’s get right to it.
1. The strike is almost certainly over
The Geneva Education Association and the School Board came to a tentative agreement at 3:32 a.m. this morning (12/10). Given that very late hour, there wasn’t enough time to get the back-to-school word out, so no classes today and the terms of the deal will be released later today.
The Union rank and file will vote on that contract this afternoon, but for reasons we’re about to discuss, ratification is all but a foregone conclusion.
2. The Union had to settle now!
As most of you already know, I predicted a minimum two-week strike, and I leaned towards it lasting a full month. But the second that unconscionable Remind Me text went out to high school students, the strike was over.
That failed tactic forced the GEA to quickly settle because whatever minimal public support the teachers previously enjoyed was now eroding by the second. And there was no coming back from that horrific error, either. The longer that anti-text sentiment simmered, the worse it would get for the union.
3. Most big lottery winners wind up regretting it
I’m not saying the GEA won the lottery today, though the Board’s most recent offer was beyond generous. But the clearest indication that money never solves the obvious underlying problems is that 70 percent of big lottery winners go broke within just seven years.
Not only that, but a recent Time article exposed how lottery winner after lottery winner came to wish they’d ripped up that fateful ticket.
As that great philosopher Cindy Lauper once intoned, “Money changes everything!” And it really does, not the least of which will be the relationship between the teachers, school parents, and the public.
If that dynamic ever fully recovers, and I doubt it will, it will take at least full decade to do so.
4. The shift will be subtle, but the fallout will be real
It’s not like Genevans will suddenly start pulling up to GHS shouting “teachers suck!” It’ll be something much subtler like the underlying animosity that tends to be a consequence of a local political campaign that went far too negative.
Parents will be less likely to volunteer, less likely to support their schools, less likely to attend school and sporting events, and those typically warm neighborhood encounters between teachers and parents will be far more perfunctory.
I’m hoping it won’t be the case here, but the wounds from those overly negative political battles always seem to fester and rarely heal.
5. Geneva will never be the same
Perhaps that’s a good thing! The fact that so many of my hometown compatriots believe “everything is awesome in Geneva” when it clearly isn’t, has always bothered me. It’s not that I harbor any great need to expose the “truth” – beyond the folks in charge – but I know that the longer a façade exists, just like it is with a dysfunctional family, the bigger the mess when it finally comes crashing down.
We’re no better than anyone else people, and the behavior of some strike impassioned folks demonstrated just that.
6. Leave School Board members’ children out of it!
This bothers me exponentially more than any Remind Me text blast. When I heard board members’ children were being attacked on Instagram and other social media simply for whom their parents are, it infuriated me.
I would encourage our teachers and their more zealous supporters to watch what they say in front of their children and monitor their children’s social media if they aren’t already doing so.
I want to thank the people who reached out with what’s been happening to Mike McCormick’s family, and I would encourage anyone else with that kind of information to contact me via Facebook PM or email.
With the appropriate evidence in hand, I will be happy to publicly expose the perpetrators for who they really are.
7. I couldn’t possibly be more disappointed in GEA head Kevin Gannon
Let’s add it all up, from:
- A strike was utterly unnecessary
- Inciting an absurd level of hostilities
- Beyond ridiculous “Christmas carols”
- Virtually tying Donald Trump for the number of lies in a week
- Baseless attempts at intimidation
- Smirking for the TV cameras
- Creating a consistently moving negotiation target
- Consistently negotiating in bad faith
- Sending that absurd text
It was always all about him and never about the teachers, students, parents, or citizens of Geneva. The amount of havoc one egotistical and self-serving human being can wreak still amazes me.
And by the way, Mr. Gannon’s and Geneva teachers’ children are off-limits, too.
Since I’m sure you’re every bit as tired of this topic as I am, barring any new major developments, let’s all move on to bigger and better things.