Quick Hit’s – Final thoughts on the Geneva teacher’s strike

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.

Strike Over

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.

13 thoughts on “Quick Hit’s – Final thoughts on the Geneva teacher’s strike

  1. Don’t worry Geneva residents. It’s only money and the lost value in your home.

  2. Thank you for your insightful coverage of this strike. You were spot on with all of your points, especially #6 in today’s post. I hope this last post in particular is read by the masses.

  3. Am I in error? Sure the union has to vote on it but doesn’t the board have to ratify it also? And if that is so is the proposal put out for public comments before voting? Or does board just ratify then release details?

    • Jim,

      I don’t believe the board has to ratify it by virtue of them making the offer.

      • From the DH article: “School board President Mark Grosso said he was pleased the union ratified the contract but did not want to discuss the contract or the negotiations until after the school board ratifies it.

        Grosso said he is trying to schedule a meeting, with all board members present, to vote on the contract this week. The board has to give the public at least 48 hours’ notice of a meeting, so the earliest it could be done is Thursday. The board was supposed to meet Monday night but canceled it several days in advance because of the uncertainty about the success of the Sunday-night negotiations.”

  4. What does this mean in financial terms for the taxpayers? Let’s be honest: every public pension system in Illinois is in awful condition and we know foolish thieving politicians have undefunded and robbed them for years (the same politicians the unions have supported with their money, votes and volunteers). For any public union to continue to ignore that reality is beyond insane. We allow public employees to jack up their salaries in the last few years to further spike their already sweetheart pensions after retiring at ridiculously young ages. And all the while union teachers tell us how valuable they are and how useless we are—unless they want more $ from us—and then suddenly we’re their partners. Watch your tax bills folks, because when you get them next year the GEA should add an apology note in the envelope.

  5. The irony is ( after two days since the announcement ) , no details on the “deal”; yet, the taxpayer constituency are left hanging in the wind. To add to this, the Governor – Elect released a video supporting the GEA for “ standing with the kids “ ( kids should be left out of the controversy )

    • Brian,

      The DH reported the Board doesn’t want to release the full details of the contract (some were reported in today’s DH) before it’s ratified by the full board.

      And they can’t have a board meeting without providing the public with 48 hours notice. That means that vote will come Thursday and the contract will be made public.

  6. Sorry but that’s not right. Details should be released now. Teachers accepted it and school is open. Tell us now!

  7. Kevin Gannon continues to make a fool of himself and the GEA as a whole. His first comments were this is a great deal for the teachers. This will really help the healing process between the teachers, board and community. The teachers never had the support of the community. Look at the percentage of homes in Geneva that DID NOT have a I Love Geneva Teachers sign and the Parents for GEA Facebook page had @ 143 likes out of 15,000+ adult residents. The comments that they had the support of the community were laughable. Thank the Lord that I don’t pay Geneva 304 property taxes anymore.

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