Are Wisconsin Teachers Unfair to Skip School for Protests?

School districts canceled classes since too many teachers called out sick to join the protests.


Protests continue in Wisconsin today against a bill the state legislature is considering that would limit collective bargaining rights of many union workers in the state. Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, have crossed the border into Illinois to deny Republican lawmakers supporting the bill a quorum—thus preventing a vote on the legislation. The plan, proposed by GOP Gov. Scott Walker to help shrink his state’s budget deficit, has caused an uproar among teachers and others who would be impacted by the austerity measure if it passes. Some school districts canceled classes yesterday and today since too many teachers called out sick to join the protests. But some believe the cost of such a walkout is far too high. U.S. News blogger Mary Shaffrey writes:

Before the teachers had a massive call-out sick day earlier this week, requiring school districts to close, did they think about the parents they affected who had to either scramble to find last minute (read: expensive) day care or stay home from work (read: lose pay) in order to care for their children who otherwise should have been in school? Furthermore, why punish the students, the people teachers claim to teach for, by bailing on them to promote their own personal interests? To me, this is nothing short of selfish.

Her fellow blogger disagrees, arguing the budget proposal more than justifies the protests. Jamie Stiehm writes:

Skating on thin ice, Gov. Scott Walker has evinced not a shred of human sympathy as he calmly goes about his business, which is to demonize and demoralize state workers. It's all part of a larger pattern. First it was public school teachers that got the broadsides, snide suggestions they aren't up to snuff. Now it's state public workers, with their pensions and healthcare as fair game. These people are public servants who should not be shrugged off so lightly and rudely.

What do you think? Are Wisconsin teachers being unfair to students and parents by skipping school to protest? Take the poll and post your thoughts below.

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.

Previously: Is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to limit union bargaining the right move to balance the state's budget?