Retired Prof Illustrates the Perils Academe Creates for the Economy

One Charles McCollester, retired professor of Industrial and Labor Relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, writing in the P-G letters column reveals for all to see which side of Industrial and Labor Relations he shows solidarity with.

In the letter the retired prof launches a withering attack against Governor Corbett saying he is the most anti-labor governor since the late 1920s. And what does he base this on? First, he berates the Governor’s refusal to turn over more state dollars to the Port Authority unless there are substantial union concessions. This is an Authority that is in financial chaos owing to overly generous labor contracts in the past that have created legacy and compensation costs the Authority cannot afford absent the state taxpayers heaping more dollars onto a system that cannot be saved short of bankruptcy. The professor should do modicum of research before weighing in on a situation he knows precious little about.

Second, he caterwauls about trying the Governor’s attempt to break the teachers’ unions by slashing school spending and recommending vouchers. Apparently, the well- publicized huge budget deficit facing the Governor last year and the need to cut spending did not reach Indiana. Or if it did, the professor chose to ignore or believed it was all a Republican trick. Perhaps the professor does not believe that school employees should share in the financial hardship so many Pennsylvania taxpayers were going through during the economic downturn. And, it is also apparent that the refusal of teachers to make voluntary small sacrifices such as deferring pay increases in cash strapped school districts was entirely justified. Stick it to hard pressed taxpayers-that’s the ticket according to those who share the world view of the professor.

Vouchers for kids in grossly inadequate public schools? No way say opponents. That would undermine the wonderful public school monopoly the teachers and other members of the educational establishment enjoy and benefit so handsomely from.

And the professor wraps up his know-nothing screed by attacking the foundation community in Pittsburgh for asking the financially distressed Pittsburgh school district to consider the quality of teachers to be let go as opposed to following strict seniority rules. His argument-stop the cost cutting in the first place. Clearly, the professor has not followed the many reports of the excessive cost structure in Pittsburgh schools where spending tops $21,000 per student and academic performance in many school buildings is below miserable. The legacy of refusal to even nod in the direction of real reforms and the damage done to the cost structure by unions and do-gooder educrats have essentially ruined what was great school system. Time to pay the piper has arrived and all the professor can do is cry about the attack on seniority rules that are one of the biggest factors creating the long slide to a sub-mediocre school district.

How many Indiana University students have had their view of the world hopelessly distorted by the professor and the legions of other faculty members like him?