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A letter from the teachers:

“Cowardice asks the question, is it safe?  Expediency asks the question, is it politic?  Vanity asks the question, is it popular?  But conscience asks the question, is it right?  And there comes a time when one must take a position, that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right!”  Dr. Martin Luther King

On Friday, February 18th, many teachers in the SCF school district broke the rules they agreed to uphold and traveled to Madison to protest the budget repair bill.  As a result, there were not enough subs to cover and Glenn Martin, in order to ensure the safety of the students, was forced to cancel school.

Though we were aware that our actions had the potential to close school, that was never our intent.  For most, this was a gut wrenching and difficult decision to make.  Not one of us made it lightly.  We were breaking a promise we made to a community that trusts us with their children.  This is a fact that weighed heavily on each of our hearts that day.  All day.

Still, we are not sorry that we went.

Many of us live in this community.  We have family and friends and neighbors that are counting on us to do our job–and we are saddened that many of you feel that we let you down.  Many are angry.  We have, no doubt, damaged some relationships and lost some trust. And so we come before you–guilty as charged.  We apologize for the disruption this caused.   Each of us takes full responsibility and are prepared to face the consequences.

Still, we are not sorry that we went.

Why?

About the middle of last week, when it began to be clear to us what was happening in Madison, and how the Budget Repair Bill would damage not only the core of a proud tradition of excellent education in Wisconsin, but also ripple through our communities with waves of painful unintended consequences–each of us took a hard look deep into our souls.  What we found there was a choice–to play it safe here in St. Croix Falls, or to stand up for all of our children, all of our futures, all of Wisconsin and what we believe to be right.

Collective bargaining has been happening in Wisconsin for over 50 years.  Statistically, states with collective bargaining score higher on ACT/SAT test.  Five states without collective bargaining and their respective ACT/SAT rank are Virginia (44th), Texas (47th), Georgia (48th) North Carolina (49th) and South Carolina (50th).  Wisconsin and Minnesota tied for 2nd.

This is not about money.  This is not about pensions, or health care, or benefits or salary.  This is about the right to sit down at the table to discuss, to collaborate, to negotiate, to work together to solve the complex problems that we face today.  This is collective bargaining.  This is negotiation.  This is what we teach our students to do every day.  To collaborate.  To negotiate.  To work together. To appreciate differences and perspectives. But most of all–to stand up and do what’s right.

Even when you are standing alone.