I'm currently reading...
... so I found this column by Eric Zorn of great interest:
The schools are public. The funds to be spent are public. On one side of the table is a public body. Why shouldn't the public have a seat at that table, if only to listen in through the media to the offers and counter-offers?I don't always see eye-to-eye with Zorn, but on this topic he's bang on the money. Go read the whole thing. And then go buy this book. It's guaranteed to set your hair on fire!
Negotiating a contract of this dimension is a major governmental act — far more significant than many of the twists of the statutory knob that must, by law, be performed by legislative bodies at open meetings.
Closed doors are antithetical to democracy. Our traditions tell us that public oversight and input not only help keep officials honest, but also aid them in their quest to represent the will of the people (assuming that is their quest).
In the case of teachers union negotiations, parents are major stakeholders — even more so than most taxpayers — yet are totally shut out of the process until the parties emerge from marathon bargaining sessions brandishing a settlement.
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