TESTIMONY OF JR ROMANO, STATE DIRECTOR OF AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY, BEFORE THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, March 5th, 2012
I am here today seeking clarification on what your intention with the unfunded mandate requiring teaching union and collective bargaining education. With local school budgets stretched to the max I find it odd that the state of Connecticut would find it necessary to pass specific legislation regarding such a subject.
The first question I have, why is the committee considering passing specific legislation regarding subject matter that is already well covered. The subject of Unions is already included current curriculum. According to the Connecticut’s Social Studies Framework the history of Unionization is already required. History books across the state already included Unionization as being a part of the fabric of our country. A History of the American People a standard History Text Book literally being used today in Connecticut High Schools includes 8 sections on the history of Unions in America. So I ask of the committee why is it contemplating such a mandate. I find it somewhat odd that the State is trying to be so specific with curriculum. From what I can find the state has only two other similar mandates regarding history. The Holocaust and the Irish Potato Famines. So is this committee indicating that Unionization is more significant then Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, why not a mandate even the specific sacrifices the State of CT has made throughout Military History? None of these subjects have mandates.
The second question I have is if the state continues spending time debating the question of Union History, which I have established is already taught, what will the curriculum entail?
Will the state mandate that the full story of unionization will be taught? My concern is not subject matter; it is what exactly will be taught. For example, Unions have a long storied history, and have certainly help shape the fabric of the American workforce; however that isnt where the story ends. The history of this nation is one of freedom, and choice. Will the data and history comparing forced union states to right to work states be included in this mandate? For example will Taft-Hartley Act 1947 which allows individuals the freedom to not join the union, to not pay Union dues or agency fees, will that be included? Will students learn that Right to work states consistently outperform Union Shop states, Like CT.
In the past ten years , Private Sector Job Growth in Right-to-Work States: 0.3%, Union Shop States: -5.53%, National Average: -3.34%
? Real per capita GDP from 2000 to2010
? Right-to-Work States: 9.99%
? Union Shop States: 8.06%
? National Average: 8.85%
? TANF Recipients per 1,000 Residents2010
? Right-to-Work States: 7.65
? Union Shop States: 18.44
? National Average: 14.09
In 2001, Oklahoma became the 22nd state to pass a right-to-work law.
? After legal challenges, the law went into effect in 2003.
? Manufacturing GDP in OK grew 45%
? Compared to 31% in other RTW states and 22% in non-RTW states
? Productivity increased 67%
? Compared to 62% in other RTW states and 55% in non-RTW states
? Individuals are voting with their feet and moving to OK as well
? From 1995 to 2002, OK lost more than 10,000 households and $1 billion in income
? From 2003 to 2008, OK gained 13,000 households and $100 million in income
Source: Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
Finally what assurances if this legislation passes that a fair and balanced story will be told? For example, the Civil War is taught very differently in southern States. The War of Northern aggression as it is referred is taught from an entirely different perspective. If the curriculum is being developed by Union members, administered by Union members how can we be sure that this process will be fair and balanced. I encourage this committee to focus on solving the many problems facing the condition of the CT education system, and not wasting its time discussing history that is already well represented in the current system.
Excerpt SB#304 2012
In the public schools the program of instruction offered shall include at least the following subject matter, as taught by legally qualified teachers, the arts; career education; consumer education; health and safety, including, but not limited to, human growth and development, nutrition, first aid, disease prevention, community and consumer health, physical, mental and emotional health, including youth suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, safety, which may include the dangers of gang membership, and accident prevention; language arts, including reading, writing, grammar, speaking and spelling; mathematics; physical education; science; social studies, including, but not limited to, citizenship, economics, geography, government and history, labor history and law, including the history of organized labor, the collective bargaining process and existing legal protections in the workplace.