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The ITT List

Tuesday, Dec 11, 2007, 1:56 pm

Wisky labor history

By Adam Doster

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So ITT may or may not reach Dave Hansen's Green Bay home, but we're on the same page nontheless.

The three Rs would be joined by mandatory instruction on collective bargaining and the history of unions in America under a proposal being considered in the Wisconsin Legislature.

Labor unions are all for it. School groups aren't.

The bill, by Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, would require every school board to incorporate the history of organized labor and the collective bargaining process into its curriculum.

A few months back, I wrote about the need for such a policy, so I hope this moves forward. The critiques from a Republican aide are pretty weak.

"We could do organized labor today and the history of the Republican Party tomorrow," Murray said. "In a time when we're having trouble teaching our kids the basic of history, is this really the time to be putting another mandate on when we're not even doing the current stuff well?"

For one, labor is not a partisan issue. It's an issue central to American life that few have taken the time to teach. And secondly, labor can be woven into lots of academic subjects without sacrificing other content. It's not a zero-sum game, it just takes some creativity. Way to demonize your teachers and students, though.

Adam Doster, a contributing editor at In These Times, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former reporter-blogger for Progress Illinois.

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