Good debate forces all sides to dig deep to understand well their mission, cause, beliefs, and point of view. Those with the greatest depth and convincing evidence will likely move a crowd, while those who are unsure of what they are advocating for will likely earn less support.
If you don't engage in debate, you'll likely not have a place at the table as your point of view or perspective will probably not be considered. Debate is a natural part of the change process as individuals consider many processes, decisions, resources, or events--what will triumph and why?
Recently I've read a number of emails regarding health care negotiations in my school system. Health care is complex and difficult to understand. My family receives numerous print-outs with all kinds of jargon. We have a complex plan that's difficult to understand and costs a fair share, yet when we need health care, we typically get what we need.
As I read the email updates from our local union, I wonder about the following questions:
- Is it true that that town cannot afford quality health care for the workers of the town?
- What do other towns do; how do we compare?
- How much additional money will this actually cost the average individual worker or family?
- How does this compare with the majority of families we serve--is it about equal, far less, or more?
- How does this play out over time?
Thankfully we have a few dedicated individuals looking into these questions and advocating for workers in the town so that the benefits are reasonable.
We know that good teachers and employees will look at benefits when they seek a new job, and systems that offer good benefits and fair salaries will typically invite the best candidates. We also know that when salaries are reasonable and health care good, people don't have to work second jobs or travel long distances to see a doctor or receive a health benefit. Similar to most things in life "you get what you pay for."
I trust in those who are making the decisions that they'll make the decisions with humanity and thoughtfulness for people more than the game debate can become or simply with a financial lens. While financial security is important; in the long run taking good care of the people that serve your town is more important as that supports the strength and livelihood of the town.
A number of employees don't take the health benefit. Some of them are paid a fee each year because of that. I don't take the health benefit, but because I made that decision a long time ago, I don't get paid the fee. I guess they didn't need to incentivize me to leave the health care I've been apart of for a long time, though I think it would be fair to treat all the same in this regard.
Whatever the case, I hope all will do what's right for the people involved. Healthy employees who earn a reasonable, fair salary are able to do their jobs well--that's important to the good work and service possible. I'm thankful there are those willing to advocate on our behalf for this important health benefit.