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Chester County Press

Uncle Irvin: A liberal in over his head

09/02/2015 08:20AM ● By J. Chambless

By Uncle Irvin

If you look at the makeup of Congress, or the Pennsylvania General Assembly, you will be able to identify many Tea Party conservatives, as well as liberals.

From a demographic point of view, you might assume that as many as 35 to 45 percent of fiscal conservatives reside in Chester County, most in the highly affluent areas. How about an area made up of Newlin, Pocopson and Birmingham townships, perhaps the very wealthiest in Chester County? Many homes exceed $1 million, household income is over $250,000, etc., so what are the chances of electing a a social liberal to the school board?

I don’t know, but I do know that one of the wackiest liberal highbrows you can run into is Dr. Michael Rock, an elected member of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board from the Pocopson, Newlin and Birmingham district.

To make a long story short, the School Board and the teachers' union are fighting for either one of two proposals for increasing teacher compensation, starting with the 2016 school year. The Unionville teachers' union is the greediest and the most strident in southern Chester County. The union's compensation demands are 4.9 percent per year for three consecutive years -- a compounded income of over 17 percent for three years, or over 5 percent per year.

The School Board is split on how to fund this demand. A small majority of the board wants a more reasonable package. Dr. Rock is part of the minority that wants to pay the teachers even more than they would be willing to accept in a showdown.

Rock, a professor of economics at Bryn Mawr College, bases his case for higher pay on his experiences over the last 40 years of Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia consists of Vietnam and Cambodia, not Willowdale, Dilworthtown and Radley Run!

Obviously, the voters of Newlin, Pocopson and Birmingham were sleeping on the job to select Dr. Rock to pick their pockets based on his study of a culture so far removed from our western culture.

I am a liberal arts major from an Ivy League college, and I know absolutely nothing about Southeast Asia. And I would never even venture an opinion on the subject.

Obviously, Dr. Rock feels that being an expert on Southeast Asia makes him an expert in the proper compensation levels for U-CF teachers. He advocates giving teachers what they ask for, not what they are worth.

If Dr. Rock claims to be a scholar, he is embarrassing himself and his constituents.

(Uncle Irvin's column is his opinion only, and is not a news story.)