Article: A Discussion on the Problematic Growth of Badminton in the San Francisco Bay

Discussion in 'vBCms Comments' started by MysticHLE, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. hiTheBirdie

    hiTheBirdie Regular Member

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    you wanna make it grow faster? make a white american win the gold medal in olympics in 3 categories. It could possibly grow a little bit faster =D
     
  2. cooler

    cooler Regular Member

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    ok, we have beaten to death on the economic subject. At worst, it might contribute some really tiny percent to the problem badminton interest in the US.

    what mystic didn't like was the private clubs in SF aren't targeting all the audience in his area. How silly is this presumption?
    those private clubs are operating in a free market system, something US is often touted as their strength. If mystic want those private clubs to spend more to market and tailor to the 'other' group(s), where is the extra money for marketing, more clubs, more exhibition, to come from? Is mystic is avocating is the dread 'affirmative action'?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_action_in_the_United_States is the US gov't ready to foot that bills? Just like they did to those teens which gov't is paying them to stay in school. Msytic says SF area clubs have coaches that speak poor english. Well, those are best technical coaches u got in the US at the moment. The current asian kids in SF likely speak english too as 1st language, they don't have a big advantage over the white kids as u might think. I havent been to SF area but i do think the best clubs there have decent english speaking coaches. I know a few coaches here where i live that have poor english, i can tell u that they don't work in any private clubs, they have tried to get in but no cigar.
     
    #42 cooler, Jun 18, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  3. br0wnbaddie

    br0wnbaddie New Member

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    let's not focus on the pricing, let's focus on the groups that play badminton it is a majority of asian players, badminton will not go anywhere if only asian people support the sport, once i went to a badminton gym in the bay area and the asian players that regularly go to the gym always hog all the courts and one time i even saw them push out a group of white kids that wanted to come to the badminton gym and try out the game..

    this sport will go nowhere if asian's act like they are the owners and the only people allowed to play the game..

    there must be marketing from people that are non-asian and asian people must accept this , for anyone else to try out the beautiful game
     
  4. cooler

    cooler Regular Member

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    it back to ignorance.

    it seem to be a problem of poor supervision or ground rule for the club. I see those bad behaviors here too so it's isnt because it's a SF area problem. The reverse can be said in open unsupervised gyms where basketball being played, the shorter asians are often sit out and watch the taller dudes play basketball. It shows that SF area market is still not saturated with baddy courts where people still have to fight for courts. Answers: better supervision and/or more courts.

    *cough*, i'm very very sure the 'asians' players welcomes any new clubs started and/ or run by non asian people. Please don't make it sound like asians people wouldn't not accept this arrangement.
     
    #44 cooler, Jun 18, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  5. raymond

    raymond Regular Member

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    I wonder if all the issues (with poor students not able to pay 3-4 bugs more per drop-in, and that they don't want to go to empty gym with friends) are real though. Are the posters representatives of this group? And how big is this group anyway, relative to the overall badminton population?

    The A's and B's players might not mind playing with the weaker players very occasionally, and even the "starters" once in a long while. But if we're talking about long term improvement, I doubt this is the way to go (proper coaching, or at least self studies of basic techniques would be needed). If it were, then just drop in to those "up-scale" places every once in a while looking for all the A's and B's players that apparently have moved there, and get your skill checked! Consider the price differential your very affordable coaching fee.
     
    #45 raymond, Jun 18, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  6. raymond

    raymond Regular Member

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    The topic apparently took a nose dive. From money issue to racial!:confused::rolleyes::eek:

    "once i went to a badminton gym in the bay area..." You saw it once, an isolated incidence, and you generalize this to the "asian population" at large. This population implicates a lot of people. Are you sure?
     
  7. raymond

    raymond Regular Member

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    I also don't see the big urge to make popularity of the sport bigger than what it is in N. America. As someone already pointed out, there might really be a strong cultural influence here. Other cultures might not like badminton whatever we do, in much the same way that I (and some of you) might not like baseball, basketball, hockey, football that are so popular in some countries. Some races like to eat rice, some like to eat bread and potatoes.

    We just need to learn to respect each other's differences and give each other equal rights and space to do what we like. Why do we try to change others? It's more important to serve the population that already has the interest to play and desire to train etc. It used to be quite tough a few years back, due to limitation in all conceivable resources.
     
  8. pBmMalaysia

    pBmMalaysia Regular Member

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    what you say its true but there are still millions who can't run or jump to play those team event sports like baseball, basketball...

    badminton is a beautiful game and you only need 4 people to play doubles or mixed double, it is not only for serious player, it can be for the family or just anybody.

    in asia they even come up with tournaments for a combined age of more than a 130 years, that is a 60 yrs old partnering another 70 or a 50 partnering a 80. just imagine that and you can see the fun they have!
     
  9. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    i agree with cooler that it is not just badminton, and not just Asians. it happens in any other activities where there are limited resources and varying skill levels.

    not sure what the proper solution is here. can the gym impose some courts for the beginners? afterall most gyms have challenge courts for the advance players, why not a beginner court for the ones who cannot play well?

    we are getting off-topic here.
     
  10. kish-mah-ash

    kish-mah-ash Regular Member

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    da way i see it,the populartiy of badminton and the available resourcens related to badminton in the u.s. is nott too bad considering the perecentage of the the population who plays it is from asian community.and we all know badmionton and table tennis are basically dominated by asian folks.it will be a big task if one thinks badminotn is going to be as popular as like american football or basekteball.ain't no way that's goinna happen.not unless the u.s. bring in another 450 mililion chinese or asians to the country.
     
  11. br0wnbaddie

    br0wnbaddie New Member

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    yes it is an asian dominated sport, i wonder why because of the original poster's point there is not enough money behind it and not enough sponsors, that are showing it on national tv. like all other sports once this is introduced to the public who knows if asian people will dominate the sport for example basketball whites invented it, now look at the majority of players who play it.. do you guys see what im saying? im sorry if ive come off as ignorant
     
  12. LazyBuddy

    LazyBuddy Regular Member

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    $8 with badminton designated gym with lounge and A/C is expensive? Then I do not know what our east coast players have to say, when we pay $10~$27 to play in school gyms with taped lines...

    Yeah, $8 compare to $4 may not be a good news, but you get what you paid for. If you save $$$ to buy a few less rackets (compare to "numerous"), I assume that probably can pay for 1 year of fee already...
     
  13. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    $27 is starting to get into the "hindering badminton growth" territory..... :eek:

    that's almost what some of the gym here charge for MONTHLY membership.
     
  14. eeyore12345

    eeyore12345 Regular Member

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    Let me ask you this. Do you think 8 dollars for drop in is cheap? Do you think 8 dollars is really the equilibrium price? Bintang used to have it for 5 dollars an all of a sudden when UBC set the price at 7 dollars all the places started to copy the price. Yo, I think the orginal poster should make a poll. Set the price to 5,6,7,8,9,10 all the way to 20 dollars and see how many people are actually willing to spend (honestly) for the drop in price. Maybe we can get something out of it. :)
     
  15. MysticHLE

    MysticHLE Regular Member

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    Might as well make the poll to $40 since there are existing places already for $27.

    @cooler, it's funny how you think I'm naive. But I suppose sarcasm and hypothetical situations to demonstrate a point is too much to comprehend here online without misunderstandings sometimes.

    No, I did not literally mean to bring Peter Gade here to America. It was a figurative analogy to say that we need a non-Asian badminton hero here in order to shift the marketing audience so that badminton would be potentially more popular among non-Asians, which is the reasoning behind me preaching that we should find a way to market to the non-Asian audiences - and the economic/marketing incentive...well, that is what hiTheBirdie was saying (and also what I said in forums earlier).

    Indeed, at current economic conditions, it's unrealistic and impossible without having the private centers going bankrupt out of self sacrifice. But that's why I wanted to ignite some discussions and proposed solutions with this thread.

    And I suppose my original post required too much reading between the lines/indirect inference to really get at my point. I don't post here often, and I didn't know exactly what was appropriate, so I wasn't very explicit on a lot of the things I was trying to get across through...read rest of my comment if you're interested.

    Why don't Asian countries play sports like basketball, tennis, football? Have you ever thought of demographics in addition to basic demand/supply? Bigger people are more capable of playing bigger sports. How big is the badminton court? How big are football fields? Just like a fish's maximum size is restricted by the size of the tank (some fish can grow much larger than they do, but because of tank size and overall space, they actually don't reach that potential), people tend to prefer environments and activities that suit them more physically, and vice versa - people's physique tend to be based on the attributes of the environment in which they live in, such as living space, food quality, stress, etc.

    Badminton is an agile and fast sport. Ever heard of how it's harder for tall people to return smashes aimed at the body? Or how hard it is for them to twist and turn for side shots as well compared to short people? Well, I think I've said enough for you to put two and two together on that one.

    @pBmMalaysia, I personally will not be able to do that. I am still a full time student in school, and as much as I do have a passion for badminton and are willing to discuss the challenges that we all face and arrive at a solution, I personally cannot commit myself to the sport entirely because I have other more important goals in life still.

    However, your suggestion may very well prove to be effective, and I really appreciate it that you're contributing it to this discussion, and hopefully all of these ideas will be able to get to someone who actually has the financial and motivational background and time needed to help make these ideas reality! =D

    @raymond, people in China have fun with badminton regardless of the conditions because the sport itself is fun! None of us here would disagree with that! But how and when it's introduced to the new player is what's really important I think.

    In China, you have the media doing all the work for you - even from first grade and Jr. high and whatnot. You have young male heros like Lin Dan and female heros like Xie Xinfang. It's a very good image to draw young audience into the sport. And guess what, when those people get older, they'll introduce the sport to their children, and so on and so forth...

    However, here in the U.S., you only have the elementary/Jr. high/high school P.E. teachers who don't know how to play the sport well enough trying to teach you about a smash...(and that teacher would then often times show you a hit that's about as fast as our sliced drops). I mean if I didn't know what badminton can really be like, I wouldn't be interested in the sport either from just watching those people play. And usually, in the pre-high school levels, there aren't many good players around to show you what the sport would actually be about.

    Even if there are good players, the sport lacks good public free coaching. Those good players in high school tend to stick to his/her own group, and are usually not the type to want to teach the sport out of passion. Similarly, it's much easier to find a basketball/football coach to teach P.E. (and of course he/she would then be a lot more instructive/experienced at the sport he/she specializes in) instead of a qualified badminton coach, who are usually at your local private club/gym making a living from the rich Asian groups who are already badminton enthusiasts...

    Which brings me back to my original point that the current system, as driven by current economic incentives...is very detrimental to badminton's developmental rate as a whole in the country.

    From my experiences here at my U.C. gym, most times when bystanders look down from the balcony at us badminton players, many of them would actually take pictures and wow at us playing - because it's something that totally blows their existing mindset of the sport (something sad that would have been ingrained into them from high school and earlier).

    However, by this time (in college), one would have usually already have found their interests in terms of physical/recreational activities, and not much thought would be put into actually trying out the sport perhaps for most people.

    What I think we can really use...are motivational badminton-experienced players/coaches to introduce the sport to the younger audiences in public schools (instead of private clubs) and build interest in the sport starting at a young age.

    That's what typically happens anyway. From what I've seen/understand, many American children pick up a sport because that's what his/her parents expose them to at an early age - and from then on it eventually develops into a hobby, interest, passion, and then a career. Of course the media plays a role in the decision making process as well, but the media is based on what is already popular, and that is changeable if we're persistent enough.

    Of course, to introduce badminton like that in such public environments where basketball/football/baseball is already popular...might prove to be ineffective for the majority since they would already have been exposed to/interested in another sport. But if we persist, I believe that this would eventually yield good results and won't do us harm.

    Which of course, brings us to the problem of economics again. Public school teachers don't get paid a lot, nor do they get a lot of respect most of the times. There is very little economic incentive/fame compared to other jobs to being a public school teacher unless that is your passion - to properly bring forth young children to society regardless of their immaturity and frustrations involved (and that is also why I personally respect public school teachers so much).

    So...to find such people who are willing to make the sacrifice to do it for the sake of badminton...that's a tough one - especially in our current economy in this country.

    But hey, it's an idea, right?

    @kwun, if a gym imposes a beginner's court, who/what is to gauge and maintain the validity? It's not possible to just set a certain skill level (C, D, or below) on the court due to varying customers each day. Not to mention, you will always find those few people who just want to totally take over the beginner's courts with their own group because they don't want to wait for the courts of similar play levels. Administering such a system is pretty unrealistic - and it brings us back again to the problem of existing experienced Asian players dominating the sport as it is - except for cases of empty community centers like ICC (I was there just tonight...we were on the court the entire 3 hours and did drills and whatnot...and of course I saw not a single white-skinned person there tonight). But then for those NEW players, not many would want to go because of the atmosphere of it being empty to begin with because it would then be perceived that the sport is not popular. It's a different case for us badminton enthusiasts because we're actually there dying to play and get on the courts (I went because my friend and I are more of the practice and perfect skills/drills/footwork type most of the time and we play our serious games elsewhere - for example - me at U.C. Davis).

    @everyone else who says that $8 is cheap...don't your statements demonstrate my original point in that the cost of entry to the sport is quite high and may act as a deterring force for the sport's popularity? I mean really...$27...? That's earnings for 4 hours at minimum wage here in Cali. Who in their right mind (talking about the non-badminton enthusiasts again) would work and be tired for 4 hours and then use the same money earned only to be tired and worked up for another 4 hours? O_O;

    I mean in the East Coast, badminton is indeed less popular than it is here in the Bay Area. So there is an overall correlation between the sport's popularity/facility availability and cost, no?

    Of course, in light of that, better does mean expensive. But eventually, if it does end up getting TOO good and TOO expensive, then it will indeed become detrimental to participation rates and affordability/popularity, and that's a problem that I was trying to address - a gradual increase of what the standard for facilities fee should seemingly be - as eeyore12345 pointed out.
     
  16. raymond

    raymond Regular Member

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    Cheap or expensive is all relative. Someone once set the price at $4-5 for the drop-in gyms. Now, new gym owners can objectively say they offer "upgrade" for all, they should be able to charge more (as perhaps in the case of UBC above).

    I'm sure all gyms would want to charge the price as high as possible. But what's stopping them. For one, this new business is not a monopoly. If you raise the price, your neighbor might not follow suit, as they think you're gonna lose business to them at a lower price. At least they would watch for a little while on what would happen to you.

    Worse comes to worse, most can all regress back to community centers and high-school drop-ins.:eek:
     
  17. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    there are many things wrong with the badminton development in this country. many things needs to be fixed/changed in order to foster the development of the sport.

    i personally don't think the cost is that big of an issue. sure it will be better, but relatively minor. imagine if the gyms are free, how much of a difference would that have made? there are cities with free badminton gyms, San Diego for example, has 10 full time free courts in Balboa Park. we don't see badminton exploding like crazy over there.

    racial demographics can make a difference. however, there are a few issues. some you have pointed out. it is an Asian dominated sport. i don't think that is the source of the problem. the source of the problem is the image of the sport. most Americans are ignorant of the sport as you have pointed out, they think badminton is sissy and rather go play basketball, etc. images are one of the things that are hard to change, unfortunately. and USAB are pretty powerless on this regards. however, this is the thing that will change slowly with all these clubs sprouting out. there will be more and more exposure to non-Asian. it will unforunately be a slow process.

    letting beginners into the club and be allowed to play is an issue, but it is an issue in all sports and it is partly a social issue and partly a systematic one. clubs can try to encourage beginners, the problem can be solved with proper queuing system which most clubs are implementing (and probably what you paid for with the higher fees)

    the largest problem i think is that there is no strong national system in place to encourage players to play, and no national system to train and develop players.

    look at other countries, in China, every large city has a city team, the talents are scouted to play in the province team, the province team talents are scouted to play in national team. there is a catchment area covering the whole country. all organized and connected. in the US, none of that exists. Denmark, Netherland, Germany, etc have a very well organized club system. clubs are organized into different divisions and there are league play between them. top divisions are played by the national players and are well endowed by sponsors. none of that here.

    and USAB, the body which is supposed to help develop badminton, is powerless as they are fund strapped.

    i think we shouldn't criticize the private club, they play a larger role in helping the development of badminton than they are trying to make it rich. it is the result of the private clubs that we see a huge explosion of badminton popularity here in the area. without them, we will still be crowding into a handful of high school gyms for 5 hours in a weekend.
     
  18. MysticHLE

    MysticHLE Regular Member

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    I guess we could wait and see on the next new gym's pricing and see exactly how objective it is based on quality improvement. So far, speaking from experience and what I've seen at Bintang, BBC, and UBC, I personally don't think the objective differences quite justify the increase in price.
     
  19. MysticHLE

    MysticHLE Regular Member

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    1. Already addressed earlier in the other post.

    2. Your logic and analogy are entirely flawed and irrelevant. I'm not talking about tag football or street basketball. And as far as I and anyone else can see, tennis, basketball, and football don't change nearly as much with wind resistance and require a special facility to play the sport in the (near) EQUIVALENT spirit/caliber that badminton requires indoor gyms for. And I'm not talking about simply TRYING badminton. The initial experience itself is what will keep people playing the sport more than once. If people don't keep playing badminton after the first try, do you think it's really fun for them?

    Why do people in China keep playing even in such poor conditions and equipments? Because they understand how the game is supposed to be played because there is plenty of media coverage in China to show what badminton is actually supposed to/can be like, while us U.S. folks here have basketball coaches at high school levels trying to teach badminton with smashes at our drop speeds...while private investors and qualified coaches keep their heads in the ground milking money from us rich existing badminton-enthusiasts.

    You can achieve very high levels of play for tennis, basketball, and football in existing environments, but you cannot easily do the same for badminton without a proper paid indoor gym - and that's what separates badminton from those sports in terms of economic attractiveness.

    Thus, entry level into and experience of badminton are drastically affected by such conditions; and in all fairness, it is then indeed valid to draw an analogy to say that football, tennis, and basketball are practically free compared to badminton when equipments of equal value are provided already.

    3. Whining? So far I've given you nothing but thorough explanations and counterarguments against your half-ass backed up claims and put downs that seem to totally ignore what I'm trying to say. If indeed you say you have many valid counterarguments, why don't you actually enlighten us all with your great knowledge and explanations and back them up thoroughly like I have been - without putting people down? I'm in fact dying to see a post of yours that does indeed respect others and don't contain some sort of put down, btw.

    As far as I can see, yes, our government is broke; and that's why ICC actually raised the drop-in fee 2 years ago from the previous years' price of $3 to $4. But what of private investors? They're not subsidized to begin with, so any increase in price had better directly 1:1 correlate to increase in quality/need of financial management if you're trying to defend the point that they are indeed not simply being greedy and charging an excess based on the highest possible that they can charge. Why don't you take a look at the flooring and court conditions of Bintang, UBC, and BBC and tell me if they objectively warrant such increases in prices? I've been to all of them, and I personally do not think the qualitative differences merit such correlated increases/differences in price - at least not at the rate that they are charging.

    Indeed, bigger/better gyms requires more air conditioning, lighting, initial building fee, etc. Initial building fees can be recovered in time by simply operating the business at zero economic profit if the gym is indeed catered towards outreach of badminton and not filling the owners' own pockets and charging maximally at whatever price that may be accepted at. So let's do a little bit of analysis.

    Because of the increase in size, bigger gyms can also house more players at once, and a potential for maximum throughput of funding increases at an order of 4 x n x m where n and m are the dimensions of area increase of the gym (1 extra court can net a potential of 4 more players' fees). Yet, maintenance fees and electrical costs are also of an order of some constant x n x m, where that constant is the height of the gym (increase in air conditioning in terms of air produced as measure of cubic ft would be proportional to height of gym x n x m). And since electrical costs are linear in proportion to usage, such costs should easily be able to be offset and compensated by the increase in profit netted from the additional players due to the increase in size of gym (and if you're to tell me that an extra $20-30/every 3 hours (estimated? average time people stay for) isn't enough to mitigate electrical costs, then I wouldn't want to know what overpriced utilities provider you're using - 'cause that's how much I pay in a whole month)...and if they end up losing money because of empty courts everywhere, then that is the fault on the part of the gym owner given current popularity/economic conditions of badminton and lack of accurate analysis of demand prior to gym construction.

    The gym owner can always choose to be economical as well. There are options of natural lighting (or low powered lighting) during the day, turning off lights/air conditioning of certain courts when not in use, etc. I've also been to new gyms such as BBC. Their ceilings are ridiculously high and unnecessary for any form of badminton play (UBC's ceiling height is actually quite ideal). Of course, higher ceilings would naturally mean a needed increase in luminous intensity of all lights - an increased electrical cost factor, and I can reasonably say once again that that is bad design and the responsibility of the gym owner upon constructing the gym.

    Thus, I really don't see the merit in such constant patterns of increases in price in light of all of this if we were to weigh all aspects of proper design, cost mitigations, and demand analysis.

    4. Cheap? Low cost? How cheap, and with respect to what average income back then? Did they have the same media coverage that China had? Why don't you enlighten me on this one?

    kwun, I think the main problem is indeed in the image of the sport. But how can this image improve if we simply keep the media and advertisement to existing privately owned clubs and seeing the clubs keep increasing price without extending the sport to another audience? Is badminton to remain an Asian sport forever (figuratively) now? If not, and if we wish to speed up the process of the sport's expansion/popularity, shouldn't we start at the root of public schools and expand from there? Show them what badminton is really like...on a larger state/national scale. But how can we do that when qualified coaches are always in the private clubs running the show among us enthusiasts/children of enthusiasts already?

    With that said, I think the best place to start would be in public school P.E. classes. But then there's also the problem where public school P.E. teachers usually have to be considered "proficient" at other sports (like football, basketball, etc) in order to teach them all...to find good badminton coaches that can/are willing to do that...well, another toughie I think. There's a lack of economic incentive, and that's also why I said in the first post that we all have to make sacrifices...but who will start? =|
     
    #59 MysticHLE, Jun 19, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  20. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    ..that's not too bad actually..here in the L.A. region, from what i found out, a reg. monthly membership usually runs over $30, a few would even be close to $40/month..but if we are in a group, then the club would give some kind of discount..

    Like someone already mentioned, considering the percentage of Asian (immigrant) population in the U.S., esp. in California, i think it makes sense to see the percentage and popularity of badminton as it is in comparison to other established sports.

    Another thing to consider is the incentive for playing badminton as a career (esp. in the U.S. where the culture is profit driven)...okay, we've touched on this many times, so i'll just leave it as is..:p

    Price-wise for playing in a club, i think it will stay relatively the same in the CA region in the future.

    Off topic: Btw, there's a mention abt public school teachers getting respect for what they do...IMO, what they've provided and the intention is quite noble. But remember also, in CA, they are (one of the many unions) one of the big reasons why the state/economy is bankrupt. They start out with good intention, but then they start to compare themselves with other private entities and demand more incentives and money for their retirement (became greedy). What happened to their noble cause to work and provide teaching at a lower cost? That's why we all see all the budget/school/education funding cuts all over CA...Who suffers at the end? the reg. people whose tax money essentially provide the public school teachers' salary..

    Btw, i wonder why all these comments are not posted within the regular thread??..
     
    #60 ctjcad, Jun 19, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010

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