Monday, May 21, 2007

CTA to Members: Think For Yourself, Then Do As We Tell You

I received one of CTA's mass emailings today. Here's the text:

Two Issues to End the School Year: Health Care & No Child Left Behind
As the year comes to a close, we are reminded that the fight for decent benefits and working conditions continues.
On the health care front, we are currently engaged in an important project with the California Health Care Coalition (CHCC). In an effort to control health care costs and improve quality at the local level, we are organizing health care purchasers (employees, administrators and employers from the public and private sectors) into a coalition to discover what local hospitals are charging us for care and what levels of quality they provide. Armed with this research, we will then pressure the non-performing or high-charging hospitals to conform to reasonable standards of care.
If you would like to know more about the California Health Care Coalition, please visit their website ( And, if you are interested in becoming involved in our efforts, which you are encouraged to do, please email Dan Koen, with CTA’s Negotiations Department/Natomas Office (, for more information on an upcoming May 31 meeting as well as other future events.
In a surprise move, key members of Congress have decided attempt to “fast track” the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and its main component, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
We all know the great damage NCLB has done to our ability to teach to the whole child and to show progress beyond the “one size fits all” testing approach that NCLB mandates. Well, now is our chance to weigh in on the future of this law. It is critical that each of us quickly writes (not calls or emails, but actually writes a short note) to our member of the US House of Representatives. To do so, please go to the CTA website for your Representatives mailing address (, review our talking points regarding the problems and suggested fixes to the law (
_ Fact+Sheet.htm
) and speak from your heart!

Here's the response I sent them:

We should review CTA's talking points about NCLB, and then write from the heart? Please. CTA may fear accountability, but I sure don't.
And teaching the "whole child"? How did that go in the 90s, during the fuzzy math and whole language days, when apparently kids felt good about themselves but couldn't perform academically?
CTA should decide whether it's a labor union--in which case it should focus on my pay, benefits, and working conditions--or a PAC of the Democrat Party. If the former, quit meddling in left-wing politics and work for me. If the latter, you're not entitled to even a "fair share" of my hard-earned money.

Usually I chastise CTA on the health care front, because they're pushing for socialized medicine. What they talk about in this particular email seems entirely reasonable to me, a market approach to lowering health care costs. Since health care is one of my benefits, I have no qualms with their using my money to pursue these ends.

NCLB is not one of my "working conditions". NCLB is no more of a "working condition" than is the state-approved curriculum, the requirement to abide by IEPs, or my status as a mandatory reporter for child abuse. As a result, this is not something a labor union should be addressing, especially with my money.


Law and Order Teacher said...

My question is do you get a reply from your union to letters like this? Mine never replies to mine. I assume that they see my name and put it in the round file. If I have to contribute to the Democrat party through dues deductions, at least I can make a pest of myself.

Darren said...

No, you *don't* have to remain a union member. Depending on if your state is a "right to work" or a "fair share" state, you may have to pay a portion of union dues and *not* be a member. But you *don't* have to be a member.

And of course I didn't get a response.