Saturday, January 05, 2008

December 2007 California Educator

I have no objection when people speak their home language at school, or in the mall, or whenever--it's not my business. I would no more tell someone what language they must speak than I would tell them what kind of car they must buy.

And neither do I have a problem with someone's recognizing his own cultural or ethnic heritage. But honestly, I don't want to be reminded of *your* cultural or ethnic heritage every time I hear from you, and that's what CTA's new president does in every single issue of California Educator--by renaming the president's column "Si se puede! Por que no?" which translates to, "Yes, it can be done! Why not?"

What benefit is derived from reminding all of us of his Hispanic heritage, something we couldn't already figure out from his picture and last name (Sanchez)? Is he so "brown and proud" that he needs to toss in a little Spanish just because he can?

And with that out of the way, let's get into the articles (link good probably till next issue). Most of stories are about teachers doing great things for students. Much of what they do looks silly to me, but if they're getting standards-based results--as opposed to "my kids are learning so much"--then more power to them. Unfortunately the articles don't provide much in the way of evidence that the kids are learning what they're supposed to be, but I'll be generous and chalk that up to writers who wouldn't know evidence if it bit them on the nose. They work for a union rag, after all, so evidence probably isn't a concept that appeals to them anyway.

I'll only pick a few points on which to comment. First, in his Spanish-titled piece ending in Prospero Ano Nuevo (I'm not going to try for the accents, etc. here), Sanchez states

To make sure you have the latest about these initiatives and other election happenings, visit, where you can find talking points, register to vote, and print a CTA Voter Guide.

Of course the "register to vote" part concerned me. I just know that CTA wouldn't help a Republican register to vote. So I went to the web site (very poor layout, btw) and clicked on the Campaign 2008 link--and was taken to the California Secretary of State's web site. I'm now somewhat relieved, as I trust government more than I trust a state union.

Then, the so-called talking points. Fair and balanced, no doubt, so that teachers can make informed decisions. Oh that's right, helping teachers make informed decisions is the mission of the California Teachers Empowerment Network, not the CTA. My bad.

Moving on, I came to a short piece on Proposition 93, an initiative that would modify (not really reform) California's term limits law. The rag's title is "Vote yes on term limits", a title that is a little bit misleading but isn't an outright falsehood. In the 2nd column of the article we learn what what Prop 93 would do:

Prop. 93 would reform the current system to reduce from 14 to 12 the number of years a legislator can serve in the state Legislature; all 12 years could be served in one house. Currently, legislators can serve three two-year terms in the state Assembly and two four-year terms in the state Senate. As a result, 32 of the 80 members of the Assembly are new on the job at any given time.

As for the last part, that's not a bug, that's a feature!

The current system of term limits in the state Legislature "makes it difficult for lawmakers to gain the experience and knowledge they need to really help our public schools and students," says CTA President David A. Sanchez.

I'm sure it does--by design. So why does the CTA really want this law modified? I assure you, it's not for reasons of better democracy. There are two reasons: it's harder to bribe "rookies", because they don't know all the ins-and-outs of the system, and (here's what CTA doesn't say in its article) this proposition grandfathers in many of the people currently serving in the legislature--and currently in the pockets of the CTA. 'Nuff said.

In the last piece I'll nitpick, we're given this:

Awards honor King, Chavez
A scholarship program and an arts/essay contest are designed to keep alive the values of two great leaders.

So far, so good. But what are these awards for?

The goal of the CTA Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund is to encourage ethnic minority students to become educators and to promote professional growth for ethnic minority educators.

And just how is that judging people not on the color of their skin, but by the content of their character? Race pimps have twisted Dr. King's ideals beyond all recognition, and in a mere 40 years. It's sickening, really.

CTA's Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Education Awards Program for 2008 will provide recognition for students and their teachers who demonstrate an understanding of the vision and guiding principles by which Chavez lived his life.

Chavez was a good man, and did great work to improve the lot of migrant farm workers. Here's what we're not told today, though: Chavez was against illegal immigration, because he knew that such immigration depresses wages for the very people he was fighting for. Many today conveniently forget that important little tidbit--and make no mistake about it, it is an important point.

All in all, it's nowhere near the worst issue of California Educator I've ever seen. I know they'll get worse, though, as the November election approaches.


Polski3 said...

Hey Darren !

How is it that CTA still sends you their magazine, since you withdrew from the union and became an agency fee payer ? Don't tell us you are paying to SUBSCRIBE to the CTA rag.....! ;-)

Happy New Year !

Darren said...

No, I don't subscribe to their rag. The answer to your question must be one of these two:

1. they're trying to convert me, or
2. they're incompetent and haven't figured out yet, after 2 years, that I'm not supposed to receive the magazine.

I wonder which one it is.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about Proposition 93.