I'll start where I usually end--with the 7 "CTA-sponsored and co-sponsored legislation for 2009-10" items. I've said it plenty of times before, there's nothing in those 7 items that affects Darren's pay, benefits, or working conditions at all. So why am I required to give them my money as a condition of employment?
Now let's skip to another article (p. 20 of the print edition), wherein a sidebar gives us this interesting little factoid: the percentage of California union members who work in education is 26%. Why can't unions convince California workers to join? Since they obviously can't, they get their entitlement to my money enshrined in law.
On the preceding page we get this article, attempting to justify CTA's involvement in politics:
"People always ask: Why is CTA involved in politics?" says Doggett. "It's simple: We want to make things better for our schools and our students. And like it or not, we are greatly affected by the decisions made in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., as well as in local school boards. Unions exist because members can be stronger collectively than individually. Because of CTA, educators' voices can be heard."
And what business of CTA's is national health care, or the wars in the Middle East, or abortion, or even who becomes California Insurance Commissioner? CTA doesn't exist for its members, it exists to further the political goals of the lunatic fringe that runs the union.
And with that build-up, let's see how well CTA is doing in allowing our voices to be heard. I'll focus on the Race To The Top money, a law that will throw more federal money at schools if, among many other conditions, the state's teachers can be evaluated based on student standardized test scores. This has been expressly forbidden by California ed code.
Ole Si Se Puede himself says the following about Race To The Top:
Recently, we discovered that our members’ voices were heard regarding the federal government’s rush to push through Race to the Top, which seeks to significantly tie teacher evaluations with student test scores. Because of CTA’s actions and the voices of other educators across the country, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that his office needs more time before issuing the final regulations that states would be required to follow to receive funds. That delay was a direct result of our union’s collective voice being heard.
Later in the issue we get to an almost-full-page article on Race To The Top:
California's voices were heard in Sacramento and in Washington, D.C., as the U.S. Department of Education has delayed the timeline for adopting final guidelines. The department was overwhelmed by the number of responses and needs more time for review. Teachers statewide continued to mobilize on this vital issue, while some testified at various legislative hearings.
Wow, CTA is really doing great things for us teachers, right? Let's read on.
CTA believes it is important to continue working with the administration and to ensure that the voices of educators are heard. There must be multiple options for evaluating students and teachers, and there must be flexibility for states and local school districts.
Whew. If I were worried about being evaluated based on student test scores--tests and scores which, by the way, have absolutely no impact on students--I might feel better knowing that CTA was fighting the good fight for me.
But wait a minute. What was it that I posted here on this blog 10 days ago? Quoting the major Sacramento newspaper, at a link that has probably already gone behind their subscription wall, we learn:
Sunday afternoon Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that took away the biggest obstacle to the state winning a share of $4.35 billion in federal Race to the Top funds for education.
Senate Bill 19, authored by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, eliminates a statewide ban against tying student test scores to teacher evaluations.
Way to go, CTA.