Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pulling Out All The Stops

The September 2010 issue of California Educator magazine, mouthpiece rag of of the California Teachers Association, takes naked hypocrisy to dizzying new heights. One would think that after 5-1/2 years of blogging about education that I'd be inured to this verbal whiplash, but I must congratulate California Educator--they have stunned me yet again.

Let's start with page 4, and Ole Si Se Puede himself:

We currently have a federal administration that asks us to compete for education dollars; corporate foundations are increasingly meddling in the classroom, influencing policy that leads to dangerous, experimental reforms; and too many of our state's elected leaders are failing to do their jobs, leaving us - still at this late date - with no budget at all. And that's why the elections this year are so very important: to help fix this broken process.

Both houses of Congress have been run by Democrats for almost 4 years now, and for almost 2 years we've had a Democratic president. Our state legislature has been run by Democrats for as long as I can remember, and our governor is a Republican in name only. Which party is Si Se Puede accusing of being the problem? Why, the Republicans, of course! Does Puede not know who's running the "federal administration that asks us to compete for education dollars"? Of course he does! He doesn't like Race To The Top, of course, but he'd have been quite happy if California had gotten a piece of that pie--because more money would flow into CTA's coffers. He can make bad sounds about RttT, but he'll still tell you to vote straight ticket Democratic.

Puede doesn't like corporate money going to schools, and this article on page 10 singles out the Broad, Gates, and Walton Family foundations as having undue influence on education policy. I've got to ask, Puede, has this situation gotten better or worse in the last 2-4 years? He's happy to point out US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's ties to corporate foundations, but will still tell you to vote a straight Democratic ticket. Interestingly enough, pages 28-29 of the magazine are devoted to grants given to schools by CTA and NEA; presumably, those are "good" grants.

We jump to page 20 for A Lesson Plan For Victory, how and why we should elect Jerry Brown to be our once and future governor. Is this the same Jerry Brown who worked such wonders in the schools as mayor of Oakland? The same Jerry Brown who went against the local school board and teachers union to create the Oakland Military Institute, and without whose support the school wouldn't even have been founded? (I laud Brown for this support, btw.) Is this the same Jerry Brown whose campaign commercials now brag that when he was governor in the 70's, he cut state (union) worker pay? Is this the same Jerry Brown who, as Attorney General, can investigate a private university foundation for paying Sarah Palin to speak, but couldn't be bothered to investigate ACORN offices that were filmed trying to assist people they believed were involved in child prostitution? That Jerry Brown? He's supposed to "put California back on track"? He would be "A governor with our values"? What, exactly, do we think he'll do for education, or for teachers?

"A governor with our values". What are those values? Perhaps we can get some idea what they are by looking on page 36 at the CTA-Sponsored and Co-Sponsored Legislation For 2010. I cannot find a link for that article on the main page, so if you want to see it yourself you'll have to click on the magazine's digital version (link is just under the cover picture) and turn to page 36. Here are the only 3 bills listed:
SB 810, Universal Health Care (Obamacare on steroids)
AB 1814, Retiree Health Benefits (go see what it does!)
AB 2320, Charter Schools (putting restrictions on them, of course)

Those are CTA's values right there. Nothing that's going to help Darren, that's for sure!

So let's recap. In an issue where we're told that everything is going to Hell in a handbasket and we need to vote for all the Democrats in a few weeks, we see that Democrats are a big part of the problem. But hey, we should vote for them anyway, because what's good for CTA is good for California, right?



allen (in Michigan) said...

That encapsulates the problem for the CTA and the NEA: the Democrats are the problem and the solution.

You can see the problem more clearly in Obama's actions and choices.

He fought to the zeroing out of D.C. Opportunity Scholarship, i.e. voucher, program. Arne Duncan's running around talking up everything that sets the union's teeth on edge and RTTT was Obama's baby.

So what's a union boss to do? Obviously, try to have it both ways. This is politics after all.

I just wonder how long it will be before the strains bust out in a some really nasty in-fighting? I know there have got to be struggles going on behind the scenes decently concealed from public view but sooner or later someone won't be able to resist the urge to go public.

What happens when the deepening rift between the Democrats and the teacher's unions becomes front-page news?

Anonymous said...

But union money can go to political lobbying....right. Like in DC...right.

Ellen K said...

Haven't you learned that Democrats never, ever, ever, ever take responsibility for the actions they take or fail to take? The Dems in Congress KNEW the healthcare bill would blow the bank, but did they admit it to anyone? The Dems KNEW they had stimulus money still in the accounts unspent, but they insisted on passing another unemployment extension to try and bridge the holidays. What will they do in January?