Friday, July 08, 2005

California Educator Magazine--June Hypocrisy

The final issue of the school year dealt with two major topics--arts in the schools (good), and rallies to protest against the governor and his policies (bad). I have no dog in the first fight, although I do support art, music, shop, and related programs in schools (who doesn't?). I'll focus my attention on the second topic, which I'm sure surprises my regular readers to no end :-)

Let's start with the president's column and hear from old cigarettes-and-whisky-voice herself, Barbara Kerr:

Despite polls showing 62 percent of voters are opposed to the idea, the governor announced he's going to waste up to 80 million taxpayer dollars--that's your money and mine--on a special election in November. He's spending that money on an election that nobody wants, that won't help improve our schools one bit, and that will actually cut school funding even more. [emphasis mine--Darren]

Where to start with that one? I guess I could point out that some people want the election, and that not every election has to be about something related to education. I could say that school funding won't necessarily be cut, not unless there's an economic downturn and the governor has to trim part of the 50% of the state budget that we call public education. Yes, I could say those things, but they pale in comparison to this point:

Barbara, why is it when the governor spends taxpayer money, it's "your money and mine", but when you spend my forcibly appropriated union dues, you don't care that I have no say in it? How come it's your money then, not mine?

Later in her column, after complaining and sniping some more, Boss Kerr has this to say:

These so-called reforms have nothing to do with what's needed to help improve student learning. They don't buy one textbook. They don't reduce one class's (sic) size and they don't provide quality teacher training. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan is simple. He wants to take CTA and others who disagree with his agenda out for good. And like any bully on the playground, he will do and say anything to get his way.
Where to start with that one? Doh! I've already used that transition just a few paragraphs above. But honestly, where do you start when there are so many fallacies and misstatements?

One of the reforms will change the way California's legislative boundaries are drawn, taking that responsibility away from the legislature and putting it in the hands of an appointed panel of (retired?) judges. That has nothing to do with education, Boss Kerr, unless you're afraid that your buddies in the Capitol will no longer draw their own legislative boundaries to keep so many Democrats in the legislature, and you fear more Republicans in the legislature. Might I recommend, Your Majesty, that you crawl out of bed with the Democrats and other lefty groups (International ANSWER comes to mind) and put some eggs in the Republican basket? Especially when you consider that about 30% of your membership classifies itself as Republican....

The tenure and due process initiative--well, I kind of agree with you on this one. But wasn't it CTA who sold out new teachers several years ago by agreeing to get rid of so many of the due process rights that untenured teachers had? Chickens are coming home to roost.

The "Live Within Our Means" act, the one which adjusts state spending based on economic conditions, seems sensible to me. We can't have half our state budget go to education and not expect cuts when tax revenues decline.

I love the initiative that will require you to get my permission every year before you spend my dues money on political causes. Let me tell you right now, you won't get it. Save your 37 cent stamp.

And as for taking CTA "out for good", let me remind you of one of our little chants from the May 25th rally that has been lauded in the last two issues of California Educator:
Hey hey, ho ho
Schwarzenegger's got to go!

Somehow, Your Majesty, your complaints ring hollow.

So, these initiatives don't reduce class sizes, improve student performance, or buy textbooks. Do CTA's proposals do this? Does the Tax Fairness Act of 2005, which will increase property taxes on businesses? How exactly does reregulating our deregulated electrical service improve student performance? How many books will we get by having the state get involved in negotiating prescription drug prices, or ensuring that used car buyers can return their cars within 3 days? How will education improve, how much more money will be available for education, with SB 840, which will create a single-payer health plan? By the way, that's "progressive" talk for socialized, state-run health care.

It's sad that you complain about the governor's doing exactly the same thing that you're doing. There's a word for that, and we all know what it is, Boss.

One final interesting thing I noticed--I've never seen the word "Republican" so often in California Educator. It's almost as if they recognize that there are Republicans in their midst, and every once in awhile they ought to throw us a bone. Of course, the references were like "Democrats and Republicans in my area support teachers" or "Even in a heavily Republican area this person has received lots of support and encouragement"--it shows you what their stereotype of a Republican is. They don't even see their own nakedness.


Anonymous said...

please excuse my ignorance here (in my defense, I'm an Oregonian, not a Californian), but what are the details of the special election mentioned here?


Darren said...

November 2002: Gray Davis reelected governor of California.
Early 2003: California's budget deficit grows from $18 billion to over $30 billion; Davis lied during the campaign so things wouldn't look as bad as they were. Recall petitions start.
November 2003: Davis recalled. Schwarzenegger elected as governor to complete Davis' term.

Schwarzenegger promises to reform state government, to fix the systemic problems that lead to structural deficits, to return the government of California back to the citizens of California. When the state legislature, overwhelmingly Democrat, doesn't address in a timely manner the issues that Governor Schwarzenegger wants addressed, he calls for a special election to allow the people, through the initiative process, to do the legislature's job.

And in two recent posts I've discussed the initiatives he and others have placed on the ballot. CTA, which totally opposes the election, has of course places initiatives on the ballot as well.

EdWonk said...

Both NEA and CTA have the ability to unerringly choose losing candidates when it comes to their endorsements.

They would do better to pick who the likely winners are, and then negotiate for that endorsement.

The Donks don't even respect the unions; they take union support for granted.

As for Bosses Kerr and Weaver, (Don't they make a pretty pair of weasels?) If they don't allow their organizations to evolve (they won't; can't deny patronage to the next generation of appointed leadership) the public will increasingly hold teachers unions in disdain and contempt.

Isn't it sadly ironic that both of these paternalistic and authoritarian "legalized syndicates" loudly proclaim themselves to be democratic and yet fanatically resist even the tiniest amount of reform and openness??

Unfortunately, due to !!#%&!! "closed shop" laws, these dinosaurs will not be headed for extinction anytime soon...

I posted on NEA yesterday and have already drawn fire from one "anti-reform, anti-democratization" critic.

Darren said...

Without looking, I'm going to guess Joe Thomas.

Oh, I was right!

EdWonk said...

Ever notice that he doesn't address any concerns? He just throws out the Jimmy Hoffa like mantras of pay and obey. (Hoffa was a creature of the Mafia. I wonder who pulls Boss Weaver's strings? ;))

Darren said...

That, and he always asks who's going to fight for the $4 billion dollars Schwarzenegger "owes" education, but never addresses why CTA/NEA should be entitled to *my* money so they can fight that fight.