Friday, October 13, 2006

Christmas in October! September's California Educator Magazine Arrives

"NCLB Gets an F. Punitive Law Fails To Get Results." So says the front cover of the union rag, and for the umpteenth time, I feel compelled to set the record straight.

But first, let's remember that the National Education Association has spent beaucoup dinero to discredit the law; perhaps CTA is just playing its proper role of lapdog. Now, let's see the intelligence contained within the pages of California Educator:

Page 7:

No Child Left Behind was supposed to close the achievement gap and help every child succeed. But on both fronts, President Bush's 2002 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has failed abysmally.

In the four years since NCLB went into effect, the gaps between rich and poor, white and nonwhite have actually widened in California, says a report from the Washington-based Education Trust.

NCLB caused this widening? California's STAR testing predates and is more extensive than NCLB requirements. In fact, as far as testing goes, NCLB has next to no impact on California--as I said, we do more testing, more frequently, than NCLB requires, and we've done it since before NCLB became law.

Additionally, the purpose of the test is to ensure students are taught to some recognized standards--standards that the state is supposed to create. The idea is that requiring states to teach everyone to standards, and to ensure that all subgroups of students are taught to standards, will give all students the opportunity to succeed. The testing itself is not designed to help students succeed, it can only measure if they are succeeding. CTA, our students aren't succeeding. That's partially the fault of California's teachers, not NCLB. NCLB is merely pointing it out.

If you keep getting your cholesterol tested and it's high, the problem isn't the test. Frequent cholesterol testing isn't designed to lower your cholesterol. You freakin' idiots.

I didn't read most of this issue--can't stomach it. Still, it's amazing the stupidity I can find with just a cursory glance.

Page 22:

Ultimately, said (CTA President Babs) Kerr, her goal is to send the current governor back to Hollywood and bring back the joy of teaching and learning.

What, and roll back the state testing that has been with us since the days of Governors Wilson and Davis? Those guys predate NCLB. Oh well, as it stands now, Babs is sending your union money to fill the coffers of soon-to-be-losing-governor-candidate Phil Angelides, who trails so far in the polls that his victory dance seems to be only a distant dream.

Page 23:

...Proposition 89 on the November ballot is a poorly crafted initiative that is full of unintended consequences, one of which is possibly silencing California teachers' political voices...

As they'd say in the software business, Babs--that's not a bug, that's a feature! California's teachers should not be another "special interest" of the type their union always decries. The u-bots always say that "the union is nothing more than the members". If that's true, let the members vote individually. The union should only be dealing with the pay, benefits, and working conditions of teachers, not the left-wing political causes of the union higher-ups.

Page 24

Vote NO on Prop. 85

Prop 85 requires parental notification before a minor can have an abortion. Notice it says notification, not necessarily permission. Why does a teachers union have any position on this at all? What interest do teachers have in minors' getting abortions?

Some will trot out the time-worn argument that some parents might hurt their pregnant daughter or put her out on the streets--then what? Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt. We can't craft laws around what 7 crazy parents in California might do. We need to craft laws that work for the vast majority of Californians, and deal with the outliers as outliers. Why the teachers union would say it wants parents involved in schools, but not in the medical decisions of their children, is a position that I cannot understand.

NEUTRAL on Prop. 88. Parcel Tax Initiative...CTA cannot support Prop. 88 and has taken a neutral position.

Let me get this straight. You can't support a property tax and take no position on it, but you want children to have medical procedures performed without parental knowledge? And you're freakin' teachers? CTA, you disgust me.

Page 27:

"Barring speech simply because it is political speech is prohibited as a content-based restriction," said Judge Winifred Smith when she ruled that the district cannot censor SLTA's political speech. The said the use of school mailboxes for fliers that happen to contain political endorsements does not violate the education code.

The judge added that the school mailbox is a forum open to SLTA because of its status as the exclusive representative. The union's special access to the mailboxes does not extend to third parties.

Welcome to California, folks. This is why California is a "fair share" state and not a "right to work" state--idiot judges that pull decisions out of their rectums that simultaneously grant access to existing unions while denying that same access to anyone outside the unions. Talk about a sweet deal for the union. I wonder how many gift baskets they sent old Winifred.

Page 30:

And many of the new teachers are scared to stick up for their rights.

Might that include the right not to be a union member? Teachers who would prefer not to be union members can get more information on opting out at the web site of the California Teachers Empowerment Network, of which I am a proud member.

The great fun, though, was back on page 24. There were "CTA's Recommendations" for the November 7th election. I notice they don't put a (D) or an (R) by any of the names; I wonder why? Well, let's see. Of the eight statewide offices, I recognize one name as that of a Republican and seven as Democrats. Of the several dozen recommendations for the US House of Representatives, I don't recognize one name as a Republican, but I do recognize 14 as Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee (only person to vote against the use of force after September 11th), Henry Waxman, and Maxine Waters. Of the 11 recommendations for State Senate, I recognize 2 Democrats and no Republicans. Out of several dozen recommendations for State Assembly, I recognize 4 Democrats and no Republicans. My guess: the vast majority of those US House and state legislature recommendations are for Democrats. In fact, I dare say that the number of Republicans on that entire list could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand.

Balanced? Reasoned? Or just another special interest group? You decide.

Imagine what else I'd have found if I'd have read all the articles.


CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

I'm sick of how my union dues (taken involuntarily from my paycheck) are being spent. Why is CTA supporting (with MY money) causes and candidates that undermine education in the long run?

Darren said...

Easy one to answer. CTA doesn't care about education because it's not supposed to--it's supposed to care about your (and my) pay, benefits, and working conditions. But those are too mundane--those would make it merely a labor union, rather than what it really is, which is another arm of the Democrat Party.

Anonymous said...

"We can't craft laws around what 7 crazy parents in California might do."

I'm willing to bet just about anything that there are more than seven parents in California that would go insane over the notification of their child having an abortion. In fact, I can think of more than seven people that live on my block that would be severely punished or thrown out if that happened. If it passes, some people's lives are going to be ruined.

Darren said...

In every abortion, someone's life is ruined.

Anonymous said...

I don't really know what that had to do with my point. The ethics of abortion can be argued and re-argued, but it's an impossible thing to get everyone to agree on. If we're trying to minimize the "amount of life ruined", then this proposition is a bad idea. You can talk about lives being ruined due to an abortion, but do you think that someone won't have an abortion now, due to the proposition passing? If your answer is "yes", then you've definitely just ruined the life of the woman that wanted to abortion (or at least negatively affected it to some, large degree) as well as the life of the unwanted child. The mother can either put the baby up for adoption and hope it goes through as little trauma as possible, or attempt to raise the baby.
In any case, your comment was unnecessary. I know that abortions are a sort of personal thing for you, but I still can't agree with any reasons for it being supported.

Darren said...

Perhaps you can explain, then, why a teachers union needs to take a stand on abortion.

Remember, teachers are the ones who always say they want the parents involved--except when it comes to something they may make the "wrong" decision about, and then we want parents kept totally in the dark.

Seems like a very hypocritical stance to take, to me.

Anonymous said...

A thirteen year-old is not a woman, nor can she "want" to have an abortion. You can't have it both ways. Either minors have the ability to make all choices themselves, which opens the gates to child molestation (and you have to drop the "power" argument), or they do not.

Anonymous said...

“Cameron said...
‘We can't craft laws around what 7 crazy parents in California might do.’

I'm willing to bet just about anything that there are more than seven parents in California that would go insane over the notification of their child having an abortion. In fact, I can think of more than seven people that live on my block that would be severely punished or thrown out if that happened. If it passes, some people's lives are going to be ruined.”

Cameron, it’s not the state’s business what happens in my family as long as it’s not criminal. I beat up my daughter, that’s one thing. I scream at her, that’s another. Parents must be aware of their minor (i.e. under 18) medical condition. Whenever a law like this is considered, there is a provision for a judge’s hearing with an “uninterested” third party such as NARAL to provide legal representation to a minor child.

Something being right may be difficult or uncomfortable, but being right is often not the pleasant way of doing things. And what the law must be is a decision to be made by the people directly via referendum or indirectly via the legislative process.

I wonder something Cameron. Why is it a 16 year old can’t get a piercing or a tattoo without parental “permission”, but can get surgery without “notification”?