The California Teachers Empowerment Network has sent out tens of thousands of emails to teachers across California, informing them about its existence and letting them know about CTEN's web site (where they can learn more, if they're so inclined).
I'm sure there are plenty of teachers who couldn't care less about CTEN's existence. When they get such emails, and they're not interested in the (free) information CTEN has to offer, the simplest response would be to hit the delete button. But no, some have to email us some of the most hate-filled, bilious letters you might imagine.
And these people are teaching your children.
I love all this talk about open-mindedness and the free flow of ideas--until someone comes along and says something they don't like. Then, out come the torches and pitchforks. Eventually I'll post some of those responses, probably with the names and school districts of the individuals who sent them. I think that would be most interesting. I mean, really--how could someone read CTEN's emails, and view CTEN's web site, and come to the conclusion that CTEN is a "warmonger" organization? I understand how people can come to the wrong conclusion that CTEN is anti-union--we go to great pains to let even our members know that we're not anti-union, but we certainly are a group that "watches the watchers"--but warmonger? To use a psychological term, I think someone is "projecting" here.
One new member sent us a copy of a letter that was sent to members of his school district. The writer of the letter is obviously a local union official and is also an official of some capacity in the California Teachers Association. Accordingly, the author of this letter is a CTA u-bot.
Notice the militant attitude, the heavy-handedness, the threats. If your organization is so wonderful, why do you need threats to compel people to be members? CTEN doesn't threaten anyone that way....
So, without further ado, the letter:
And yes, the recipient has decided to become a CTEN member, even after receiving this letter. And yes, the recipient has given me permission to publish this letter here.
I'm sure that union members everywhere are proud of Mr. Triplett's letter.
I cannot wrap my brain around the threatening tone of that letter from the good Mr. Triplett.
Notice that he made it sound like the only place you can get the benefits he threatened would be revoked can be gotten elsewhere from organizations such as the AAE?
What a reptilian slimeball this man is.
Keep up the good work with CTEN Darren, because when someone attacks something with this much venom, it is because he takes it seriously and is afraid that it will take a gouge out of his little fiefdom.
Well, if the threats and heavy-handedness didn't get me, the poor grammar would. How freaking embarassing.
On another note, I see parallels between CTEN and the ACLU, at least in intent (a watchdog group to protect people's rights.) So my question to you is this--how do you feel about the ACLU?
Seems like Mr. Triplett was simply expressing his concerns about CTEN and informing unit members of the consequences of becoming an agency fee payer.
He might have been concerned about the anti-union tirade that is the CTEN website. He might have been concerned that CTEN's step-by-step guide on how to leave the union didn't adequately detail the negative consequences for the unit member.
You call it bile; he calls it information. He would call the CTEN website bile; you would call it information.
Those who give must learn to take.
Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, anonymous, but I have to believe that a dispassionate observer would see a *huge* difference in tone between CTEN's web site and the letter I posted.
As for not detailing the "consequences" of not being a "union" member, perhaps you didn't see CTEN's FAQ page at http://ctenhome.org/faq.htm:
What are the pros and cons of quitting the union?
If you are a religious objector, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that none of your money will go to the union at all, but you will have to donate an amount equal to full union dues to a union-approved charity. If you become an agency fee payer, you'll receive about 1/3 of your union dues back each year. You'll also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're doing what, in your opinion, is the right thing to do. Your union is still required to represent you and your interests (negotiations, grievances, etc.), and the hundreds of dollars a year that you'll continue to pay in "agency fees" are payment for these services and representation.
There are costs associated with leaving the union, however. You will not be allowed to hold union office. You will not have any voting rights in the union - probably not even on your own contract! You will lose the union's liability coverage should you ever get sued, and if you need legal representation, the union will not pay for it. However, the dues money refunded to agency fee payers is more than enough to secure other legal coverage, which is frequently superior to the union coverage. For example, see here. http://www.aaeteachers.org/insurance.shtml or http://www.ceai.org/benefits.htm.
And anti-union "tirade"? Let's look again at that FAQ page:
Which union option should I exercise - remain a member, become an agency fee payer, or become a religious objector?
CTEN is not an advocacy group so we can't answer that question. Only you can decide whether or not leaving the union is the right thing to do. We're here to make sure you have as much information as possible, so you can make an informed choice.
If you don't see a difference in tone between Mr. Triplett's letter and what I've quoted above, anonymous, perhaps you're not quite as unbiased and scientifically detached as you think you are. I'm just saying.
La Maestra: I'm not a fan of the ACLU. While even a stopped clock is right twice a day--the ACLU takes on some cases I'd support--they're far too often nothing more than a far-left organization. When they defend someone's 2nd Amendment rights even moderately as often as they defend their version of someone's 1st Amendment rights, perhaps I'll change my mind.
Amazing, isn't it, how the 2nd Amendment is so often seen as a dividing line between the right and left. Amazing, and sad.
You can see what I've written about the ACLU by typing "ACLU" into the search engine at the top of the main page of my web site. The 7th post listed (as I look at the search right now) shows a situation in which I actually agree with the ACLU.
I'd like to think that CTEN is more like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) than it is the ACLU.
...As for not detailing the "consequences" of not being a "union" member, perhaps you didn't see CTEN's FAQ page at http://ctenhome.org/faq.htm...
Whoa! *I* never said you didn't have this or that info nestled in some corner of your website! I merely suggested that perhaps Mr. Triplett found a need to amplify that information.
Your defensiveness should be communicated to Mr. Triplett, not to me.
"He might have been concerned that CTEN's step-by-step guide on how to leave the union didn't adequately detail the negative consequences for the unit member."
I'd say we adequately detailed the "consequences", and since they're in the Frequently Asked Questions, I'd say that they're in plain view and not "nestled in some corner" of CTEN's web site. Additionally, the tone of his letter is not one of "concern", but of anger.
Your response shows nothing but an attack without any merit, supporting facts, or logic. Then again, I expect that from you when you comment here.
By the way, can you show me *anywhere* on CTA's web site where teachers are told how to opt out of the union, as is their legal right? I didn't think so. The information isn't even "nestled in some corner" of their web site.
Since you're so centrist, balanced, even-handed, and fair, why not provide your readers with two lists: Unions (collective bargaining units) you don't like, and unions you do like. Nice and balanced.
The fact is you cannot make such lists because there are at least 10 unions you don't like for each one you do like. But I'm probably being overly conservative in my estimation. It's probably more like 100 to 1.
But I can only imagine the joy I would derive if you were to ever prove me wrong. So have at it!
I don't agree with your premise, that being "centrist, balanced, even-handed, and fair" means that I have to support unions. You may as well ask me which criminal syndicates I support, in the interest of being fair.
How fair "even-handed and fair" are you? Notice I left out balanced, due to your mental condition, but allow me this question: Name three *positive" things about President Bush. Not damning with faint praise, not "I'm glad he'll be gone in two years", but three genuinely complimentary things. When you do that, I'll do the same for the darling of the unions, President Clinton.
Just checking out your comments here again, I notice one thing--strike, evade, strike, evade. Great military strategy, but lousy in reasoned debate.
Let's be blunt: you're trying anything you can to deflect attention from Triplett's hate-filled rant. He's wrong on a couple points, but that's not even relavent--it's his tone, and it *should* embarrass you. To cover your embarrassment, you try to attack the messenger.
Sorry, the letter stands on its own. If you don't agree with my interpretation of Triplett's intent, I'd assert that it's *you* who is not being fair or even-handed.
Or do you even aspire to be so?
Hello pot. This it kettle...
The fact of the matter is that you hate unions. In your view, they are a vestige of communism. You don't believe in collective bargaining. You probably couldn't list a single union you like because you hate them all.
And that's OK. It's a large nation and we're all free to express opinions. But you need to lose your inhibitions and paint yourself with that anti-union hue. It's the only color you ever show, anyway. So show your colors, Darren! What are you afraid of?
It's not OK to spout anti-union messages over and over and over and over, in different shapes and sizes, and then say, "but I'm not anti-union or anything."
Your appendages are not long enough to reach from the far-right position you own to middle ground you seek to claim. And nobody buys it when you try to sell it. So let your true colors show and move on.
I am a former California teacher and have been teaching in Nevada for the past 15 years. I quit our union some years ago (this damn near took an act of congress, by the way.) I am very aware of the former union member who has decided to support the efforts of CTEN. I am proud to say that I've advised him on many issues regarding the union. I applaud him and CTEN for finally realizing and bringing out what is important in education.
I am so sick and tired of teacher unions causing nothing short of adversarial and confrontational relationships between teachers and administration. Aren't we all in this together. As soon as these unions figure out that it's the education of our children that's important and not the special interests of those in a position of union leadership, we'll all be better off!!!
When will these people start negotiating for things that directly impact the education of our students instead of adamantly pursuing bull shit issues such as wanting to be paid to go to a graduation ceremony, or a school dance, or Back to School Night?!
I am also sick and tired of the preditory nature in which union officials use to recruit new members. This bit about liability coverage is crap and is used strictly as a scare tactic to get new teachers to sign on the dotted line. I spent many hours researching this issue for my own purpose of leaving the union. Here are the facts:
1. In most school districts, your site administrator and your district have huge liability policies in place to protect you. In fact, their coverage must be depleated first before your measely 1 million dollars is even touched.
This is the case in most districts, unless you really screw up. And if you do, you deserve everything coming to you.
2. You can get additional liability coverage through other means, usually much cheaper and definitely with less headaches than belonging to an inept teachers union. Your homeowners policy is a good place to start.
In my experience, throughout the past several years, teachers' unions have shifted their focus from educational issues that are good for students, to strictly negotiating for contractual verbage and issues that protect those inept individuals that shouldn't be in this profession in the first place. It is also my experience that these inept individuals I speake of are those in positions of union leadership. Surprise! Surprise!
What school district is this? How..embarassing.
I'm not anti-union--I understand the need and convenience of collective bargaining. I *am*, however, anti-CTA and anti-NEA. In fact, when any union goes beyond the pay, benefits, and working conditions of their members and starts delving into politics that have nothing to do with the pay, benefits, and working conditions of their members--and using their members' money to do it, whether or not those members want their money to go to such political activities--yes, I'm very much against that.
Or do you not accept that explanation as reasonable?
I'm an agency fee payer, but I would join my local union if I could.
I detest the role the NEA and the CTA play in the lives of teachers here in California.
I've surmised that my local union is unaware of what goes on in the larger orbits. I appreciate what they do for us in our district, to a point. They are, of course, still under the thumb of the respective Mother Ships.
It will be interesting to see what happens with the Washington case at the Supreme Court.
This could be the beginning of the emancipation from forced unionism for educators.
I, too, would join my local *if I could*. But like 3rd graders, if I'm not friends with their friends, I can't be friends with them.
Don't "misunderestimate" the knowledge your local union leaders have about state/national union affairs.
I hope you're right about the Washington case, but I fear that even a victory for us won't bring much.
I enjoy being an agency fee payer. It's not bad at all.
It's too bad that u-bots like the jerk whose letter you printed, doesn't solicit a viewpoint from one of us who have actually left the union.
I get more liability and a real live lawyer, for less money, through the AAE, than anything the CTA could provide.
What they don't tell you is that the CTA reserves the right to refuse help to any of their members, and they refuse to help a teacher whenever they want to, and for any reason.
If Mr. Triplett considers $400 plus to be a few dollars...then he must be quite wealthy in contrast to most teachers.
I was thrilled to get that amount back from the political portion of my 'dues'...in the form of a check, in my hand, into my bank account!
Now, that's activism..!
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