Unions, Struggling, Increase Marxist Rhetoric
School Choice Weekly #41
Although unions likely will appeal a California judge’s decision that union-backed teacher tenure laws cause poor and minority children to get worse teachers, his ruling is just the latest in a series of significant problems for teachers unions, as Politico points out:
Long among the most powerful forces in American politics, the unions are contending with falling revenue and declining membership, damaging court cases, the defection of once-loyal Democratic allies – and a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign portraying them as greedy and selfish …
‘People increasingly view teachers unions as a problem, or the problem,’ [said] David Menefee-Libey, a politics professor at Pomona College who studies education politics. That’s a striking shift, he said, because ‘for decades the unions were viewed as the most likely to contribute to the improvement of public education.’
It looks like public opinion is finally catching up with reality, as it sometimes does. With the California judge, regular folks are realizing that kids don’t benefit from union-backed policies such as last in, first out or making it nearly impossible to fire rotten teachers.
Union-friendly politicians--mostly Democrats--have stalled this public realization by protecting their political cash cows with rhetoric and laws. They preserved their power at the expense of telling the truth and protecting children’s well-being, and may history judge them for it.
Now that their greed for money and power is becoming more obvious, teachers unions are in full “messaging mode.” Mike Antonucci notes the presence of new, poll-tested rhetoric coming from both major national teachers unions and California’s major teachers union in the wake of the California Vergara decision. None use the words “tenure” or “seniority.” They prefer instead to talk about teachers’ “experience” and “professional rights.” Then they pivot to mudslinging, with words such as “privatization,” “ultra-rich,” “funding inequities,” and (laughably) “special interests.”
In other words, expect unions to attempt to preserve their existence by playing on people’s ignorance of the economic and cultural failures of Marxism.
SOURCE: Politico, Education Intelligence Agency
IN THIS ISSUE:
- VERMONT: Home buyers will pay more to live in a town that offers school choice, a study concludes. Several other studies also have found that school choice increases property values.
- TAX-CREDIT SCHOLARSHIPS: The Center for Education Reform ranks the nation’s tax-credit scholarship programs according to how much choice they actually give families and donors. Arizona and Florida get As, and it’s downhill from there.
- FLORIDA: Unions, the Parent-Teacher Association, and other establishment groups urge Gov. Rick Scott to veto a small expansion to the state’s popular tax-credit scholarship program.
- LOUISIANA: Gov. Bobby Jindal says he will use his executive authority to pull the state from Common Core and its national, federally funded tests. Jindal has switched from being a Common Core supporter to being an opponent.
- FEDERAL: Commentators on the Left and Right call for a congressional hearing on the federal coercion involved with imposing Common Core on the nation.
- NEW JERSEY: The House passed a bill to review Common Core, with a 74–4 vote. The Senate will consider the bill this week.
- WASHINGTON: A math teacher gives a behind-the-scenes look at why Common Core math is so nebulous and ineffective.
- SOUTH CAROLINA: The state rejects low-quality national science curriculum mandates, shortly after repealing Common Core. It will instead use higher-rated curriculum mandates.
- TEXAS: The state attorney general confirms that local school districts must not use Common Core. State law prohibits Texas public schools from using the national mandates. Instead, they must use state mandates for curriculum and tests.
- CALIFORNIA: Here’s a deeper look at a lawsuit that may upend tenure and other union job protections, arguing these disproportionately hurt poor and minority students. The so-far successful plaintiffs say they plan similar lawsuits across the country. That’s rather unfortunate, though, as the legal precedent is dangerous to the rule of law.
- NEBRASKA: School districts spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars lobbying state representatives to send them more of taxpayers’ dollars.
- MICHIGAN: The state’s unfunded liabilities for teacher pensions have increased because their investment returns are lower than expected. This is a nationwide problem that contributes to the country’s ticking debt time bomb.
- TEACHER PREP: Only about one in eight teacher preparation programs gets a top ranking from the latest National Council for Teacher Quality report. Teacher preparation is notorious for doing little to improve teacher quality.
- FEDERAL: President Obama’s program to send taxpayers the bill for student loans will most benefit wealthier college graduates. If college were really a “great investment,” we wouldn’t have a student loan crisis, explains Jason Richwine.
- COLORADO: A judge rejects a union attempt to overturn a state law letting principals choose if they want a teacher assigned to their school. The unions had argued this violated tenure rights.
Thank you for reading! If you need a quicker fix of news about school choice, you can find daily updates online under the Ed News Roundup at http://news.heartland.org/education.