Speak for yourself!

So whether you are a Republican, Democrat, or none or the above, it’s hard to miss what is going on in Tampa this week. And Charlotte will be no different. While job creation and the economy have been the centerpiece thus far, the education debate certainly made an appearance last night.

Personally I enjoyed Chris Christie’s speech, but many did not; one reporter called it a “fire-breathing keynote” which attacked the teachers unions. Bomster’s language is a tad strong in my opinion, but yeah, Christie made a statement.

Randi Weingarten (whom you know I adore, if you’ve read my recent post here) replied via Twitter: “Christie evidently believes teachers should be seen but not heard—they may be important, but not their views about what they need to help kids.”

I like that union presidents pretend they fight for kids. No, you don’t. Everyone knows why unions exist—for teachers—its not a secret. Unions collectively bargain for teachers’ rights. To flat out lie to the public and claim that you are looking out for what’s best for children is disgusting.That is not to say that there aren’t tens of thousands of union members out there who do care about kids and are phenomenal teachers each and every day. But those are individuals. The union, by definition, serves the desires of adults, not the needs of children.

Here’s an excerpt from Christie’s fire-breathing speech:

“We believe that we should honor and reward the good [teachers] while doing what’s best for our nation’s future—demanding accountability, demanding higher standards and demanding the best teacher in every classroom in America. They [Democrats] … believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, and lobbyists against children. They believe in teacher’s unions. We believe in teachers.”

I think the only half-truth from his remarks is that all Democrats “believe in” teachers unions. Many Democrats are passionate about education reform—Michelle Rhee, Cory Booker, Arne Duncan, Rahm Emanuel, and Senator Gloria Romero, just to name a few. They even have a pretty impressive organization dedicated to their efforts, aptly named Democrats for Education Reform or DFER.

And hey, if we’re gonna talk about stereotypes, let’s not forget the great ol’ PTA! Of course, I can’t speak for every chapter, and there seem to be a few in Florida who truly are looking out for the needs of their parents. But many PTA organizations have put their foot down on reforms without actually asking members what they want. Last year when the Parent Empowerment Bill was being debated in committee, PTA members came out in full force against it. You did note the title, right? Parent Empowerment? Former Governor Bush was later quoted as saying, “Only in a Kafka novel and the Florida legislature would the PTA oppose giving parents a voice.”

So what have we learned today, folks? Not all Dems love unions, not all teachers hate reform, and not all parents want to let others speak on their behalf about what’s right for their kids.

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1 Comment

  1. One small step for PTA in recognizing choice! In their new policy platform, PTA now supports giving grouops other than school boards the authority to authorize charters.



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