Tuesday Open Thread [7.8.14]

Filed in Open Thread by on July 8, 2014

New York Magazine presents a piece noting that the longstanding alliance between Teacher’s unions and Democrats may be close to over. That might make some sense, really — Democrats have been at the forefront of initiatives that specifically work at dismantling the public school system and also scapegoating teachers for a multitude of longstanding problems in schools. I’m a fan of unions exercising their political power — especially since it looks like even that is under threat. I’m not sure about the best way to go about that, but it is time to stop accommodating AND providing contributions and boots on the ground while getting nothing in return:

The leaders of the teachers unions have generally taken care to placate the demands of their most implacably anti-reform members without opening an irreparable breach with the administration. The unions have strong, clear-headed reasons for their caution. However strongly they disagree with Obama and the education reformers about the design of education and teacher pay, they do agree on the principle of paying teachers more. This is in contrast to Republicans, who generally support all the reformers’ accountability measures and lower public budgets as well. And the leaders recognize that the hard-line unionist position — tenure rules that make it impossible to fire even the worst-performing teachers — are nearly impossible to defend with the public.

As the leaders of the unions have equivocated, hard-liners have increasingly agitated for more direct confrontation. The leadership of this movement has fallen to Diane Ravitch, formerly a right-of-center education activist who has converted to the cause of teachers-union absolutism with an evangelical fervor, maintaining an almost superhuman schedule of public speaking and prolific blogging.

One of the real results of the Hobby Lobby decision is that the people who are compelled to discriminate against the People Not Like Them, got their door opened to them. Now that they got the chance to discriminate against women, they are now looking to discriminate against LGBT people. Because they think they get that bigotry from God and they should be free to exercise that bigotry. Is anyone going to be surprised when they sue to bring back Jim Crow? Seriously, the reason to fight like hell against all of this is that once they win against one of us, they come back to institutionalize their bigotry against the rest of us.

Religious leaders in Kansas view the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision last week as an opportunity to revive legislation that would protect their “religious freedom” — measures that gay rights advocates warn would legitimize discrimination against LGBT people.

The Associated Press reported this weekend that social conservatives believe they have an opening to bring the state’s religious freedom bill back in 2015. The legislation failed this spring; it passed the House, but stalled in the Senate after significant backlash from business groups. It would have prevented businesses from being sued if they refused to serve LGBT people for religious reasons.

May they rot in hell.

Then there’s the great state of Washington — who is set to start selling marijuana legally today. I haven’t visited there is a while….hmmm.

What’s interesting to you today?

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  1. Steve Newton says:

    it is time to stop accommodating AND providing contributions and boots on the ground while getting nothing in return

    Locally this is also true. In the 2012 election cycle PACs associated with DSEA spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions, and went out and canvassed neighborhoods for a lot of candidates.

    Later, when the nomination of Mark Murphy came up as Secretary of Education, only one Senator even asked him questions during a 45-minute praise-fest for his non-existent administrative experience. Had I been a dues-paying member I would have been extremely upset with the lack of return for my investment.

    Too many times, I firmly believe, DSEA leaders have confused “being at the table” with “being ON the table.”

  2. Liberal Elite says:

    But where are the teachers going to turn? To conservatives? Will that give them an ROI?

    It’s a simple fact that public schools are significantly worse in areas of the US run by conservatives. Heck.. If the religious conservatives had free reign, the schools would become little more than christian madrasas.

    The simple fact is that the schools need reform, and the Republicans can’t be trusted to do it right. That means the Dems need to step up to the plate and do it right, even if it ruffles a few union feathers.

    Teachers aren’t idiots.

  3. cassandra_m says:

    Teachers are not idiots, certainly, and reform needs to occur in a fashion that enables classroom activities — not just reducing teachers to day care workers. So far, I’m not sure I’ve seen a single “reform” that makes classrooms work better.

  4. Jason330 says:

    “But where are the teachers going to turn? To conservatives?”

    Elected Dems need 40 years in the desert. If we survive 40 years of GOP misrule, it will be well worth it. That’s a big “if” however.

  5. SussexAnon says:

    Teachers are in the same boat as other unions and activist citizens at large. Work hard, spend lots, send em to Dover and you are quickly forgotten about.

  6. AQC says:

    DSEA has been known to support Republican candidates, so I don’t think this is a partisan issue.

  7. Steve Newton says:

    AQC is correct; it is not a partisan issue. That said, at the moment in the General Assembly the primary supporters of teachers and major opponents of corporate education “reform” all tend to be progressive Democrats–Baumbach, Kowalko, Kim Williams, Townsend. DSEA needs to support heavily the people who have been or will promise to support the teachers, not take out a flyer on the same old suspects.

  8. puck says:

    Delaware Republicans have a primary for Treasurer too. Who else but Sher Valenzuela has filed, joining Ken Simpler. (oops, I see this was already noted in another thread).

  9. Norinda says:

    DSEA needs to 1st stop the expansion of Charter Schools in DE and not support candidates that aim long-term the Privatize and commoditize the Public School System. Some Philadelphia, PA public schools can not open this year unless a cigarette tax is passed in PA. Yet the Charter Schools are slowly chipping into the DE & PA Education Budget with minimal accountability. Yet, Governor Corbit allocated millions to build a new prison in NE Philadelphia. This conciliatory and accommodating culture to Corporate Interst like, Common Core needs to stop and maybe new progressive and proactive leadership to replace the ‘ Old Guard’ in Dover, DE. The DSEA may need to partner with other teachers unions across state lines or other unions in DE-ASFME and AFL-CIO. Is Education a Privilege or a Right? Then, Keep Wallstreet out of Educating our Children. What’s. Next? So K12 Corp. will be traded on the NSDAQ just like Private Prison Companies like the GEO Group. This is Sick!