Wednesday, March 2, 2011

We're not all influenced by the teachers union

The teachers union, apparently, has become much more powerful than we had all imagined. First, we all know that the union has distorted state Superintendent Tom Luna’s education reform plan to turn teachers against the plan.
It’s obvious that union thugs are the reason that teachers are against the plan. It’s merely their own self-interest in lining their own pockets.
Parents, too, must be getting influenced by the teachers union. Why else would thousands of parents be complaining about the education reform plan?
School board members also apparently have fallen under the influence of the teachers union. They can’t simply have problems with the education reform plan. It must be the teachers union’s powerful influence.
How about administrators? They are opposed to many parts of the plan, too. Why? Must be the teachers union.
And now the students. Thousands of them, including some from Kuna, walked out of class Monday morning to protest the education reform plan. Using Facebook and texting, thousands of students organized an Egypt-style march on the state Capitol Monday morning protesting mostly the part of the plan that cuts teachers in order to pay for technology, such as laptops and online courses.
State Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, told a TV station Monday night that he thought the teachers union put the students up to it. Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told the Statesman that he heard the teachers union put the students up to it. Who did he hear that from? Bob Nonini?
First of all, we all know you can’t really get teenagers to do something they don’t want to do.
Second of all, the accusation that these students somehow don’t have the capacity to form an opinion that they don’t want fewer teachers and are simply being influenced by the teachers union is illustrative of the arrogance of some of these lawmakers.
This type of condescension, I suppose, is what you get when you elect someone with 70 percent of the vote or more. The problem is that just because a legislator got elected with 70 percent of the vote doesn’t mean that 70 percent of the electorate is going to go along with everything he or she supports after they get elected.
But that’s what appears to be happening. Some legislators seem to think that if there is any opposition to their position, it must be this vocal minority that’s simply “stirring things up.” They call on the silent majority to step forward and counterbalance these troublemakers.
Unfortunately, what happens is that we fail to have a productive, honest debate. When one side fails to concede that the other side may have an intelligent position that is worth considering, we have a form of tyranny.
Take, for instance, a recent “survey” that state Sen. Russ Fulcher sent out to some of his constituents, asking them for their opinions on state Superintendent Tom Luna’s education reforms.
One question shows that 76 percent of his respondents would not accept a tax increase in order to maintain the current education system.
However, in May 2009, the Kuna school district conducted a highly scientific — and binding — poll of the residents within the school district. In that poll, 62 percent of respondents reported that they wanted their taxes raised in order to maintain the current education system. The poll? The election for a two-year $1.1 million per year supplemental levy, which raised taxes in order to maintain the current education system.
I am reminded of Pauline Kael’s alleged quote that she didn’t know anyone who voted for Nixon after his landslide presidential victory, a testament to the liberal elitism of the time. So, too, should politicians make sure they are listening to ALL of their constituents, not just the ones who tell them what they want to hear. And they would be wise to avoid suggesting that everyone is simply being unduly influenced by the teachers union.


slfisher said...

great piece!

gcsmith said...

This is one of the most uninformed pieces of writing I have seen about the Luna bills. Do some investigative reporting.

Teachers "unions" are run by teachers. They're hardly Frank Fitzsimmons! I am not a union member, but give me a break.

Anonymous said...

gcsmith...this is satirical. Read the article again with that in mind.
Or don't and just continue as you are. I'm a union thug but I wouldn't want to force you to do anything.

This is a great piece.

Rhandi said...

Love it! Great writing!

Mike L. said...

We at Idaho Parents and Teachers Together ( heard from hundreds of parents across Idaho who are very much opposed to Luna's plan. And they have made their voices heard to legislators, as evidenced by the Senate Education Committee announcing that part of Luna's plan is dead. I've been told by legislators that they have never received so many comments from the public that were NOT form comments. This was a genuine public outcry over a bad policy proposal. Luna's and some legislators' attempts to portray it as a union campaign is a baldfaced lie for which they should be ashamed.

jojojo said...

Gotta read it to get it!

Anonymous said...

My niece posted this on Facebook. Stand up for the rights of teachers, students AND unions!

gcsmith said...

I apologize to all of you. I was so sick of hearing these comments about educators that I didn't read it closely enough to see it was a satire.