August 9, 2020

We agree on better pay for teachers, but the UTLA pitting parents against each other is cold bullshit in a bowl

Never again let a public employee in the school system tell you “privatizers” want to take democracy out of education so they can profit off of poor students.

If Los Angeles is any indication, democracy in education is a cruel illusion.

Yesterday L.A.’s board of education passed a resolution that directs their superintendent to lobby the state of California to cap charter schools.

This “moratorium” is the product of teachers’ unions. They realize that when people have options, they use them. When parents can choose a non-unionized school, they do. That means students move and take their per pupil revenue with them.

So, instead of convincing parents that their district schools are top-drawer, and instead of dazzling the parents with their amazing teaching, the union strategist have opted instead to go upstream where they can shortcircuit any true sense of democracy.

Behind closed doors, out of view of the public, bosses craft a resolution that takes away an option that community members, voters, and parents want.

If that’s democratic I’m Idris Elba.

Where was the large scale community effort that brought together citizens of Los Angeles, especially parents of school-aged children, to decide a limit to the number of educational opportunities poor families can access is best for all?

What democratic process takes place in rooms where ambitious and telegenic politicians coerce chickenshit school board members and pettish pensionistas in teachers’ unions to cut deals against the will of the people?

According to the California Charter School Association, approximately 1,300 charter schools serve 660,000 students in the state, and there are 249 charters serving 118,820 students in L.A. Unified. The demographics of these schools mirror the school district with most of the students being of color and qualifying for free or reduced-priced lunch.

Many of these schools have waiting lists, which is the surest sign that democratically elected officials have no business helping unions take down the competition.

In a city where inequality is medieval and opportunity for economic mobility is sparse, why would anyone put the chance of a good education out of reach for the least advantaged students?

Alex Cavuto-Pearl is president of the teachers, not of the public. No one elected him to do more than lead the UTLA, a publicly-funded, privately operstate labor organization.

The public is generally supportive of teachers, and we agree that teachers deserve better pay and more urgent attention to the decline in resources many of them face. They have every right to stand up for themselves and fight for their rights.

But this isn’t that. This is a blindsiding attack on charter schools and an attempt to pit parents and students in those schools against other families in traditional, magnet, pilot, or one of the dozen other forms of unionized schools

Let this be an unmistakable sign that children and their parents, especially those in non-unionized schools, have no union ruthlessly fighting for their interests, and they have no rights that can’t be circumvented by public school teachers.

And democracy in education will only be a empty a pipe dream unless we send some smoke.

Here is the resolution:

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