Dec 05 2008

Enough is Enough!!!

Category: educationamuzikman @ 1:27 am

The California Teachers Association, the largest, and some would say the most powerful teacher’s union in California has been broadcasting paid radio advertising spots since 2007.  Unfortunately one of the radio stations to which I listen continues to air these ads. I am subjected to them on a fairly regular basis and I must say I’ve about had it!   (And I thought equal time had to be provided to opposing views – but I digress). The latest gem is called “Faces”.  If you’d like to hear the current ad or any others from the CTA archive click here.  If you’d like my personal “Cliff Notes” version of their ads, here it is -  “California schools have a lot of problems.  We could solve all the problems if you would just give us more money.”

Here is a transcript of the latest ad with a few comments:

Teacher:
As a California schoolteacher, I get a glimpse of the future every day. I see it right there in the faces of the students sitting in my eighth grade classes. I try to motivate them, to challenge them – and to give them a love for learning – something they’ll carry with them throughout their lives. The better their education, the more opportunity for a successful tomorrow, and the better off we’ll all be. But it’s hard to give kids what they need for their future when California ranks forty sixth among all states for public school funding. We’ve got to do better.

Notice the good hearted, well intentioned, noble teacher.  Note the one and only obstacle listed as an impediment to those wonderful, warm ideals – spending.  There is one problem here.  The statement is apparently not factual.  From the Sacramento Bee, April 2, 2008:

The Census Bureau report strongly refutes the oft-cited “fact” that California is near the bottom in per-pupil school spending. The national average was $9,138 in 2005-06. California was at $8,486, with New York the highest at $14,884 and Utah the lowest at $5,437 – one of 22 states, in fact, that fell below California’s level.

In terms of school revenues, California was 25th among the states at $10,264 per pupil, just under the national average. It was above average in per-pupil income from federal and state sources and about $1,700 per pupil below average in local revenues, thanks to Proposition 13, the 1978 property tax limit measure.

Overall, therefore, California isn’t nearly as deficient in school financing as the education establishment would have us believe.

(Read the entire article entitled, “Statistics Refute Rhetoric on School Spending”)

Apparently the CTA does not concern itself with being overly factual.  The point is to make you feel guilty!

I continue with the radio ad transcript:

David Sanchez:
I’m David Sanchez, President of the California Teachers Association and a classroom teacher. Too many of our schools face overcrowded classrooms and out-of-date textbooks. Most schools no longer offer art, music, or vocational education – courses that prepare kids for life and provide a well-rounded education. California can do better, our kids deserve better, and our future depends on it.

NEVER will you find the following sentences in one of these ads:  “Our public school system needs to do better.  Our teachers need to do better. Our Teachers Union needs to do better.  We need to show better results with the dollars you already spend before we come asking for more”

Maybe parents should have the right to choose another option for their children.  Maybe parents know best what is best for their children.  Maybe a voucher system so parents can opt out of the crumbling, decaying mess that is public education.  Maybe California DOESN’T need to do better.  Maybe the hard working tax paying citizens of this state are already doing enough.  Yes OUR kids do deserve better.  We can at least agree on that much.

Announcer:
This message was brought to you by the California Teachers Association.

..whose primary interest is not better education but as a self-described “professional employee organization” in protecting the interests of their membership…oh, and contributing a million dollars to the “No on 8″ campaign. (But I digress again)

Because every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

And every taxpayer deserves the right to demand accountability from those who spend vast sums of money on public education.   This would include such issues as being able to fire those in education who are demonstrably inept and incompetent, rather than granting them virtual lifelong employment through tenure and union protection.

Money is simply not the problem.  More money is simply not the solution.  I think the CTA needs to go figure out how to make do with less, like everyone else in the country is currently contemplating.  The CTA also needs to try broadcasting just one ad that states what they and their membership are going to do to actually improve education in California.  Just one time – I dare you, CTA!

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