- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 31, 2019


As many of you are aware, the Los Angeles Unified School District and Mayor Eric Garcetti recently ended a labor strike by making concessions to the United Teachers Union.

The agreement includes class-size reductions, additional school nurses, counselors and librarians — and raises, of course.

If the concessions sound familiar, they should since LA advocates followed the playbook of the Red4Ed movement, which could becoming to your neck of the woods via the National Educational Association (NEA).

The Associated Press reported on the Red4Ed movement thusly: “Teachers hoped to build on the ‘Red4Ed’ movement that began last year in West Virginia and moved to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado and Washington state. It spread from conservative states with ‘right to work’ laws that limit the ability to strike to the more liberal West Coast with strong unions.”

Nanny staters are at it again.

Virginians, keep your right-to-work eyes open.

D.C. families and school reform advocates beware: The Red4Ed advocates are already in your midst. Indeed, the NEA and the Washington Teachers’ Union share digs near the White House, which means they’re all reading the same playbook.

Unfortunately, the D.C. school playbook is lopsided when it comes to teaching and learning. The latest example comes in the form of the State Board of Education’s memorandum titled “Teacher and Principal Retention Recommendations & Synthesis of Small Group Discussions from Public Forum.”

In it, teachers and their advocates recommended the mayor and lawmakers create programs and policies “that both attract and retain teachers (e.g., tax credits, student loan repayment, housing stipends or direct housing, family-centered benefits/programs, shorter retirement incentive plan, sabbaticals).”

In other words, pay their bills, subsidize their housing, give them tax breaks and pay for their health care, retirement and day care — and allow them to experience Namaste yoga in their own homes for a three-month stint while puffing on marijuana while on sabbatical.

If city officials signed off on only two of those recommendations, school hiring, retention and firing would prove problematic on several fronts.

The progressives’ push for “affordable” housing would become a joke, the cost to cover student loan repayments untenable, the lack of money for retirement plans overwhelming.

The impact (or IMPACT, as in the city’s report card on teachers) would harm students, who, as usual, draw the short straw when it comes to teaching and learning.

To their credit, city officials also are considering a far less teaching-centric recommendation. That proposal is “to establish a statewide database on teacher movement Ensure that said data is publicly accessible.”

Taxpayers, however, should not pay for this data collection. The unions should. If the unions want to know the ethnicity of its members, where their members call home or if their members are double-dippers, let them foot the bill to find out.

The months-long discussions on teacher retention offers another “high stakes” proposal, and that is to end “high stakes testing” — the annual standardized exams that tie teacher performance to student performance.

Teachers and their unions have long cried the link is unfair, yet they have never proffered a reasonable substitute.

They do, however, make excuses for not closing academic gaps. The children are poor and live in rough neighborhoods. The children don’t have access to the internet. The children are black and brown and can’t afford to ride the bus or the subway. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetara.

Ironic, is it not, that the teachers and their advocates — adults each and every one — are passing themselves off as needier than the kids? Teachers deserve raises.

However, this “high stakes” game for teacher retention has nothing to do with teacher retention and everything to do with unions staking a claim for the nanny state umbilical cord.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]

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