1) Working Conditions Are Terrible
for Teachers in [Nearby City].
Since there's a recall going on, it won't surprise you to learn of a stink
between the Wisconsin Education Association Council and Gov. Scott Walker.
I'll let the
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel explain:
is a statewide survey of superintendents conducted by the Department of
Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Association of School District
Administrators in the fall of 2011. That survey produced results making the
state of schools appear better now than in years past, at least in
comparison to results of anonymous surveys the union collected from
superintendents before Walker took office.
WEAC no longer stores the old surveys on
its web site, and the governor's staff thinks the union is trying to hide
something. As political disputes go, this isn't much of one. I doubt you'll
find a survey of public employees conducted by other public employees that
reveals everything is great, there's more than enough money to go around,
and we are a damn happy group of individuals. So comparing them isn't going
to provide any substance.
But in researching the history of this
battle over the surveys, I came across something much more illuminating and
- let's face it - entertaining.
When the governor first began making his
claims of improved schools last fall, WEAC reacted in the traditional manner
- by drawing up talking points. One memo, dated November 29, is still posted
web site of the West Allis-West Milwaukee Education Association. It's
not unusual, until you get to the sample statement/press release that locals
were supposed to use as a model. I repost it here in its entirety - warts
Governor Walker Is Hurting Our Schools and Students
The facts are clear,
based on the release of a state survey of superintendents showing that the
governor's extreme cuts to schools has resulted in larger class sizes and
cuts to important programs for students.
Walker's $1.6 billion-dollar education cut is having an adverse impact on
our schools and students across the state," said
[name, title/role with school and union
"Wisconsin has had a long
tradition of valuing our public schools and supporting our students. Even in
times of economic hardship and state budget problems, we have prioritized
our schools and our kids," [he/she]
But now, Governor Walker
and the Republicans in the state legislature have cut 1.6 billion dollars
from public school funding. These cuts have had a profound impact on public
schools and students across the state. "Across the state there are 1,655
fewer teachers, 765 fewer aides, 776 fewer education support professionals
the result larger class sizes, fewer opportunities for students and less
help for students who are struggling." Important programs in art, music, and
physical education have been cut back or eliminated in 47 percent of the
state's school districts.
Governor Walker claims
that the cuts to public school teachers' benefits have improved our schools,
but we see in our schools every day that that is not true.
cannot cut $1.6 billion from Wisconsin public schools and not hurt our
students," [last name] said.
(Localize the following
paragraph - if the local union leader is unable to be quoted with a
statement about what's happening in their district - consider quoting the
UniServ Director for this section)
[name/title], school districts are
feeling the pinch at a local level. In
[district], the special education department has cut four teachers.
In [Nearby City], 2nd grade classes
now have 35 kids with no aides to help students who are struggling to
understand key concepts. In [Small Town]
art has been eliminated for all elementary students. Teachers are doing
their best to do more with less, but with cuts of this size, students are
For more information
about what's happening in school districts across the state, visit
# # #
The [local name]
proudly represents dedicated public education employees in
[community] by amplifying their
voices to ensure [district]
Running various phrases through Google,
it doesn't look like anyone took advantage of this education policy Mad Lib
for a press release. But keep your eyes open,
[name of Wisconsin reader]. The next
time you see published remarks from [local
union officer] in the [daily
newspaper] of [Nearby City],
they may just be the parroted words of some
[noun] at WEAC headquarters.
In the meantime, if you ever find
yourself in Nearby City,
enjoy your stay.
2) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from April 10-16:
"Disappears" Warren Buffett's Secretary. Screaming headlines vanish...
Last Word from NEA on Buffett Story. ...replaced by "clarification."
Education Jobs Rank in Middle of Pack. College-educated. Underpaid.
Overworked. One of the worst jobs in America. Yes, we're talking about...
Virginia Education Association Tries to Hire House Speaker. Why not
formalize in West Virginia what's all-but-formalized in
The Inside Poop at NEA HQ. Bullies and bellies.
3) Quote of the Week #1.
"I can get the signatures internally. I can go to the
unions. I don't even need to go out to the streets." - Nevada AFL-CIO
secretary-treasurer Danny Thompson, explaining his plan to
place a business profits tax initiative on the state ballot. (April
Las Vegas Sun)
Quote of the Week #2.
says that 'very few' of the signatures for the more progressive measure were
collected by volunteers - rather, almost all came from paid
signature-gatherers." - Reporter Josh Eidelson, quoting California
Federation of Teachers president Joshua Pechthalt about the union's
millionaire tax initiative. (April 9
In These Times)