Intercepts

A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

Union President Calls Parents “Lynch Mobs”

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Jan• 07•10

Back when Marty Hittelman was elected president of the California Federation of Teachers in 2007, I referred to him as the “Great White Hope” – expecting he would be a fount of pungent quotes upon the exit of former California Teachers Association President Wayne Johnson. I predicted Hittelman would be a regular in Quote of the Week, but he has been a disappointment in that regard. Until now.

Hittelman made up for lost opportunities when he discovered that California’s Race to the Top legislation includes a provision that would allow a majority of parents to force a school district to overhaul a failing school. In the January 5 issue of Inside CFT, Hittelman refers to the measure this way:

Under the parent trigger (or lynch mob provision) if 50% of the parents at a school or feeder schools of a low performing school sign a petition, the school board must hold a hearing to accept that petition or provide an alternative governance change, which could include closing the school, turning it into a charter school, or reconstituting the school.

The Los Angeles chapter of the National Action Network wants “an immediate and public apology” for the racial overtones of the lynch mob reference. But Hittelman kept digging:

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5 Comments

  1. Actually, it sounds to me like a lynch mob might just be in order in this instance. Hittelman’s characterization of parents who seek to control the education of their children — indeed, of taxpayers who seek to control the operation of the schools that they fund — is disgraceful. Hittelman is the best argument for de-recognizing public employee unions (and in particular teachers unions) that this teacher has ever seen.

  2. […] Antonucci notes that the president of the AFT’s California affiliate has some choice thoughts about parents […]

  3. Ed says:

    Elected board of education members and school administrators in Maryland should be ashamed too. But they simply title all parents complainers and do whatever the school system wants to do because they are smarter than the people in the outside world.

    http://calvertcountypublicschoolswatchdawg.blogspot.com

  4. Interesting point there, Ed and others. “But they simply title all parents complainers and do whatever the school system wants to do because they are smarter than the people in the outside world.”

    I have been a teacher for nearly 30 years. I have run both public and private schools. I have reset a shoulder and been a first aid specialist (coach) but I am not a doctor or a psychiatrist. You would never ask me for medical advice for depression or the optimal way to deal with a compound boot-top fracture.

    If you want to know about teaching, ask a teacher like me. Assuming that all teachers and schools are “against” you or only out for a quick buck is just a ridiculous as a school claiming all parents are wingnuts or a education Watch Dawg who says that “King Jack misses the mark on dealing with bus drivers, teachers, parents concerns, budgeting, ethics, transfer policy, and his refusal to host public meetings where he and or the BoE may face the angry mob aka us peasants!”

    For what its worth, I’m not in favor of the provision because it sounds a lot it will encourage every education fad that anyone can dream up. We’ve been through most of these fads before.
    http://mathcurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2010/01/cft-and-lynch-mob-quote.html

    That they didn’t work is because they were flawed, nothing else.

  5. Mike Palo says:

    Since I am a teacher in California, I have witnessed firsthand the struggle with teaching in this state considering the budget cuts and the national economic situation. I currently teach in somewhat of a low income school district, and I have seen the current effects of how our current budget system in the state of California is affecting our students. We are expected to do more with less and considering California’s rigorous standards, the job of a teacher will only become more difficult. Race to the Top seems like a step in the right direction for California schools, but will giving more power to parents in low income school districts to “pull the plug” on failing schools really be the answer?