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:
What’s a lynch mob? It’s when a bunch of angry citizens get together and without any study they decide to lynch somebody. And in this case (the measure), they’re going to lynch their school. If you want to call them a lynch mob, you can, but basically what they’re doing is lynching the school and all the teachers who will be fired and all the kids who will have to go to a different school.
Race aside, Hittelman’s remarks are an insult to any public school parents with an interest in how their schools operate. They are also an insult to anyone who ever faced an actual lynch mob. Shame on him.