A listening post monitoring public education and teachers’ unions.

Wicomico Postscript

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 29•14

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Providence Teachers Union Prefers Convicted Felon to Charter School Director

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 29•14

The executive board of the Providence Teachers Union “overwhelmingly” endorsed Vincent “Buddy” Cianci Jr. for mayor. “Mr. Cianci had a little bit more experience in terms of the city’s schools and had a better understanding of the fundamental needs of the schools as they exist in this point in time,” said PTU president Maribeth Calabro. Cianci also picked up the endorsements of the police and firefighters unions.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Cianci holds the distinction of having been forced from the office of Providence mayor not once, but twice, for felony convictions. The first time was in 1984 when Cianci assaulted a man he believed was having an affair with his estranged wife. The second time was in 2002, after which he served 4 ½ years in prison for running a “corrupt criminal enterprise” as mayor.

Cianci’s opponents are Jorge Elorza, a Democrat, and Daniel Harrop, a Republican. Elorza is a former judge who sits on the board of Achievement First, a network of charter schools.

No contest.

Cianci was the subject of an award-winning documentary where he’s described as “America’s Most Notorious Mayor,” and, completely filling the stereotype, has his own line of marinara sauce, which isn’t entirely on the up-and-up, either.

“To us, it’s ancient history,” said Calabro. “It’s done and over with, and we’re trying as an organization not to go backwards in terms of negativity and things like that.”


The Password Is: “Escalating”

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 26•14

Yesterday we reported on the Colorado Education Association looking for someone to coordinate “escalating activity” in “high intensity campaigns” in targeted school districts.

LA School Report also notes the words of United Teachers Los Angeles president Alex Caputo-Pearl in his “State of the Union” speech to members. “Keep your eye out for the first of a series of monthly escalating actions starting in October at school sites,” he said.

Both of these actions seem to imply that union officers believe escalation is a unilateral strategy. Perhaps they’re right. This story about the cowed opposition to a Washington Education Association class size initiative suggests a lack of intestinal fortitude when it comes to facing down the teachers’ union.

Each locale will handle these actions as circumstances and personalities dictate, but as a general rule I would advise riding that escalator to see who jumps off before reaching the top.


Colorado Protests Not Exactly Spontaneous

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 25•14

Last November, voters in Jefferson County, Colorado, elected a conservative majority for their school board. This didn’t sit well with those who lost, most prominently the Jefferson County Education Association. And though the two sides hammered out a collective bargaining agreement in May that was approved by 88 percent of the membership, the union fought with the board on a number of issues.

Perhaps it’s all a coincidence, but at the end of July, 48 NEA UniServ directors from 18 states were sent to Jefferson County to train local officers and activists in conducting home visits with members. Once the school year began, there was a flurry of union activity.

JCEA issued a vote of no confidence in school board president Ken Witt. Last week, two high schools had to cancel classes because of a teacher sick-out. JCEA denied responsibility for organizing it, but said it understood teachers’ “frustration.” The local heightened its presence and contributions in campaigns for the state legislature, and is encouraging student protests over the AP History curriculum.

The union’s plan is not only to continue its recent activities in Jefferson County, but to spread them to other districts in the state. The Colorado Education Association received a one-year NEA funding grant to hire an organizing specialist “to help bring educators together to fight back against the movement to privatize public education.” The job requires coordinating organizing campaigns in five unnamed Colorado local affiliates in three “metro area school districts.”

The organizing plan will incorporate “escalating activity” in “high intensity campaigns” to include “rallies, marches and other direct actions.”


Let’s Play “Who Is Arne Duncan Talking About?”

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 24•14

These folks are so interested in making money, they’ve lost a sense of values, they’ve lost a sense of what’s important…. I feel bad for young kids looking up to these situations. Until people start thinking beyond dollar signs, we’re going to see this kind of behavior continue to happen.

Fill in the blank with your favorite villain, but Arne was referring to the National Football League and its handling of the Ray Rice case.


Union Opposes Pre-K Funding Amendment in Hawaii

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 23•14

This November, voters in Hawaii will decide on a constitutional amendment to expand the supply of pre-kindergarten programs by allowing the legislature to contract with private nonprofit pre-K programs. Here’s an ad from the Children’s Action Network supporting the amendment.

But the Hawaii State Teachers Association, which normally loves the idea of expanded pre-school, opposes the amendment due to one word – “private.” Here is the union ad:

I’m not suggest HSTA ought to support the amendment. I am suggesting that teachers ‘unions’ labor policies will trump their education policies every time.


Balance Your Budget the NYSUT Way!

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Sep• 22•14

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