Monday, April 20, 2009

The Washington State PTA: Just Another Bunch of Political Hacks

So the big fun brawl in the past few days has been between the WEA and the Washington State PTA over HB2261, the Basic Education Reform bill that stinks but has passed because, forgive them Father, they know not what they do.

WEA President Mary Lindquist fired this off to the membership after 2261 passed on the Senate side:
This bill is a travesty and an insult to the education profession. The groups behind it are vested interests masquerading as concerned citizens who care for children. Yet they’re denigrating and dismissing those of us who actually educate our state’s children!
Which prompted this response from PTA president Laura Bay:

I was stunned and extremely disappointed by the statement in your email that “The groups behind [HB2261] are vested interests masquerading as concerned citizens who care for children.” This was an unwarranted attack on the integrity of this Association and our 150,000 members, many of whom (me, for example) are also members of WEA.

A certain level of polemics is to be expected in any advocacy effort. However your ad hominem attack on our Association and our members was totally out of line.

Outraged, Mary? You should be ashamed.
Shame's a funny thing, Ms. Bay. You're certainly acting unashamed of the groups that you've thrown the PTA's lot in with, so let's judge you by the company you keep.

Let's start first with the League of Education Voters, which takes a healthy share of their funding from (1) Microsoft, (2) a foundation run by a former Microsoft exec, (3) a guy who sold his company to Microsoft, and (4) the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation proper. What was it that Bill Jr. said about the public schools, again?
Bill Gates blasted the state of U.S. high schools yesterday in a speech before the National Governors Association education summit in the nation's capital.

Using words such as "ashamed" and "appalled" to describe his reaction to the failure rates for students, Microsoft's co-founder called America's high schools broken, flawed and underfunded, and said the system itself is obsolete.
Or try here for more of Bill's blame-the-teacher-first rhetoric.

"But Gates is right!" I hear a lot of people crying. Remember when he was right about breaking up high schools into small schools, and how the theory didn't match up to the practice and how the Gates Foundation blew tens of millions on a failed reform?

Yeah, that was cool. Look for the sequel, coming soon to a school near you.

Or you can have the Partnership for Learning, whose President is a current Microsoft exec and who counts the Gates Foundation and the Microsoft Corporation among their corporate donors.

It's neat that the PTA has lined themselves up with people who hate public schools and the teachers who work in them. I hope that they're proud of what they've "accomplished" with this bill.

From where I sit, though, they're the ones who should be feeling a deep, deep sense of shame for betraying the kids they pretend to represent.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Washington State PTA's response is not surprising. Having experienced the lies and the backstabbing that really go on in the PTA -- all in the name "it is for the children." They are the pot calling the kettle black.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...what a bunch of sad statements. As a passionate PTA mom from Spokane, I am grieved by your scathing comments. Although I can not deny that some units function more as a "clique" than an advocate, the purpose and vision of PTA is to advocate for children....ALL children! I stood on the steps in Olympia in February and met with my representatives, encouragin them to support HB2261. Although it is not perfect, it is a much needed step in the right direction. To fully fund basic education. Our chldren are worth the investment. Thank you.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just "units function more as a clique" -- don't leave out the state. Over the years, I saw things going on at the state level that had more to do with narcissism and ego strokes -- things that do not create a strong family but tear them down -- let your imagination run wild and you would be right.

6:36 PM  

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