Sunday, September 26, 2010

If You Only Have One Note, Play It With All Your Might

The next speaker at your local WPC luncheon
It's your daily dose of Liv Finne:
This week, the Washington Education Association's president Mary Lindquist released talking points against Waiting for Superman, spinning the facts by saying Washington state has the equivalent to charter schools in its alternative schools. This spin fails miserably. First, charter schools are banned in Washington state. This union has seen to that.
Here, as usual, Liv chooses to ignore the fact that it's the voters who have repeatedly turned back charter schools. I'm sad that Liv and the Washington Policy Center hate democracy, but there it is.
Second, the 5 alternative schools Ms. Lindquist cites include Aviation High, Delta High, TAF Academy and a couple of others which are allowed some autonomy from union and district rules. These schools only operate because of the vision of their school leaders, who have managed to overcome union and district opposition through sheer grit and determination, and with the help of infusions of cash from the private sector.
Liv, do you really want to put words in the mouths of the leaders of those schools and say that they "only operate" because they've overcome their respective school districts?

Really? 'Cuz that could get awfully uncomfortable, awfully fast. Further, it's humorous to me when those who demand more innovation in the public schools then procede to crap all over the innovation that we currently have.
And having 5 schools out of Washington's total of 2,250 schools free to operate from union rules is like saying all the inmates in the prison are free because 5 out of 2,250 are allowed to visit their families.
Well, there's those five schools. And Valley, Springdale, Steptoe, Benge, Orchard Prairie, Almira, St. John, Sprague, Lamont, Queets, and a couple others I'm forgetting that don't have collective bargaining agreements in place.

The conceit that Liv operates under is that if the teachers are organized, then the district is somehow being restrained. This has no basis in either practice or reality, but if it gives her a guiding light, so be it.
We taxpayers fund this spin machine. Mary Lindquist draws a salary of $66,123 from the state of Washington as a Certificated On Leave employee of the Mercer Island School District. In addition, as president of the WEA, her salary is $163,479 plus $14,925 in pension benefits.
This is a lie of omission; the WEA reimburses Mercer Island for those costs.
School districts automatically deduct union dues from the salaries of teachers across the state, and this union receives well in excess of $70 million a year in this way. Automatic deduction of union dues by school districts could be made illegal by our lawmakers, but they are afraid to take on this powerful union, as they use this huge fund to go after lawmakers who don't toe the line.
I always have to chuckle when I see those who would feign being powerless, like Liv Finne, talk about the big bad union setting the agenda for what will happen in Washington State. The tenure laws just changed, our two LID days went away (that's a pay cut), and the last ed reform bill (even without the Race to the Top money!) is still the law of the land.

If we're getting everything we want, and we've gotten a series of turds, then where the hell did our Christmas lists get crossed up?

Death, taxes, and Liv. I like the constants in life.

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