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Daily Kos: Despite differing positions on education, Republican candidates all hate teachers unions

February 25, 2012

Daily Kos: Despite differing positions on education, Republican candidates all hate teachers unions.

Very interesting (link-laden) post on why it is so very important to be supporting candidates who support public education.  At this time, as I have said many, many times here the party that supports public education is NOT the Republicans.  If you are a teacher and you vote (R), you really have to examine your mental capacities.

The Republican presidential candidates are all over the map on education: Rick Santorum doesn’t like No Child Left Behind, but he voted for it. Now, he wants “local control” of schools. Mitt Romney believes in testing, testing, and more testing, and supports No Child Left Behind—in fact, in 2008,Education Week‘s Michele McNeil called him “NCLB’s Biggest Champion on the Trail”—but he’s criticizing Santorum for having voted for it. Ron Paul wants to eliminate the federal Department of Education. Newt Gingrich … well, at the debate Wednesday, he had some typical Gingrich-style mumbo-jumbo about education theory and Carnegie units, but the part that came through loud and clear was his distaste for teachers unions.

So the Republican party spans candidates who want the federal government to have no role in education and candidates who want the federal government to micromanage school curricula. But if there’s one thing the party’s presidential candidates agree on about education—and there may only be one thing—it’s that they don’t like teachers to be in unions.

At the debate, moments after touting the excellent educational performance of Massachusetts, a state where teachers are overwhelmingly unionized, Romney said, “We have to stand up to the federal teachers unions and put the kids first and the unions behind.” Gingrich said, “We bought over the last 50 years three huge mistakes. We bought the mistake that the teachers unions actually cared about the kids.” Rick Santorum doesn’t single out teachers unions—but that’s because he doesn’t believe public employee unions should exist at all, so between that and his desire to get federal and state governments out of education, it would be beside the point.

Oh, yes. Those awful teachers unions. When Republican education cuts left Pennsylvania’s Chester Upland school district without the money to pay teachers, the teachers voted, at a union meeting, to keep teaching without pay as long as they could. When Hurricane Irene left the school in tiny Moretown, Vermont too damaged to be used, the town’s unionized teachers had the option to delay the start of the school year, but they chose to teach out of tents. The American Federation of Teachers is leading the coalition to save the troubled schools ofMcDowell County, West Virginia. Nationally, about 20 percent of teachers work second jobs to make ends meet; rather than spending evenings with their families or grading their students’ work, they are cleaning offices and waiting tables. Unions can help raise teachers’ wages to the point where they don’t have to work that second job and can come to school each morning rested and ready to teach, but unions across the country have also made concessions, accepting wage freezes and more. Nor do teachers unions only negotiate for wages and benefits. They also fight for smaller class sizes, budgets for training and educational materials, and other things that, yes, make a teacher’s work easier—by helping them teach their students more effectively.

Of course it would be opposition to that that would put Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum on the same page.

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