Larry Sand’s poignant review of the United Teachers of Los Angeles’ union strike continues.
Serious education reformers? They, too, gave UTLA’s theatrics zero stars. As Chris “Citizen” Stewart solemnly notes, “I look at this and other teacher tantrums with a stoic gaze because between yesterday and today nothing material has changed for the undereducated children of Los Angeles.” Stewart and others who are truly concerned with improving our dismal education results realize that the strike did nothing to actually improve things for thousands of kids who desperately need better educators. Getting rid of underperforming teachers and eliminating the quality-blind seniority system that infects public education are union non-starters.
Not to be outdone in the complaint department, even the socialists gave the UTLA production a golden raspberry. On the World Socialist Web Site, Alan Gillman writes that LA teachers are “shocked and outraged over how the UTLA pushed through a contract that ignored their most critical demands…. One teacher described feeling like there was ‘a hole in her heart’ and reported seeing teachers crying because nothing they went on strike for was realized.” Gilman also writes that many were incensed about the short period of time they had to study and vote on the contract.
And talk about unhappy, the taxpayer’s turn is a-comin.’ UTLA and other unions will be campaigning for a $600 parcel tax which would raise $500 million a year.
The taxpayer will also be on the hook for 30 new community schools with “wraparound services” like on-site mental health aid, caregiving, etc., though there is absolutely no evidence that these schools improve student learning one bit. Also, the union is crowing that in the new contract, there will be more “green spaces” on many campuses. Whoopee.
After the contract was agreed to by the union elite, Mike Antonucci wrote, “Had this exact tentative agreement been offered two weeks ago, the union would have rejected it.”
Antonucci is right. The whole mess was about theatrics – the ascendancy of Alex Caputo-Pearl to a California Teachers Association presidency, the positioning of the union as vital to teachers in the wake of the [National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation-won] Janus decision, and sending a message to Governor Gavin Newsom that we need to spend more, more and more taxpayer dollars on education. But at the end of the performance, the actors and the audience got hosed – teachers, parents, kids, and taxpayers. Come to think of it, we’ve seen this play many times – different names reading similar lines, but it’s still the same damn play with the same damn ending. When the curtain came down, the boos drowned out the meager applause.