Over at Publicola, WEA President Mary Lindquist shot back at heavy Dem donor Nick Hanauer over his e-mail to her. (She is right on one point; he made it sound like every single change put forth in the Legislature has been blocked by the WEA. That's just not true.)
What puzzles me is who gave the e-mail to Publicola? At the end of the e-mail, Hanauer says "share this with the gang." But you'd think he might not have wanted it shared publicly or, just maybe, he did. Maybe he wanted to test the waters of public opinion. The problem is that he wants to make this about the WEA versus ed reformers and that's sure leaves out a lot of other interested parties.
The Times then writes an article that puts this all on display. What's interesting is they have Hanaeur, as well as some other wealthy donors, along with Lisa MacFarlane (holding down the DFER fort all by herself) on one side and the WEA on the other.
Again. Hello? There are other people out here - some of them the actual parents of actual students in public schools - who have plenty to say. Who's asking them? Who represents their interests?
The comments at the Times are either let's all hate the unions OR those rich people whining because they aren't winning the argument. Guess what gets lost? Any real movement forward - together - on better academic outcomes (versus what McKenna would like to do including vouchers).
And Hanauer had a funny line:
He also contends that the Washington Education Association (WEA), the state's largest teachers union, has far too much sway with Democratic leaders and "is literally strangling our public schools to death."
The article states that the WEA has contributed more than $900k to the state Dems since 2002 and more than $300k to various Senate Dem campaigns. Hanauer has donated more than $2.5M sinzel 2001 to Dems campaigns. Hanauer also said:
"The large point is, the leadership of my party is not leading the charge on these issues and in fact is highly resistant to most of them," Hanauer said. "That simply doesn't suit me and most of my progressive friends anymore. Enough is enough."
You know there are many, many people in this country who are frustrated and say enough is enough. Unfortunately, most of us are not Bill Gates or Nick Hanauer.
Jon Bridge, co-chief executive officer and general counsel for Ben Bridge Jeweler, said he opposes charter schools, and is happier with the current teacher-evaluation bill than Hanauer, saying, "half a glass is better than none at all."
And then Rick Santorum, weighs in again on education, this time higher education. He said:
”President Obama wants everybody to go to college. What a snob.”
Hold up your hand if you grew up lower-middle class and/or were first generation in your family do go to college. Do you remember when you told your parents' friends you were going and there was always that person who would say, "Don't let it go to your head" or "Not everyone needs to go to college".
It's snobby to want American kids to go to college? Obama didn't say "has to" or "needs to" or even "should". He expressed that as a want. And maybe that's a want he has for his children. However you can't have people whining about how bad K-12 public education is and then sneer if students who do make the effort to do well end up going to college.
Santorum also said this:
President Obama wants America’s young people to go to college in order to “indoctrinate” students and “remake” them in his image, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum argue on the campaign trail in recent days.
“There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor,” Santorum told a Tea Party rally Saturday in Troy, Mich.
On the one hand, of course not everyone will go to college. Not everyone needs to go to college. But to put down the idea as snobby or wrong, well, then which children do you encourage and which ones do you not encourage to go to college?
As the Washington Post points out, Santorum's criticisms are silly considering his three degrees. He holds a Bachelor's, a law degree and an M.B.A.
I bring up Santorum again as it is clear, if you listen to the Republican debates, that the Department of Education, under any of their administrations, would disappear. They all would throw most of the responsibility back at states and local districts. We can argue the merits of that idea but to me it would then signal, at a federal level, the green light for a free-for-all with states doing just about anything they want.
It's not a great way to educate a nation.