Obama Administration Angers Its Friends in the Teachers Union by Supporting Anti-Tenure Court Decision

Duncan
(Cleveland.com)

The recent landmark California court decision in Vergara v. California – which ruled the state’s teacher tenure laws are unconstitutional – is exposing a growing rift between the Obama administration and the teachers unions that twice helped to elect him.

President Obama, through Education Secretary Arne Duncan, has continuously pushed for increasing teacher accountability and other education reforms unpopular with the teachers unions, but Duncan’s recent comments applauding the results of the California case is sending the unions and their allies over the edge, Businessweek reports.

Duncan said the Vergara case “presents an opportunity for a progressive state with a tradition of innovation to build a new framework for the teaching profession that protects students’ rights to equal educational opportunities while providing teachers the support, respect, and rewarding careers they deserve,” according to the news site.

But American Federation of Teachers President Rhonda Weingarten took Duncan to the tool shed over his take on the case in an open letter that “was clearly meant to gird her members for battle,” Businessweek reports.

“Teachers across the country are wondering why the secretary of education thinks that stripping them of their due process is the way to help all children,” Weingarten said.

From Businessweek:

“It is unexpected to see a top Obama administration official staking out a position so at odds with teachers unions. They are, after all, a key part of the Democratic Party’s base. But Duncan’s praise for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu’s June 10 decision speaks volumes about the ruling’s potential to change the public education system in the U.S.

“Treu tentatively ruled in favor of nine California students – backed by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch and his nonprofit organization Students Matter – who argued that they were deprived of their right to a quality education because of state laws granting tenure to teachers after just 18 months on the job. The judge accepted the plaintiffs’ case that too many underperforming teachers wind up in low income and minority schools and can’t easily be fired. Treu rejected the argument made by unions that tenure is simply the right to due process; he noted that tenured instructors in California are rarely dismissed.”

Union officials typically refrain from speaking publicly about the obvious political connection between the teachers unions and their beneficiaries, but unflinching union apologist Dianne Ravich didn’t hesitate to admonish Duncan for betraying his supporters in the Democratic Party.
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Many on the political left have supported school vouchers for years

Lewis
(frequency.com)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – There are a lot of “progressives” in America who want the public to believe private school vouchers and other school choice options were created by radical conservatives who want to privatize public education.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told attendees at a recent “Rally to Defend Public Education” – sponsored by Progressive Magazine – that “we have to defend public education because it will slip through our fingers if we don’t.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to defend something that should be an inalienable right,” Lewis said. “Children should not have to shop for an education. That should be an insult to every single parent on the planet.”

Lewis and other progressives like Diane Ravitch, American Federation of Teachers President Rhonda Weingarten, domestic terrorist-turned-teacher Bill Ayers, and countless politicians across the country routinely paint school choice and vouchers as the favored tools of money-grubbing corporate school privateers.

In this ongoing war between these progressives and school reform advocates, Lewis told those at the progressive rally that “one of the most important things we can do as defenders of public education is to speak the truth.”

How’s this for truth: Progressive Democrats have a long history of supporting private school vouchers, and a growing number of modern progressives disagree with their anti-school choice peers.
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Big money funders of the Progressive agenda are accidently identified

Ritz_Carlton_Chicago
(Ritz Carlton Chicago)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Democratic Party’s secret political puppeteers were unintentionally revealed this month after an attendee at the uber-liberal Democracy Alliance conference in Chicago left a list of contributing members behind.

The Democracy Alliance, infamous for shielding its big-money contributors, funnels millions from super rich individuals each year to far-left groups like the Center for American Progress, Media Matters for America, and Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA, the Washington Free Beacon reports.

“The group emphasizes secrecy in all of its operations, even as its members and the DA ‘favored organizations’ to which they donate decry the role of ‘dark money’ in American politics,” according to the news site. “DA does not disclose details of any of the transactions it facilitates, and its members and donation recipients are prohibited from speaking publicly about the organization and its operations.”

That’s what makes the recent slip-up so damning, though many of the names on the list come as no big surprise. They include labor big-wigs like Rhonda Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, both of whom apparently joined the DA as “partners” in 2013, according to the document published by the Beacon.

Weingarten’s right hand, Michelle Ringuette, also became a “partner” in 2013, as did CWA senior director George Kohl. “Partners” are required to pay $30,000 in dues and contribute at least $200,000 to DA-supported groups.

“While union higher ups are well compensated – Weingarten and Cohen made $550,000 and $200,000 in 2012, respectively … Ringuette and Kohl each pulled down more than $150,000 – the $100,000 minimum aggregate contribution requirement likely means that AFT and CWA, rather than the individuals listed, are the entities providing DA pass-through funds, with top union officials serving as liaisons,” the Beacon reports.

Big Labor bosses added to DA’s rolls this year included Workers United President Noel Beasley, and Amalgamated Bank head Keith Mestrich. Workers United and Amalgamated Bank are both affiliated with the powerful Service Employees International Union, and the bank helped finance Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.

Many of the others on the list are well-known in political circles for spending and raising massive amounts of money to steer American politics to the left. Amy Goldman, who inherited her father’s billion-dollar real estate empire in 1987, is listed as a new partner with DA this year. Goldman has spent $6 million on liberal political causes and candidates since 1990, according to the Beacon.

“Those donations have included $1 million to Priorities USA in 2012, $500,000 to House Majority PAC the same year, $1.75 million to Planned Parenthood from 2011 to 2013, and $750,000 to Organizing for Action last year,” the news site reports.

Other big money lefties to join DA this year include Philip Munger, son of Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman and billionaire Charles Munger; and Henry van Ameringen, heir to the International Flavors and Fragrance fortune.

Munger has spent over $700,000 on liberal politics, and van Ameringen more than $900,000, since 1990, according to the Beacon.

A total of 10 new DA partners are listed on the discarded internal document for 2014, and it exposes six who joined last year. None of the names are particularly surprising, as all of them are very rich left-wing political power brokers, or leaders of industry.

What makes the list so interesting is the lengths to which these folks go to keep their political contributions in the shadows, only to have their pants pulled down in public by such a simple slip-up.

It’s also the perfect demonstration of why the left’s incessant babble about greedy corporate monsters pouring untold sums into the GOP’s coffers is nothing more than hypocritical garbage.

Authored by Victor Skinner