Anti-union hack blames unions for the FCAT

When Lorne Dewitt blamed the teachers unions for the
problems in education it reminded me of a story I heard on NPR earlier about
how officials in China were banning BBQs because they said they contributed to
smog. I don’t know however which is crazier.
The republicans have been completely in charge of both the
executive and legislative branches in Florida during the entire rein of the FCAT.
This whole era of so called accountability (accept for schools that take vouchers)
has happened under their watch and shouldn’t that be the bottom line even if a
union member here or a union leader there supported Common Core, liked the idea
of charter schools or was enthusiastic about the FCAT?
Mr. Dewitt went on to give unions powers they don’t have. Over
the past few years teachers have been stripped of work protections, had three
percent of their pay taken to balance Florida’s books (thank a teacher for the
states surplus) and continue to be some of the lowest paid professionals
around. This is the group he says, that even without the power to strike has
run rough shod over the powers-that-be in Tallahassee. Dewitt would have you believe
Unions are the ones calling the shots.  
I would like to clear up one assertion that Dewitt makes and
that is about charter schools. The concept of charter schools is credited to
Albert Shanker a union/teacher leader from New York, he thought charters should
be teacher parent driven laboratories free of things like high stakes testing
that can be so stifling. His wife recently said he would roll over in his grave
if he could see what they had become.
Lorne Dewitt obviously has what I would call a pathological
dislike of teacher unions but for those of you a little more nuanced I would
like to point out that unions do not create curriculum, establish budgets, set
policy nor do they hire or fire teachers. All they do and all they can do here
in Florida is make sure the mutually agreed upon contract language is enforced
and through their membership lobby for things they feel are important.
Sometimes they win like with the parent trigger but more often they lose like
with senate bill 736 that ties pay to how students do on standardized tests, something
testing experts say is ridiculous.
Dewitt and other may choose to rewrite history and place blame on
those he irrationally dislikes but at the end of the day the fact Republicans
being in charge of education over the last 15 years is irrefutable. If you like
where we are at keep voting for them, if you think we need a change or can do
better a sentiment echoed by most teachers whether they are in the union or not
then you know what you need to do.   

One Reply to “Anti-union hack blames unions for the FCAT”

  1. Thank you for posting this. It was my "I'm Sorry" letter that he was responding to. People kept asking me if I was going to respond to his "rebuttal", but honestly, people like him aren't worth starting the back and forth. ANYTHING and EVERYTHING he writes is anti-union… according to him, the US is in the crapper all because of unions. It's pretty obvious that he's a loon. Thank you though for this well written explanation!! 🙂

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