"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ed Reformers Don't Value Public Input nor does this Teacher's Union. What IS "Public" about "Public" Education?

Following yesterday's posting about what ed reformers really think about parent and/or taxpayer input into the question of charters comes this story from California about a teacher's union not wanting parents to volunteer in the public schools.  From Hotair:

In Culver City, Calif., a local union wants to force unionization of — get this — parent volunteers at the local public schools. At several schools in the city, parents have banded together to form non-profit booster clubs to fundraise for and hire part-time teacher’s helpers, who also mostly come from the ranks of the parents themselves.

The local union — the Culver City Association of Classified Employees — is not OK with that kind of initiative. The union wants the parents to continue to fundraise, but to send the funds directly to the school district so the district can then hire union employees to fill the part-time positions. As the union’s scheme makes clear, the school district presently doesn’t have the money to hire anyone to fill the roles parents have voluntarily filled. The parent volunteers aren’t stealing existing jobs from union employees.

The union has taken its request to the labor-friendly Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), a “quasi-judicial administrative agency that is charged with upholding and administering collective bargaining statutes that cover employees working in California schools.”

If the union has its way, parents will have to raise even more funds to cover the additional costs of union dues, administrative overhead and higher union wages — but they’ll have no say over hiring, control, supervision or decision-making.  (emphasis added)  What’s to incentivize the fundraising in that scenario? As likely as not, parents will just stop putting forth the effort to raise funds in the first place — and students will lose the benefit of the added help in the classroom.

The taxpayers and parents can't win.  The ed reformers want to open charter schools and allow trigger options, but don't want taxpayers/parents to have much voice (as noted by yesterday's post), and this union doesn't want parents to volunteer for the school they are paying for.

Just where do taxpayers/parents have any say in what happens in their school districts?  Are they only supposed to pay for the schools, drop their kids off at the schoolhouse door and host wrapping paper sales?  Is that the extent of parental/taxpayer involvement in public education? 

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