27 January 2006

Discourse & Where We Are

The 70,000-member teachers union in Minnesota has spent a million bucks with a month-long TV ad campaign. They claim some jive about seeking input from the public, blah, blah, blah, but the real message is the same one they've always had, since the have but one: Give us more money. The answer options in the survey you are directed to are basically in two categories; Bigger and More.

Katherine Kersten asked some questions that deserve answers, but let's not forget what era we're in. You cannot have a discussion about what's going on when the other side won't answer the question and rejects the notion of accountability.
Education Minnesota's Schools First initiative appears to be a media campaign masquerading as research. Its purpose is not really to listen to public opinion, but to move it. Last year, our state's K-12 schools got one of the biggest two-year funding infusions since the 1980s from the Minnesota Legislature. But Education Minnesota, with its insatiable appetite for taxpayer funds, is already back at the public trough. Is Education Minnesota a serious education organization, dedicated to academic excellence and innovation? Or is it, first and foremost, a union concerned with increasing its members salaries and benefits?
More interesting than what Kersten wrote is the agonizingly predictable shedding of tears in the letter section of the Strib, where all who bleed union largesse are given free run, yet never actually address any part of what Kersten was questioning. Powerline does a fine job of chronicling this, which is every bit as important as Kerstens original column:

So it's all about forming a public dialogue about education? Sure it is. But (Teachers' Union President Judy) Schaubach's own words, to her teacher members last fall in a bulletin, belie that point. Oh well. Many faces of Judy? To rip thoughtful critics as "anti-public education" is knee-jerk shallow, dead wrong, myopically defensive, but oh-so expected. Sad. Sadly, too, Strib's editorial page keepers select only one-sided, issue-twisting responses to blast Kersten's remarks. Editorial bias asserts itself daily in letters selection. Certainly, at least one Kersten defender's letter appeared in the bunch they received.

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