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Monday, February 20, 2012

Teacher unions or forces of Hitler? ALEC can't tell them appart

From Scathing Purple Musings

by Bob Sykes

Matt Reed reports in Florida Today of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) “Report Card on American Education,” and what they said specifically about Florida:

Notably, ALEC gives no credit to the classroom teachers, counselors and principals who actually achieved those gains.

Instead, ALEC’s report gives all of the credit to its reformers and to high-stakes testing and charter schools. Its opening paragraphs compare Republican legislators to the English who endured the bombing of London in World War II. It compares teachers and their unions to Hitler’s forces, who “overreached” in their assault and now must suffer the consequences

“Organized in every state legislative district in the country, they put both paid and volunteer ‘boots on the ground’ during election season,” the report says. “The unions hire legions of lobbyists around the nation, enlist academics to defend their positions, and have very clear goals.”

The portrayal is offensive and factually inaccurate for Florida.

For example, one of ALEC’s favorite reforms in Florida are charter schools, designed to be free of unions and regulation. Yet, local and state data show charter schools have consistently underperformed regular old public schools. Mathematically, Brevard County could improve its achievement numbers just by closing all charter schools and .the kids to traditional campuses.

Meanwhile, teachers have little power in a right-to-work state where they cannot strike and there are fewer Democrats than legislative committees in the Florida Senate.

Reed does not mention the author of the report. Matthew Ladner is the Senior Advisor for Policy and Research for Jeb Bush’s foundation. Ladner’s salary is paid by the same people whom financially benefit from his slurs. Perhaps a well-connected journalist like Matt Reed will ask Bush or Patricia Levesque if they agree with Ladner’s characterization of teacher’s unions as “Hitlers forces.” Or maybe they do and feel they can get away with it by Ladner delivering his spew under another banner.

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