Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Writer Off Track in Assault on Teachers' Unions

by Duane Campbell

Bill Whalen of the Hoover Institute recounts the difficult issues of riots in our cities and then blames Democrats and public school teachers for the problems. “Officials can no longer ignore Oakland riots.” ( Sac Bee Viewpoints, May 8)

What Whalen  doesn’t say is that the  continuing economic crisis and joblessness among working people- particularly the young, along with mass incarceration  and the school to prison pipeline has left many urban areas- including Oakland-  islands of despair, with  a drug economy, gangs  and nihilism.  Add in cases of police assault  these islands may explode.
Readers should know that the Hoover Institute is one of several conservative “think tanks”.  They fund advocates, often posing as scholars, to write advocacy pieces and semi news items to advance their political positions. They also provide staff and public relations advocates to get their pieces placed in news papers and television.

The problem  of  urban riots is not only the police- although they have a role. The police are the enforcement arm of a brutal and oppressive system.  It is understandable that police get blamed, and they should be held accountable when they use oppressive  police tactics.  However, we should recognize that the police are only the enforcement arm of  exploitive crony capitalism.  The police  are enforcing the rules.

Instead of dealing with the causes of the violence, Whalen uses the crisis to promote one of his favorite subjects – blaming teachers and their unions.  

He  is off track assigning blame for poverty and inequality.  He assumes, falsely, that changing California laws for public school teachers can solve the problems of  minority youth in cities such as Oakland.

I cannot post the response  piece by myself and Seth Sandronsky from the Sacramento Bee today because the Bee tightly restricts reprinting permissions.

Whalen writes: “But it’s state lawmakers who have the power to liberate inner-city children by improving public schools. And that won’t happen until the Democratic majority in the Legislature has the courage to buck the teachers’ unions and do what’s responsible – such as changing tenure rules and offering school choice. “

See the Bee article piece here.

In the online version they do include good photos.

Advocating for more school choice  Whalen makes an absurd claim- blaming teachers and unions.  Public schools, teachers  and their union lobbying efforts at the state Capitol, have zero impact on the supply of jobs with livable wages in California. See the Forbes report:

Tenure rules and unions did not cause these social extremes. Its solutions require us to go to the root of poverty, inequality and an oligarchy.

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