Banner story on dubious Prop. 30 threat doesn’t mention CTA!

Nov. 4, 2012

By Chris Reed

Early last week, an analysis I wrote for CalWatchdog questioned the central narrative of Proposition 30: that if it failed, there would be billions of dollars in automatic “trigger” cuts in public education.

“At some point — my guess is 9:30 p.m. next Tuesday — California’s political class is finally going to start thinking about how it will deal with this hole in the budget and stop lecturing voters about what jerks they are for not raising their own taxes to continue funding a broken status quo.

“Specifically, they will think about the implications of how Legislature and the governor forced school districts to deal with the $5 billion once it went missing: by cutting the school year by 8 percent, from 175 days to 161 days.

“Why does that save so many billions? Because it represents an 8 percent cut to by far the biggest item in the state budget: teacher pay. (Think about it: Prop. 98 reserves about 43 percent of revenue for schools; 90 percent or more of school district operating funds goes to compensation, primarily teacher pay.)

“At this point, the Prop. 30 strategy no longer holds schoolchildren hostage. It holds teachers hostage.

“Does anyone really think the California Teachers Association and its less brash little bro, the California Federation of Teachers, are going to stand for an 8 percent pay cut? When the most powerful political force in the state, by far, faces such a threat, guess what? It will come like a crazed wolverine after every last dollar of revenue available in Sacramento.”

To my pleasant surprise, after the analysis appeared, the Sacramento Bee began writing about this angle, starting with Dan Walters. Now the Bee has splashed on its Sunday front page a 1,300-word analysis of what happens if Prop. 30 fails.

But here’s what’s incredible. Bee reporter Kevin Yamamura’s story doesn’t mention the California Teachers Association or the California Federation of Teachers!

This is like writing a comprehensive story about the Lakers that doesn’t mention Kobe Bryant or coach Mike Brown. Are you kidding me?

On the other hand, what’s good enough for America’s most influential newspaper is good enough for the Bee.

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