State schools chief: President Obama is a corporate stooge

April 15, 2013

By Chris Reed

UC Berkeley linguistics professor George Lakoff’s blueprint for Democrats from a decade ago continues to reverberate. Lakoff stressed the emphasis of framing issues with the proper language and spoke of the power of metaphors. And so now we always hear government spending described as “investments.”

Now the teachers unions and their political pals/puppets are in their third or fourth year of their Lakoffian push to characterize all education reform efforts as being “corporate” and therefore evil. Take it away, Tom Torlakson:

“SACRAMENTO — California Democrats on Sunday condemned efforts led by members of their own party to overhaul the nation’s schools, arguing that groups such as StudentsFirst and Democrats for Education Reform are fronts for Republicans and corporate interests.

“Before delegates overwhelmingly passed a resolution excoriating the groups on the final day of the party’s annual convention here, speakers urged them to focus on protecting students and teachers.

“‘People can call themselves Democrats for Education Reform — it’s a free country — but if your agenda is to shut teachers and school employees out of the political process and not lift a finger to prevent cuts in education, in my book you’re not a reformer, you’re not helping education, and you’re sure not much of a Democrat,’ said state Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, a registered Democrat whose office is nonpartisan. …

“‘Let’s be perfectly clear,’ [said California Teachers Assn. President Dean Vogel]. ‘These organizations are backed by moneyed interests, Republican operatives and out-of-state Wall Street billionaires dedicated to school privatization and trampling on teacher and worker rights.'”

corporate_obama32But this rhetorical hard sell is going to be tough. As the L.A. Times’ account laid out, the president and a likely future Democratic gubernatorial candidate qualify for the list of corporate tools that Torlakson and Vogel lambaste:

“The advocacy groups are calling for increasing parental choice, tying student performance to teacher evaluations and changing how teachers are hired and fired. President Obama, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker are among the elected Democrats who support the groups’ efforts.”

Romero calls the issue of poor schools afflicting struggling minority students a civil rights matter, and she’s right. But at a more basic level, the fight over teacher competence and job protections is part of the larger battle over government’s purpose in California.

Is its primary function to provide public services or to provide government jobs?

Incredibly enough, as this weekend’s Democratic convention showed, California’s dominant political party believes it’s the latter.

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