Prediction: CTA to play good cop/bad cop on Brown school $ plan

May 23, 2013

By Chris Reed

ctaThe California Teachers Association has taken a lot of hits of late. It tried to sell its 2012 decision to fight bills to make it easier to fire pervert teachers as about basic fairness to employees. That blew up, leading it to go along with legislation this year that will make it somewhat easier to give the boot to the Mark Berndts of the world.

The CTA’s biggest affiliate — the United Teachers Los Angeles — also took a big hit when L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy opened up the files to show how much insane teacher misbehavior that the UTLA had enabled over the years before the Berndt case finally emboldened Deasy and the L.A. school board to crack down.

A public-relations gambit and no more?

These black eyes, I believe, are the pertinent backdrop to understanding the CTA’s decision Wednesday to endorse Gov. Jerry Brown’s call to award slightly more funding to school districts with the biggest concentration of struggling-English learners. The CTA needs to burnish its image, and one way to do so is by chest-thumping over “social justice.”

“CTA President Dean Vogel for the most part lauded Brown’s blueprint during a Wednesday morning press conference. He noted that California’s student population includes big chunks of learners who are either poor enough to qualify for free or reduced price lunch or are still absorbing English. He said covering the higher cost of educating those students is a recurring problem.

“Under Brown’s proposal, districts with high concentrations of poor, English learning and foster students would be eligible for extra concentration grants on top of the base grants every district would receive.

“‘It’s hard to say that you’re in support of this local control funding formula the way it’s presented by the governor and then say you don’t like the concentration grants,’ Vogel said. ‘The concentration grant is the piece of the formula that basically says we’re going to actually put our money where our mouth is. You can’t say year in and year out that it costs more to educate kids in poverty without giving them the money.'”

The CTA’s modus operandi — protect the status quo — may still prevail

That’s from the Sac Bee. Watch out for this to be good cop-bad cop theater. Vogel says the CTA is for helping out struggling students. But behind the scenes, CTA operatives will fight for the status quo in which veteran teachers end up at the safest, most affluent schools. Struggling English leaners? It’s their own fault — and their parents’ fault, too.

Fighting for the interests of adult employees is what the nation’s largest teachers union does. It’s the CTA M.O.

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