Last but not least, here are Anthony Krinsky’s thoughts:
This could be the most important thread of the past half-century. School boards are the key to laundering teacher union power. Every vote in a school board election is buy-in to a system teacher unions (or associations in RTW states) control. The fact that Ravitch and Weingarten have weighed in together is a clear indication that you've hit a nerve. They really don't want you poking around.
In a system juiced by collective bargaining (which strongly influences what happens in RTW states also), government schools mean union rule. If the public knew that school boards do not represent public accountability, but rather are just a fig leaf over union rule, they would be justly outraged. Friendly school boards are they key to maintaining this deception.
Where school boards are pro-child and pro-excellence, teacher union villainy can be seen openly. Here in Los Angeles, a representational AFT/NEA local, the teacher unions have pulled out the stops to pervert school board elections. Remember that LAUSD writes the UTLA $30 million in dues checks every year and they use this money to train an army. Reform candidates cannot count on a trained and highly motivate constituency (parents work and charter school operators are by law forced to the political sidelines) and they must scrounge for campaign funds from whom other than wealthy do-gooders.
The UTLA campaign in the last school board election was calculated and despicable. It included misleading and libelous mailers designed to confuse voters (Republicans for Lamotte!) and suppress Latino turn-out (Sanchez is a "big wig" responsible for failing schools), a massive get out the vote effort internally (which heavily targeted parents), and careful choreography before the election that resulted in maximum public awareness of funding cut-backs and minimum awareness of the election itself. Reform candidate Sanchez needed around 40% more non-teacher votes to win the race – this strategy was all spelled out in the unions own newsletter in months prior.
The so-called "Coalition for Education Reform" which was the independent campaign for reformers wasted millions of dollars NOT attacking teacher unions or promoting what we would consider common-sense reforms. This too was a colossal mistake which can only be understood in the context of decades of teacher union propaganda. Los Angeles voters are now unreceptive to reform messaging. This was clearly a first-time rodeo for certain leaders of the "coalition," not so for the UTLA.
Here are some of my observations:
Another Sham School Board Election: http://edobserver.blogspot.com/2011/05/another-sham-school-board-election.html
School board elections: this game is rigged
District 5 LAUSD School Board Election: UTLA Demonstrates Villainy http://edobserver.blogspot.com/2011/04/weingarten-teacher-unions-partner-in.html
Stop the UTLA Wrecking Ball
UTLA Declares "Public" Mandate
Media Ignores UTLA Scheming in SB5 Election http://edobserver.blogspot.com/2011/05/media-ignores-utla-scheming-in-sb5.html
Where is the California Charter School Association (CCSA)?
The School Board Charade
Teacher Union Collective Bargaining Explained
Their hand-picked candidate in the District 5 race was teacher activist Bennett Kayser. The UTLA's substantial disinformation campaign appealed to his virtue, on the merits of his former occupation. We should respect our teachers, right?
Teacher activists have always been the front-lines weapon of choice simply because we the public, widely and readily confuse them with teacher/mentors we have all had and love. They are natural "human shields." But when teachers take up arms against reform they are no longer innocents; they are combatants. If education reformers have made one mistake over the past 50 years, it is that they have not helped the public distinguish teachers who fight excellent from those who support an excellent system.
What do you think is the primary product of the $2.5 billion in dues that teacher unions collect and spend annually? According to their filings it is not direct political activity and it's not "bargaining"… so what is it? This money is spent to organize, indoctrinate, and keep on hair-trigger alert an army of teacher activists ready to wage war on reformers. This infantry is the front-line behind which their lobbyists and officials launch legislative and contract mayhem.
Keep digging here: the school board charade is critical to the continuance of their domination.