Outside groups continue to pour over $7 million into anti teacher union effort in California.

Outside groups, the Waltons, former Mayor Bloomberg of NYC, tech millionaires, pour additional money into the anti teacher union race in California. The race now is spending over $10 million. http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article3356114.html

See the post below.

Silicon Valley funds anti teacher union efforts in California

ROCKETSHIP TO PROFITS  Silicon Valley breeds corporate reformers with national reach

By David Bacon

Rethinking Schools, Fall 2014

http://www.rethinkingschools.org/restrict.asp?path=archive/29_01/29_01_bacon.shtml

Nearly every metropolitan area these days has its own wealthy promoters of education reform. Little Rock has the Waltons, Seattle has Bill and Melinda Gates, Newark has Mark Zuckerberg, and Buffalo has John Oishei, who made his millions selling windshield wipers.

Few areas, however, have as concentrated and active a group of wealthy reformers as California’s Silicon Valley. One of the country’s fastest-growing charter school operators, Rocketship Education, started here. A big reason for its stellar ascent is the support it gets from high tech’s deep pockets, and the political influence that money can buy.

Rocketship currently operates nine schools in San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley. It opened its first school in Milwaukee last year and one in Nashville, Tennessee, this fall. Its first two schools in Washington, D.C., where almost half the students already attend charters, open next year.

Vergara v. California: Buying a Judgment Against Teacher Tenure

The valley’s most far-reaching intervention took place this year – a successful legal attack on teacher tenure with chilling national implications. In 2012 David Welch, president of Infinera, a Silicon Valley fiber-optic communications corporation, set up another education reform advocacy group, Students Matter. He then filed a class action suit, representing nine children purportedly harmed by “ineffective teachers” to overturn teacher tenure in California. This past June, L.A. Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu ruled against teachers and in favor of Welch and the students in Vergara v. California.

Welch, whose company has revenue of more than half a billion dollars annually, gave half a million in seed money to Students Matter, and then lent it another million. The Broad Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation kicked in more. In 2012 alone, Students Matter spent more than $1.1 million on one of the state’s most powerful corporate law firms, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which fought the Vergara case. Continue reading

Union Suppression Movement- Part 2

America’s Union Suppression Movement (And Its Apologists), Part Two

LeoCaseyLeo Casey on April 18, 2013
This is part two of a two-part post. The first part can be found below.

As the war against American unions reached a fever pitch in recent years, there emerged a small group of right-wing academics and think tanks that have taken up the anti-union cause in intellectual circles. Of particular note for our purposes are Terry Moe’s book, Special Interest, and a recent study, How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions?, which was jointly sponsored by the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now. [6]

Since I’ve already written a critique of Moe’s book for the American Political Science Association’s journal, Perspective on Politics, my focus here is mainly on the Fordham/ERN report.

Both publications tell a very similar story (all the more remarkable given the political and economic context I discussed in Part I of this post), in which incredibly powerful teacher union Leviathans invariably win the day in all manner of educational and public policy fights. The Fordham Institute’s Michael Petrilli offered a ten-second sound bite for this meme, when he recently wrote that teacher unions “were the Goliath to the school reformers’ David.”

How does one find one’s way to such an unfounded conclusion? With an ideological analysis that has only the thinnest veneer of social science.

Take the most basic issue in this narrative, the supposed “power” of teacher unions. As I used to teach my Political Science students, power can not be understood as a static, fixed property possessed by an individual or a group, but must be seen as a relationship among various players. Like any other political actor, a teachers union possesses no power in the abstract, but only in relation to other parties – school districts; school boards; state education departments; county, state and federal governments; corporations; political parties; parents groups; and so on, across the field of education policy players. Yet, in discussing the power of the “Goliath” teachers union, Moe and the Fordham/ERN report make no mention of the greater relative power of the education reform “David.”  This omission is telling for three important reasons: Continue reading