When history repeats itself it does so the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Karl Marx.
In the cold, cruel world of influencing public opinion there are no rules, truth is simply a noun, one does what is effective, as long as the backlash does not injury you or your candidate.
Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor, is probably looking for a permanent gig on Fox, and her recent renewed attack on the UFT, the New York City teacher union, is a cynical attempt to besmirch the reputation of the union and enhance her own career.
Brown accuses the union of “protecting” sexual predator teachers.
The New York State Commission of Education, John King, called the discipline procedures negotiated by the union “a model for the state.”
If the discipline procedures for New York City are a “model for the state” why is Campbell Brown blaming the union?
A political sage was regaling us with stories – in the 70s and 80s the Republicans in the State legislature were trying to get a death penalty law passed. Each year they got closer, eventually they passed the law and overrode a veto by Governor Cuomo the elder. The “sage” bemoaned the passage of the law: “They never should have passed the law, it took a great campaign issue off the table, they could have continued to run on it for years.”
The mayoral election is approaching, the primary seventy days off and the teacher union not only has tens of thousands of members, the public holds the union in high regard,
Sol Stern in City Journal reports the highly regarded Zogby Analytics poll,
New Yorkers now trust the oft-maligned teachers more than they trust the mayor’s office: almost half of all respondents said that teachers should “play the largest role in determining New York City’s education policy,” compared with 28 percent who thought that the mayor-appointed schools chancellor should.
How do you degrade the reputation of the union as the countdown to the elections ticks down? You accuse them of harboring sexual predators.
The reality is quite different.
If a teacher in New York City is arrested on a felony sexual misconduct charge s/he is suspended without pay, and, if they are found guilty or plead guilty they are discharged without any hearing.
If a teacher is accused of misconduct without an arrest, s/he is removed from contact with students and the Department conducts an investigation. It is commonplace for the investigation to take months and additional months until a report is issued. The report is passed along to the lawyers who decide whether to prefer charges. There is frequently a tension between the investigators and the lawyers. The lawyers must present the case to a jointly-selected arbitrator, witnesses must testify, and a weak case might result in the teacher sitting in a reassignment center for months until the charges fade away or the teacher negotiates a settlement – perhaps a fine.
Why doesn’t the Department have a special unit? Why don’t they vigorously investigate immediately? Employ investigators and lawyers trained to investigate and prosecute these types of cases? The Department will plead poverty – we don’t have enough investigators or lawyers. How many lawyers does the Department employ to challenge placement cases before impartial hearing officers in Special Education? How many employees does the Department use in the accountability office?
There is never a shortage of dollars if the Department determines the dollars are needed to pursue the goals of the Department. Opposing placements in Special Education that are more expensive is a goal of the Department, the accountability metrics are the core of the Department, the dollars will always be available.
If we fail to fund more investigators and lawyers, if we tarry and not pursue cases vigorously we can blame the union, and, perhaps erode their power and popularity – the union is the enemy and whatever is necessary to weaken the union is acceptable.
According to the Daniel Day Lewis Lincoln anything, including bribing legislators was acceptable to pass the Thirteenth Amendment. Is the NSA scooping up cell phone data acceptable to prevent another terrorist attack? There are complex and difficult ethical issues.
Campbell Brown is simply sleazy.
Brown and the Department are marionettes and the Mayor is geppetto.
The puppet masters with access to the pages of the Daily News, the Post and Fox are tasked with burnishing the reputation of the outgoing Pope of New York.
“He who heareth you, heareth Me.” (Luke 10:16); and usually what is set forth and inculcated in Encyclical Letters, already pertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their acts, after due consideration, express an opinion on a hitherto controversial matter, it is clear to all that this matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot any longer be considered a question of free discussion among theologians.
For Pontiff Bloomberg policies have the force of encyclical letters, there can be no discussion, The teachers’ union are heretics and most be punished – and Campbell Brown are the Knights Templar.
Unfortunately the mayor posing as a modern-day mayor/pontiff is a farce, a cruel farce.