First Cuppa Coffee – Monday, February 6, 2012: Union Busting Edition

by on February 6, 2012 · 3 comments

in Education, Election, First Cuppa, Labor, Politics, San Diego

Now it all makes sense…  Lots of us with connections to the local media scene were puzzled by Voice of San Diego’s decision to “lay off” Emily Alpert, considered by many to be the best education reporter in the region. Perhaps, we thought, Emily was ready to move (she had just returned from a foundation sponsored sabbatical in South America) on. Perhaps, we thought, her replacement, Will Carless gave the VOSD a less costly means of getting ink on these issues and the “budget crisis” rationale used for the layoff was actually worse than reported.  But when local sources started telling us that the decision to ax Alpert was actually politically motivated, we all said “no way”.

Then there is this morning’s report in the Voice of San Diego by Will Carless, which can only be described as frontal assault on the local teacher’s union.  Carless seems clueless as to why the SDEA might want to disengage from the ongoing horror story that surrounds the San Diego Unified School District.  It couldn’t have anything to do with the District’s repeated annual claims of financial doom and gloom that lead to the process of issuing and then withdrawing pink slips, could it? Or the repeated promises that the District made to the union that were later broken? Or the obvious disfunctionality of the administrative structure of the District that leaves it unable to even report accurately on finances, academic achievement or even the cost of busing to magnet schools? Or the nationally lead assault on unions by Republicans and their surrogates?

All the above have been reported in depth at VOSD…  Today’s report by Carless takes a look at the increasingly angry attitude and militancy of the SDEA and paints the union as some sort of candidate for anger management counseling.  Sadly, all the story does is give proof to the rumors that VOSD funders, among them Buzz Wooley, were upset with Alpert’s reporting that undermined support of “education reforms” at SDUSD… Alpert, by the way, has gone on to better things at the Los Angeles Times. There’s a nice little interview with her over at SDRostra.

Is teacher bashing anti-women? This essay from the education blog Ed in the Apple certainly makes the case. Money quote: Women have fought the sexism of discrimination in the teaching profession for decades. From the fight to allow married women to teach, to the firings of pregnant women to discriminatory pay scales. Their union has lead these fights.

Will textbooks be obsolete in ten years?  Thomas Edison thought so in 1913.  Education Secretary Arnie Duncan said so last week. But hold yer horses.  It seems as though there’s decades of research that suggests that the iPad offers no advantage over dead tree learning.  Check out this LA Times article  which goes on to wonder if all this gee whiz technology stuff isn’t really just another ploy to suck money away from teacher training and best classroom practices.

Carl DeMaio almost steps in it…  We loved the headline over SDCity Beat: “Carl DeMaio kicks kids off playgound for photo-op”. Sadly, the story wasn’t as good as we’d hoped. It was actually one of his staffers that did the booting. But the scene was part of the set up for a typical DeMaio campaign half truth: he was seeking to claim that City Rec Facilities are underutilized (at 10:30 am on a school day) and kids in the background would have proved him wrong.

Carl DeMaio does step in it… And then there’s this patently ridiculous claim (emphasis added in quote) made by the Mayoral wannabe on Sunday in an SDUT op-ed section designed to give visibility to publisher Papa Doug Manchester’s Grand Plan for downtown San Diego: “With the prospect of a Super Bowl every four to five years, and the potential to have a wide range of special events throughout the year, the impact of the stadium inside a sports and entertainment district could be enormous for San Diego’s economy and our city’s budget” .  Really?

Carl DeMaio will step in it…  Over in the Twitterverse @Dems4DeMaio is up and tweeting. Problem is that they can’t seem to find any real Democrats willing to sign on for this particular piece of political fantasy.  And we’re sure they’ll start “blocking” tweets from any Dems who come along and want to dispute their claims, just like reporters known to ask hard questions are persona non-grata with DeMaio’s office and critics are barred from viewing campaign Facebook pages. We should assume there will be a City of San Diego “enemies list” should Carl get the voter’s nod.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar JMW February 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

Re technology in the classroom: That’s probably happening every where the money is available. They certainly love it here in Saudi Arabia. In each classroom we have an epodium (Dell PC in a console wired to a projector), ID card electronic attendance, and automatic door locks. The electronic attendance has been on the walls for two years; never used. The autolock doors were used last semester, but I haven’t heard them clanking into action this time. The epodium is great for Hearts except that MicroSoft’s version breaks Hearts whenever it feels like it. I use it sparingly for class purposes. In one case it’s just a clock. Lastly, all these things require maintenance and staff forever.

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avatar dorndiego February 6, 2012 at 10:23 am

GOOD! That website that calls itself V of SD uses the convenient argument that it simply digests the news reported by other publications in the county. BURP!!! Excuse me… but if that’s true why don’t the intelligence agents there offer up the work of the best critic of finance and politics in this county, The Reader’s Don Bauder? Nor does it use its benefactor Irwin Jacobs’ cash to check campaign filings. It certainly will cover that destructive offramp from Cabrillo Bridge to the soon-to-be, mislocated private parking garage in Balboa Park, which is/was Jacobs Plan. All these fake news organizations, including Manchester’s United Trombone are falling apart. Thank you, world.

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avatar Andy Cohen February 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Emily Alpert Gone? News to me……..but then again, I don’t frequent VOSD as often as I should……..nor will I after this development. Anyone who characterizes Alpert’s work at VOSD as anything less than superb JOURNALISM (meaning unbiased presentation of the facts) is merely looking for a partisan angle–probably in an effort to subvert public education and privatize our entire school system……..but I digress…….VOSD just lost its credibility as an alternative news source.

As for textbooks in schools: I think with the continued proliferation of tablets such as the iPad and the PC based competitors it’s likely that we’ll see fewer and fewer actual texts and more schools make use of these tablets. Universities are already moving toward this model. It’s far less expensive, and the publishers still stand to make their money. And for students it’s absolutely BRILLIANT! No more carrying around backpacks filled with 8 different books. You can now carry around ALL of your textbooks in one little, easy to carry tablet computer. It’s the wave of the future. Wish they had that when I was in school………

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