• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • DC Teachers' Union Aims to Muzzle the Messenger

    If you don’t like the message, you might as well muzzle the messenger. Or at least that’s the strategy being employed by the Washington Teachers’ Union this week as it plans to protest The Washington Post for what it describes as slanted coverage of D.C. education reform. Their evidence of bias? The Posts’ corporate ties to Kaplan Inc., the test preparation company. Not surprisingly, the truth is an altogether different story. The Washington Examiner reports:

    Union President Nathan Saunders said teachers have been concerned for years that the newspaper’s editorial board exhibits a bias toward testing consistent with the goals of Kaplan, which runs test readiness programs and tutoring. This has caused the newspaper to “dismiss” the side of the teachers, who Saunders said prefer non-test-reliant reforms.

    “Not revealing the association of Kaplan with the Washington Post creates collateral damage for education reform in D.C.,” Saunders said.

    Test scores account for up to 50 percent of D.C. Public Schools teachers’ evaluations, which can determine their salaries.

    At the rally, teachers will shout, “We’ll stop buying until you stop lying.”

    Kris Coratti, a spokeswoman for the newspaper, said, “The Washington Post is entirely separate and independent from Kaplan. We believe our coverage of D.C. Public Schools speaks for itself.”

    Here’s a case in point. Most recently, the Post has accurately reported on the success of the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP), not from a slanted, biased perspective, but from an objective analysis based on evidence that the program works. DCOSP offers scholarships to low-income children in the District of Columbia, affording them the opportunity to escape failing schools.

    When Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) brought the program up for reauthorization in the House, President Barack Obama launched a pre-emptive strike against it, claiming “[DCOSP] has not yielded improved student achievement by its scholarship recipients compared to other students in D.C.” The Post called out the president for ignoring evidence of the program’s success and cited to testimony and evidence contradicting the president’s claims. The Post’s editorial board also declared its support for DCOSP:

    Our view has never been that this voucher program is a substitute for public school or public school reform. But while that reform proceeds, scholarships allow a few thousand poor children to escape failing schools and exercise a right that middle-class parents take for granted — the right, and dignity, of choice.

    And maybe that’s one reason the Washington Teachers’ Union is taking aim at the Post. The paper’s editorial board took a stand on an issue strongly opposed by the National Education Association and the Washington Teachers’ Union — both of whom, like the president, ignored evidence of DCOSP’s success and lobbied Congress to oppose it. Fortunately, the students won out last week, DCOSP was funded in the budget agreement, and the Washington Teachers’ Union did not get its way. But that won’t stop the teachers lobby from taking to the streets to protest those who oppose its agenda.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to DC Teachers' Union Aims to Muzzle the Messenger

    1. DanJ says:

      In an obvious statement of hipocracy, a 2004 study by the Thomas B Fordham Institute, using 2000 census data, showed that 26.8% of all D.C. teachers (and 100% of our legislators) sent their children to private schools. The rest probably live outside D.C. and send their children to suburban public schools.

      D.C. teachers have so much faith in the educational system that pays them in excess of $80,000 a year on average that they won't even send their own children to the schools where they teach but they will allow their union to defend them to the end.

    2. Bobbie says:

      Get the government out!

      Congratulations DCOSP!

    3. Boston, MA says:

      The truth is that the Post doesn't just "have corporate ties to" a "test preparation company". Kaplan is a totally owned subsidiary, the source of about 60% of the parent corporation's revenues.

      Besides the online colleges that have been indicted for fraud against student loan recipients (and taxpayers), the Post exploits veterans and targets their GI benefits, without offering services they need and deserve. After their tax-funded education eligibility is sucked dry, it abandons them.

      Kaplan also operates a growing nation-wide chain of taxpayer-funded, for-profit virtual elementary and high-school charter schools, invisible to the school-district residents, who pay taxes to support them. In December, it successsfully lobbied the state of Georgia to raise its reimbursement rate from $3500 to $5800 per child. Local taxpayers have no oversight, and no way to know this is going on.

      They certainly aren't going to find out from this courageuos coverage, are they? Shame on the Heritage Foundation.

    4. George Colgrove VA says:

      When we the people regain control of this country, we need to outright ban Unions. Not just for public workers, but also private sector. Pay is determine by the market. Workplace safety is guarded by federal and state law with enforcement provided by insurance companies. Benefits should be based on what a person can afford to package by going to a benefits broker in the private sector and what the employer would be willing to pay for that package.


      There was a day for that, but a lot has changed for the better since those days. Through time, businesses have grown to see the value of thier employees – not because of unions. They have seen the growing benefit with investing in their employees. Companies like IBM, GE and the like have always invested in thier employees. These were the companies that people use to flood to to get a very secure job. Today because of the thuggary of the federal workforce, they have a guaranteed source of cash (real and imaginary) to pay for a bunch of people who may or may not do any work. Work place regulations have placed an unwarrented weight in cost and management on companies. Federal workers who "act" as inspectors or investigators only increase the negative effects on those burdens. The cost of government on business has in essence made companies operate like the feds and has made them as inefficient as the feds. Companies have had to cut back to compensate. Employee cost have skyrocketed and unfortunately that has been a focus of cuts.

      Where IBM and GE provided top notch equipment and even better service and grew the economy, federal workers produce no goods of value and provide very poor service for what little they do. Where we volunteer to buy products and services from the private sector, we are forced against our will to pay for the little government does at an extremely high cost. The artificial source of wealth in the federal government is why people flock there for job security. All of which is artificially propped up by unions.

      You take away the unions, the strength of this Obama-nation withers. You give businesses the power to reinvest in their employees, their products and services without the needless weight of the federal government, then people seeking job security, wealth and privalege will flock back tothe private sector – where they belong. People who want to sacrifice for the greater good can then remain in the public sector at far lower salaries to truely make a difference.

      Wealth comes from profitrs earned by the collaboration of hard work of the company and the volunteer actions of the customer. Wealth does not come from the extortion of tax dollars forced from people who on everage earn half of those who recieve those tax dollars in their compensation package.

    5. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      We all had better understand this is not about education, teachers, nor the Washington Post. It's about INTIMIDATION! Union leaders throughout this

      nation are sending a message to anyone that opposes their socialist agenda.

      "If you disagree with us and openly express it, you will feel the full wrath of not only this union, but all unions nationwide". It's exactly the same tactic that is used by Obama and his lackeys. Shut down free speech when it doesn't

      agree with their position.

      When we study any dictatorship worldwide, past and present, his is one of the first freedom they take away. Next to taking away firearms, this is the

      most effective means to end descent. Intimidate and threaten first, then the

      billy clubs and tear gas. Then the tanks and bullets.

    6. Diana Brown, Illinoi says:

      The states and local organizations should be involved in the education area. Get the federal government out of our schools. The unions are destroying our schools and the teachers should not be protesting, they should be teaching the youth. Parents need to continue to be involved and tell the teachers what you expect from them. These teachers make enough money and most of them just do not do their jobs.

    7. R Holland, Chandler, says:

      Get the federal government out of the education business. Return control of education to the states and local boards. After 40+ years of failing education the federal government has proven it can't do the job. Eliminate the Dept of Education and federal funding of student loans.

    8. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Let's see now! The Union Teachers are totally Indoctrinated, and the stupidity of their Protest, Wrong Target tends to prove they cannot be trusted with Children! I can see no other reason to stop the Charter Schools or stop School Vouchers other than Socialization! I know for a fact the Progressives have a Policy of Socialization (not Education!) I read their Taxonomy of Educational Objectives! They are preparing our kids for Life Under Socialism! Not to produce anything! Not to understand their place in an American Society, as in Constitutional understanding, or even an understanding in Law!

      The Union Teachers are Indoctrinated in the full Cold War meaning of the term! They teach small d democracy, they besmearch the Constitution. They teach 'equality' instead of 'equal opportunity!' Indeed they know nothing about American Values, they care nothing about American Values and they teach nothing about American Values! It is amazing how Socialist the Public School Curriculum is! Here, they don't believe in a Free Press, but they absolutely love the Captive Media! "Everything we hate is 'Hate Speech,' the Republicans are evil!" So we should pay for this? Socialist Indoctrination? Green Crazy indoctrination? Pay these boobs to experiment on our Children?

      Yeah, George! Obama-Nation.

    9. Pingback: ~ JUST IN ~ Daily News Digest for Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | Just Piper

    10. Norcross Schools says:

      Oh, the intoxicating allure of power. Teachers' Unions have to be just all tied up in knots over any common sense opinions related to school choice. Only one opinion is righteous in their eyes – the one that maintains their power over what and how our children learn. The only way to raise union supporters is to make sure students do not learn (as through history) how their power can corrupt and destroy an entire education system.

    11. Dave S, Springfield says:

      I just came from the protest event in front of the Post; it's funny, of all the rhetoric and the posters and the chanting, not once is the word "student" ever seen or heard. Aren't kids the entire reason for schools? Seems they've missed the point.

    12. Life Plus says:

      It is always inspiring to see teenagers making a living for themselves and being good at it. It shows that the negative image of teenagers portrayed by the media is not completely true.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.