CTA: Biggest liars in politics

OK, there are more political organizations that I don’t like than I care to count but there are a few that really go beyond the pale to truly piss me off. One of the first things one can do to get on my bad side is to blatantly lie or mislead. I’m not talking about supporting a position that I disagree with and calling that lying, I’m talking about saying things that are just not true. The second thing one can do is to constantly use distraction tactics to avoid a topic. You know, when some political issue comes up that affects a group, that group always re-directing it back to a different topic, possibly completely unrelated, that they feel they have more sympathy in regards to.

See I can take organizations like Planned Parenthood. They’ve got a simple goal, one that I happen to horribly disagree with, but a goal that they’re willing to publicize and argue on those terms. In their mind, abortion should be available to all, is not really a moral choice but a practical choice, and that children should be educated about every sexual practice available out there and free to experiment as they choose, once properly educated on the benefits and risks of each. They’re pretty honest that this is their perspective. As much as I think it is morally abhorrent, I can at least give them the credit of being honest human beings. Misguided and bent on a policy that will destroy millions of lives and harmfully affect billions of others but honest nevertheless.

The California Teachers Association (CTA) gives me no such room for honesty praise. They recently released a political add regarding proposition 74. For those not in the know, prop. 74 will increase the years of service required for tenure from 2 years to 5 years and will make it easier for schools to fire tenured teachers by allowing schools boards to fire a teacher after two consecutive unsatisfactory performance evaluations.

One can make arguments either way about whether this is a good thing. But the CTA has no interest in making an argument about the subject at hand. Here’s the text of the ad:

STEPHANIE FLOYD-SMITH, seventh-grade teacher: Governor, you’ve already broken your promises on education. Now you’re sponsoring Proposition 74, a ballot measure that allows one principal to fire a teacher without giving a reason – or even a hearing. While doing nothing to improve teacher training.

RENEE STEWART, elementary school parent: Parents like me are voting no on Prop. 74 to send the governor a message: Stop playing politics with our schools. And get to work on smaller class sizes, up-to-date textbooks, and restoring music and art classes – the things our kids really need.

You can see the video here (requires the stupid real player)

Let’s start with the blatant 100% lies, shall we?:

1. “allows one principle to fire a teacher”: No principle can fire a teacher. The school board must do that. (Of course a principles recommendation caries a lot of weight.)
2. “fire a teacher without giving a reason”: Performance evaluations, 2 unsatisfactory of which are necessary to fire a tenured teacher, by their very nature say what a teacher is doing well and doing wrong. Particularly since those evaluations would be used by the school board to determine whether to accept the recommendation of a principle to fire a teacher, if a teacher gets fired, those two evaluations will make it pretty clear what the reason is.

In fact the only thing that the first person says that has a HINT (and I emphasize HINT) of truth is the statement “or even a hearing”. But even that is very deceptive. Although it is true that teachers aren’t guaranteed an explicit “hearing” , they will have had their performance reviews with the principle, giving them a chance to make their case to the principle and most likely when the principle makes the recommendation to the board to fire the teacher, that process will occur in some forum that allows the teacher some input. So even in that one statement that is not 100% lying, it is very deceptive. Overall, they’re lying and there’s no other way to see it.

OK, on to the re-directing. The ad mentions the following “issues” that have nothing to do with prop. 74:

-“Governor, you’ve already broken your promises on education”: OK, so maybe he has. Does this measure have anything to do with those promises?
-“get to work on smaller class sizes”: Um, does this measure prevent smaller class sizes? Does it have ANYTHING to do with class size?
-“up-to-date textbooks”: Again, help me please, are we on topic?
-“and restoring music and art classes”: Still waiting…
-“the things our kids really need”: You forgot to mention food! Our kids need food! What is this ballot measure doing to help kids that starve? Don’t vote for this ballot measure because it doesn’t help one single starving kid!

I mean, all of those statements are just crap that have nothing to do with the ballot measure.

But my overall point is this: For crying out loud, make an argument against the measure! Is that too much to ask? Instead of lying about it and trying to re-direct to other issues, tell me what is wrong with this measure. Do we have great teachers who should be allowed to teach and shouldn’t be worrying about whether their principle likes them? That sounds like an argument you could make. But they don’t make that argument because they know that it doesn’t strike a chord with Californians who are sick and tired of bad public school teachers. Does the measure mostly impact new teachers who are the life-blood of the future of teaching and leaves the tenured teachers mostly untouched because of the lengthy evaluation process? That sounds like a reasonable argument. But that would piss off their existing union members that includes all the tenured teachers. Do you not like the measure because it affects the job security of your union members? OK, that is an argument that you could make (and it is the REAL reason they’re campaigning against it). But they’re not going to get sympathy for that from California voters who could only DREAM of having the job security that teachers have.

So, stuck without a good argument to make, they resort to lying and re-direction and that’s why I despise the CTA.

3 Responses to “CTA: Biggest liars in politics”

  1. Michael Cruz Says:

    I support Planned Parenthood, but I have to commend you on that fact that while you are against what they do, your explanation of the situation is the most reasoned and fair I have heard from those on your side of the issue. There is honor in disagreeing with something on principle without resorting to fiery rhetoric and denunciation.

    I think the problem here, at least for the right, is to pick your battles. Planned Parenthood not only performs abortions, but they also provide free sexual health exams and free contraception, most notably condoms and the birth control pill. Now, I am not going to argue about whether abstinence until marriage is right or wrong, as that isn’t a factual issue, but a moral one, and therefore there is no “correct” answer as people have differing opinions of morality. The facts on the ground, however, are that right or wrong, many many people, from all walks of life and from all areas of the country, do have pre-marital sex. With that in mind, there are two options: 1) make that sex as protected as possible, in order to prevent the need for abortions, or 2) have abortions. The problem is, the right wants to destroy both of those options. So, technically, by restricting access to contraception and not teaching children “about every sexual practice available out there,” you are inadvertently increasing the number of likely abortions.

    Therefore, in my opinion, if the right is serious about abortions being morally wrong and serious about wanting to put an end to them, the obvious solution would be to do whatever it takes to prevent unwanted pregnancy, and it has already been statistically proven (unfortunately I don’t have a link to data to back this up, although I have read it, and I’m sure it can be found) that abstinence-only education doesn’t achieve this end. The Christian right are only shooting themselves in the foot by opposing all that PP does, rather than just focusing on the abortions themselves. Sons and daughters in small town Christian America are having pre-marital sex just as much as anyone else, and I feel that, while sharing with them your values of abstinence until marriage is perfectly commendable – and hopefully they will listen and follow that advice – on the off chance that they don’t then discussing and supporting proper protective measures would certainly be a logical and responsible backup plan. Planned Parenthood engages in this activity, often in place of parents who won’t, as as a result I would wager that they prevent far more abortions than they preform.

  2. Michael Cruz Says:

    Oh, and ::ahem:: ROLL ON GOLDEN BEARS! BEAT LA!

  3. Ken Crawford Says:

    I’ll let you off the hook easy Michael because you’re a Bears fan. ;-) But since this is my blog and reflects my views, I do feel the need to rebutt one factual point:

    Statistics regarding the success of abstinance based sex education are mixed. Some go in favor of safe-sex based sex education, some go in favor of absinance based programs. From a related topic, one that I believe sheds light on abortion, AIDS prevention campaigns in third world countries have shown far more success when they are based on abstinance and monogomy than safe-sex.

    But the point I really want to make here is that both sides are just as concerned about reducing the pregnancy rate as the other, they just have very different strategies than the other.

    The safe-sex side makes pretty much the argument you make: If kids are going to have sex (and they are), let’s at least get them protected from pregnancy and STDs. Seems reasonable enough. But the risk of the argument is two-fold: 1. Does the education actually work? i.e. do more guys slip on a condom before sex because of the education? and 2. What effect does the education have on the sex-rate? Does it go up because of the education?

    The abstinence side argues that the risks of safe-sex education as listed above don’t work. They argue that more people have sex as a result of the education and that only a minimally increased number actually use that protection. Their argument is that it is wiser to focus on reducing the sex-rate and that will by effect reduce the pregnancy and STD rates particularly if the protection use rate remains the same for those that do have sex. The risk to this argument is just the opposite: 1. Kids won’t listen and will have just as much sex as they would otherwise. 2. Even worse, they won’t use protection because the education they had didn’t focus on that.

    Who’s right? Well, as I said above, studies show mixed results. But what I think it is key to remember that both sides have the same noble goal in mind: reduce pregnancies and STD. They just have very different strategies.

    As for what I prefer, I think that this education doesn’t belong in schools, particularly public ones. The reality is that both safe-sex and abstinenece programs don’t work when taught in a public school forum. It’s too impersonal and too easily dismissed by the students. I would say, however, that the safe-sex programs are far more capable of causing harm (because of the possible increased sex-rate) than the abstinence programs (which at worst are just a “placebo” and a waste of money).

    This matter would be far better handled outside of tax funding. I’m fine with Planned Parenthood investing in safe-sex education as long as it isn’t funded by my tax dollars (which most of it currently is). If they want to invest in that, that is there right. Similarly, I’m thankful that I have the right to invest in abstinence programs and don’t feel the need to have the government tax others to pay for programs I support.

    But anyway, back to the topic of the day, I whole-heartedly agree: GO BEARS!