Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Duncan on Harris v. Quinn

"Collective bargaining is a fundamental right that helped build America’s middle class. I’ve seen firsthand as Education Secretary that collaborating with unions and their state and local affiliates helps improve outcomes for students. The President and I remain committed to defending collective bargaining rights."

That's not an excerpt. That's the whole thing.

Here's the complete Duncan statement on Vergara.

“For students in California and every other state, equal opportunities for learning must include the equal opportunity to be taught by a great teacher. The students who brought this lawsuit are, unfortunately, just nine out of millions of young people in America who are disadvantaged by laws, practices and systems that fail to identify and support our best teachers and match them with our neediest students. Today’s court decision is a mandate to fix these problems. Together, we must work to increase public confidence in public education. This decision presents an opportunity for a progressive state with a tradition of innovation to build a new framework for the teaching profession that protects students’ rights to equal educational opportunities while providing teachers the support, respect and rewarding careers they deserve. My hope is that today’s decision moves from the courtroom toward a collaborative process in California that is fair, thoughtful, practical and swift. Every state, every school district needs to have that kind of conversation. At the federal level, we are committed to encouraging and supporting that dialogue in partnership with states. At the same time, we all need to continue to address other inequities in education–including school funding, access to quality early childhood programs and school discipline.”

When you slice baloney thinner, it's easier to see through it.

I ignored Duncan's release on Vergara initially because it seemed so transparently not about Vergara, like a spirited tap dance around a mine. Duncan hits everything except the target, finishing on a quick fade to left field. I would think that he either didn't understand the significance of Vergara, or just didn't want to, but his response to Haris v. Quinn shows he can in fact parse these things.

So Arne, perhaps you could go back and take another look at Vergara and ask what it says about collective bargaining and other employment protections as well as teachers' chance to be represented by a union. Or perhaps you'd like to expand your comment on Harris v. Quinn to explain what you think it means to support and defend collective bargaining rights.

I would hate to think that Harris v. Quinn only woke up the administration because it directly affects unions' ability to serve as a fundraising arm of the Democratic party.

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