Winning debates with the Teacher Union

I made my Fox Chicago debut last week, with the interview/segment airing on Sunday Morning. It’s amazing how much coverage you can get by walking through a parking lot, talking to news anchors.

Since I can’t put the video up here, I linked to Heartland’s new blog, Somewhat Reasonable.

UPDATE: Video appears below.

FOX Chicago Sunday: Karen Lewis & Bruno Behrend:

11 thoughts on “Winning debates with the Teacher Union”

  1. Very well done, Bruno. You handled that exceptionally smoothly.

    I read a summary of Madigan’s proposed legislative agenda last week. It demonized teachers and had very little to do with empowering anyone, certainly not parents, except perhaps the Oregon-based equity investors in companies that financially back “Stand for Children” as a front group for setting up a cadre of favored state contractors to “train” public school teachers.

    In other words, to create an educational business model not far removed from how private contracting functions in the defense industry. I expect that is why you distanced yourself somewhat in your comments. The intent of this legislation, as I read it, is a very expensive layer of insider contracting on top of the existing public school system.

    One of the key equity figures on the SFC board was also a huge backer of single payer health care and Obamacare, and for much the same business reasons. You don’t waltz into Illinois out of the blue, as SFC did, and hand out $ 600 k in campaign donations to a handful of key legislators without expecting something in return.

  2. Very good job. I don’t live in Illinois anymore (I live in a state with worse politics, if possible) and I don’t know the dynamics but I still remember my father pointing out that the Illinois Toll Road, then just being planned, twisted and turned all over northern Illinois to pass through every politician-owned parcel of land possible. I understand Denny Hastert was still operating in the same way a couple of years ago. Corruption seems to be the first assumption in Illinois politics while incompetence is the first assumption in California.

  3. Tatyana – Had parents in my school district been empowered, the misandrist teacher who did so much to set my son back would have been cycled out of the profession before my son ever met her. That’s how parent empowerment and tenure intersect.

  4. TMLutas: by listening to Bruno Behrend I understood he means some concrete legally-recognized path for parents, not an “I wish this teacher was fired” complaints. I’d like to hear in detail about his proposal and what “empowerment” translates to, in practical terms.

  5. Tatyana has a point.

    You don’t want a situation where difficult parents try and remove a good teacher with high standards. A certain percentage of parents prefer that teachers praise the less-than-exemplary work of their children. They want their kids to get an “A” no matter what. My bobo inner-ring upper middle-class suburb has a bit of that attitude. A tough grading teacher may not be popular.

    Of course, I haven’t read the legislation and don’t know so perhaps my comments are not pertinent.

    Overall, a great appearance, Bruno. Really impressive. Calm, factual, well-presented.

    – Madhu

  6. Tatanya, OPStreet and all,

    The specific policy Heartland is very interested in right now is called the Parent Trigger. It is law in California, and Heartland produced a brief that analyzed its strengths and weaknesses.

    We wrote up what we thought are good improvements, and we are telling parents, policy makers and everyone else who will listen that this is good idea.

    Please take note that no bill or idea is perfect. The march toward a better ed system starts with re-empowering citizens, and opening up the process to show just how gamed, corrupt, and frankly, unworkable, the current system is.

    Here is a link to the brief. After you read it, take note that there are already many avenues to improve existing law in many states. Here in Illinois, there is a law that allows citizens to a) get a charter approved by the ISBE, and then b) get signatures of 5% of the citizens in a district, and c) put it to referendum. That law can be tweaked into a very powerful “citizen trigger,” which I think is almost stronger than a parent trigger.

    If you see any parent trigger opportunities, or want to start a parent group to agitate for one, contact me at Heartland.

  7. Bruno, the link didn’t register.
    I hoped you would be able to answer my question in a couple of simple sentences (after all, it’s your cause, so you’re the one who has the best and most concise idea of it).
    So far, to one euphemism (“parent empowerment”) you added another (“parent trigger”), with no explanation; sorry, but I lost my interest.

Comments are closed.