Laurene Powell Jobs aligns against teachers unions; backs education reform, charter schools, vouchers

“Wealthy Democrats, including Los Angeles home developer Eli Broad and New York investment fund managers Whitney Tilson and John Petry, have found common cause with Republicans in a push to apply principles of the corporate world, including free-market competition, to public education,” Stephanie Simon reports for Reuters. “With teachers unions bitterly opposed to such measures, Democrats in the movement say they must break their party’s ties to the unions if they’re ever to make progress.”

“So they are offering an alternative to the union dollars, spending freely to back fellow Democrats willing to buck the unions and advance their agenda,” Simon reports. “‘Education reform is really a fight for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party,’ said Derrell Bradford, who runs a political group in New Jersey that recently helped elect two union-defying Democrats to the state legislature.”

“The reform movement’s goals include shutting down low-performing public schools; weakening or eliminating teacher tenure; and expanding charter schools, which are publicly funded but often run by private-sector managers, some of them for-profit companies,” Simon reports. “Wealthy Democrats have joined Republicans in pouring millions into political campaigns, lobbying and community organizing to try to advance these goals nationwide. They can count on their side several influential Democratic mayors, including Newark’s Cory Booker and Chicago’s Rahm Emanuel.”

“The tug-of-war between the Democratic Party’s two education camps is playing out now in a heated primary race in the 46th State Assembly District, a sprawl of suburbs outside Los Angeles,” Simon reports. “From a field of five Democrats, teachers unions have backed Andrew Lachman, an adjunct professor of business law at Woodbury University. The California Teachers Association gave him $7,800 directly, campaign records show – and spent more than $130,000 on ads tearing down one of his opponents, Brian Johnson.”

“Johnson, who until recently ran a network of charter schools in Los Angeles, has the full support of the charter industry and the education reform community,” Simon reports. “Contributions from investors, philanthropists and Silicon Valley executives, including Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings and Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, have flooded into Johnson’s campaign. Independent groups funded by an overlapping network of donors have blanketed the district with mailers backing him.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Laurene Powell Jobs helps change lives, too – October 7, 2011
A clearer picture of Steve Jobs’ thoughts on public education and teacher unions – February 21, 2007
Steve Jobs & Rush Limbaugh agree: U.S. public schools are ‘unionized in the worst possible way’ – February 20, 2007
Apple CEO blasts teacher unions, says US schools are ‘unionized in the worst possible way’ – February 16, 2007


    1. thanks for your over generalization.

      > Vouchers are the solution.

      Yah, because 3rd party contractors always do a “heck of a job”.

      Quit thinking in such simpleton ways.

      The answer lies somewhere in between. (that’s called a nuanced answer. Try one of those at your next tea party meetings and see how well that goes over.)

      1. So caring about children = tea party?

        First you don’t care about children at all, so I do not see what you can contribute to this discussion.

        Second the people in this article are all democrats. Oops there goes your argument. Nice try.

        1. Unions and LIbTards are 100% of the problem. They are trying to brain wash our nations children into being good little, brown shirt, commies. Period.

        2. Got any facts? No, you don’t. You reTARDican. Go back to watching faux “news”. The liberals want to increase spending on education so that all of our children can get one!
          All of your politicians are bought by big corp. none of them stick with what they truly believe. Go get a brain.

        3. Hey Itch,

          Bull Shit. Liberals don’t care about anything but destroying greatness, stealing private property, destroying family values, destroying religion, destroying the US constitution, bringing down the quality of living, destroying free speech, destroying capitalism-free market, banning right to grow your own food, and being full blown RACISTS! You PMSNBC watching Lemming-Troll!

        4. Okay here we go… “destroying greatness,” What greatness the US has been a shit hole for years. Ever since you got into these bullshit wars. “Stealing private property,” You know because we obviously go onto peoples property and take their BBQ. “Destroying family values,” Care to name a few? “Destroying religion,” You do know that the USA isn’t centred around religion and should stay that way. The USA is multicultural. And by the way, Jesus was liberal. He wanted to help everyone, if he saw what you “conservatives” are doing now, he’d be appalled. “Destroying the US constitution,” Ummm… WTF are you smoking. “Bringing down the quality of life,” In fact we want the exact opposite. We want to have a balanced playing field so that the poor actually have a chance to have a successful life. We do nothing that harms anyone. We want to tax the rich because they obviously do not need as much money as they do, and then help the bottom bracket and bring them up in the world. “Destroying free speech,” Ya, because we are the one’s that want to basically destroy the internet with PIPA and SOPA. “Destroying Free Markets” I have nothing against free market as long as there are reasonable regulations and when someone does something illegal they are prosecuted (IE THE BANKS!). “Banning right to grow your own food,” Where the fuck are you getting this shit. Up your ass? “And being full-blown racists,” Ya, because we were the birthers and are the ones that think all black people are poor and don’t deserve rights. Go look at your fox news and actually listen to how racist they are. You are creating such BULLSHIT, it sad that you actually believe it. “You PMSNBC Watching Lemming-Troll,” First I do not PMS as I am not a women. Two I do not watch NBC, all the US news sources are bullshit and biased. Three I am not a lemming. I want what is best for everyone not a fucking communism. Fourth, Troll? I am not trolling, I am stating the obvious. Go back to your “Faux ‘News'” you reTARDican!

        5. With all due respect “Mitch,” you don’t know jack shit about the United States or the issues we face in education. I’m assuming from the tone of your note you’re not American.

          First of all, for the money we spend on education, we could probably buy most other countries, I understand most in the European Union are going at a bargain these days so we’d probably have some change left over.

          Our Universities LEAD the world. We freaking educate the world. The greatest foreign born scholars compete to study here. More international patents are still filed by American Universities than anywhere else in the world. According to the BBC, the we lead in world “reputation” rankings.

          In K-12 we educate more children than anywhere else in the world. In this area we have massive issues, not the least of which is that we pay teachers too little (that’s right) too little. This makes them fertile ground for UNION exploitation. If we paid teachers properly, we’d attract higher class educators who might have gone into the private sector. These people are not inclined to join unions. They are accustomed to competing and proving their worth. They are typically proud individual performers, and not the type who hide behind corrupt collectives to get what they want. These are the types of folks who would welcome systems of determining which teachers are better than others.

          Any attempt to ferret out bad teachers now is typically squashed by unions. You wind up with a large numbers of mediocre teachers.

          In addition, we are a massively heterogeneous culture. At any one time 30 to 40 different languages are spoken by children in the Los Angeles City School District. In this area we’ve also failed and it has nothing to do with money. We try to be “multiculturalists.” Instead of immersing children in English, from the moment they get into school, we try to “respect” their culture and do things like “bi-lingual” education. The comical thing is that parents of immigrant children are often appalled. They want their children to be immersed in English and the culture of the United States. They can get the other stuff at home!

          Like it or not, there are basic skills that every child needs to survive in society and any attempt to elevate those skills above any others is met with harsh criticism by, you guessed it, teachers unions. Those skills can be tested for. Can a child read, write, communicate effectively, and do simple arithmetic. It’s not evil to seek to make sure those skills are there, yet the teacher’s act as if you tried to sacrifice the children to the alter of rational thought or something.

          Due to illegal immigration, in Los Angeles, all of our 7.3 billion dollars pretty much goes to educate the children of Mexico. 73% of our children in the school district are Hispanic. 11% are African American. Adding billions upon billions will not bring the dwindling white population’s children back to the district. It is viewed, notwithstanding the budget, as one of the worst in the nation. On top of that, enrollment is declining. It peaked at 747,000 in 2004, and is in the upper 600s now.

          600,000 students in just one American school district, and probably the majority of them don’t speak English.

          We spend, spend, spend and ignore the glaring problems in front of us. We just built a new school for over half a billion dollars. One freaking school.

          So parents who can have taken their children out of public school and are putting them into private schools and paying $12,000 – $20,000 per year for K-12 education! But at least they know when their kids come out of school, they will be prepared. This is not just rich people either. I have several friends with kids in private school and those tuition numbers hurt. I’ve personally financially assisted more then one when tuition comes due. Those schools will toss you out if you don’t make your tuition because there’s usually a waiting list.

          In California 30% of every dollar collected in taxes goes to education. It is the single biggest chunk of our pie chart, just above government entitlement services.

          So you just don’t know what the hell you’re talking about and I think we Americans would appreciate it if you just kept your comments on such matters to yourself. You don’t need to call people names, I know this is a typical leftist tactic when they are missing facts and figures (which seems to be pretty much always), but name calling and hate speech are unnecessary here.

        6. @Thelonious Mac I do realize that there are many problems but the teachers salary is one of them. “So you just don’t know what the hell you’re talking about and I think we Americans would appreciate it if you just kept your comments on such matters to yourself. You don’t need to call people names, I know this is a typical leftist tactic when they are missing facts and figures (which seems to be pretty much always), but name calling and hate speech are unnecessary here.” I really respect you, I really do. But saying that I do not need to call people names is not a liberal tactic in fact it is largely used by conservatives. Look at Fox “News” when they talk about Obama, they call him a communist, a dictator, And almost never bring any facts to the table and when they do they twist them. Even the Republicans on this forum (Other than you) use this tactic. Look at Uncle Sam who I was replying to. “And being full blown RACISTS! You PMSNBC watching Lemming-Troll,” That isn’t name calling, he didn’t state any facts. What about Yori down below your comment a bit “You freaking Lemmings.” No facts once again. First 2010, Then 2012 The U.S. will once again take its rightful place among the top educational systems of the world.” I don’t think you were ever on top of the educational systems. The US Politcal System is FUCKED. You need to get money out of government. Then things like this can get fixed. The educational system is nothing without a properly functioning government. Again all do respect, but what you said is wrong (what I quoted). I would also like you to look up

          They are the Media sight I listen to. And they present facts in almost any video regarding government.

        7. Thelonious Mac,

          You are awesome. I don’t know why you waste your time trying to explain anything to these Lemming-Trolls.

          They don’t listen, they can’t absorb reality. They are Zombie-Troll-Lemmings!

          The middle of the road folks are reachable on occasion.

        8. You are an evil piece of shit. It is ignorant snotty, assholes like you who cause all the destruction in the world. You really should swallow the barrel of a pistol and improve the planet by removing yourself from it.

        9. Yo “Uncle Sam”
          1-Why don’t you come out of the closet and register ONE name instead of hiding behind revolving names.
          2-Instead of ad hominem, try a few substantiated facts.
          3-Ban the exclamation points!

        10. 1-Come out of the closet and register your name instead of hiding behind revolving names.
          2-Instead of ad hominem, try a few substantiated facts.

        11. [video src="" /]

        12. We’ve spent enough on “education” to pave these campuses in gold. Politicians make us feel guilty about not supporting “the children” to get to our wallet/purse. Too much of the money is wasted, goes to unfunded pension plans, etc. We spend more than other countries but are nowhere near the top, because we don’t TEACH properly. We need to do a total RESET.

        13. Correction you have spent enough on “Defence” to pave the whole continent in gold. You spend almost nothing on education and you still want to cut it. I agree that you don’t teach properly, but why not just route out the bad teachers and not reset the whole system? If you do the rest of the generation will be fucking retards. The teachers are one of the most underpaid people for the impact they have on society. 20k – 60k a year. 60k if you are lucky. These people are the ones that teach our youth and are the ones responsible for how they turn out. Cutting their pay checks isn’t going to fix the problem.

        14. @Karen
          It’s to late for you. You are a brainwashed imbecile that already lives in a hellhole that are you fighting and continuing to destroy.

        15. First of all, Mitch, name calling someone with an alternate viewpoint simply weakens your claim at a point.

          That said, I wish it were true that Liberals want to spend more on education. The sad truth is they want more money going to.. Not education but a particular brand of public education controller by teachers unions.

          That is completely not a 1 to 1 equivalence.

          Education means you want kids to learn and to have the best tools and environment possible, teachers unions stand in the way of that happening, and liberals who support then doing that put ideology in front of the well being of children which is both disgusting and sad.

          That’s what Steve Jobs opposed.

        16. Okay. I agree with you. But why get rid of them? Why can’t we impose regulations for the unions that say that a third party organization follow a set of government requirements to make sure the teachers are good teachers. If that happens the Unions can’t keep these teachers and still do what they are supposed to do, which is make sure they are treated fairly.

          Doesn’t that sound better than completely abolishing them?

        17. I am not sold on Unions, especially public employee unions, and I will tell you why.

          First off, I am in favor of workers having rights, so that is not it. But what I have a problem with is the idea that a group of people can get whatever rights they want by forming up a group (a union) and then telling another group (politicians) to give them rights and goodies, and then tell a 3rd group (the tax payers) that they have to pay for it all. It’s not a problem that public employees get paid money, it’s a problem that the people who are paying the bill have no direct say so.

          Unlike private corporations, if employees ask for too much, the company goes out of business and employees lose their jobs (theoretically, did not happen with GM). But then if the same thing happens on a state level there is no accountability. State workers can make as much money as politicians decide to pay them, and the politicians get a kick back from the pay raises in the form on campaign contributions. It’s a feedback loop, and a form of crony socialism.

          Then what happens is overburdened tax payers flee the state, and they have in California. The very socialistic legislature has for the past decade seen the first exodus of people from the state in its history. We are talking about small business owners, entrepreneurs, and other people who drive the economy have left en masse. This is a serious problem.

          The current state budget crisis in California is primarily caused by excessive public unions compensation, and a huge and expensive population of illegal immigrants from Mexico.

          I’m not saying that all unions need to be abolished, but I’m simply not sold on the concept of public worker unions. I’m not sure what the best method to ensure public employees are treated fairly is but I’m not sold that unions are the answer, and clearly the current system is inherently corrupt, and probably unfixable.

        18. “I am not sold on Unions, especially public employee unions, and I will tell you why.

          First off, I am in favor of workers having rights, so that is not it. But what I have a problem with is the idea that a group of people can get whatever rights they want by forming up a group (a union) and then telling another group (politicians) to give them rights and goodies, and then tell a 3rd group (the tax payers) that they have to pay for it all.” You perfectly described the banks.

        19. Oh please. The teachers union is all about one thing……………money. They support school board members who will pass pay raises and continue the Cadilac benefits for teachers. Running for a school board position
          without the teachers union’s support is nearly impossible. They funnel money to school board
          candidates. It’s all about
          money. It has nothing to do
          with “the children”. Teachers work 8 1/2
          months and have better
          benefits and retirement
          than the private sector.
          Unbelievable! I know because my dad became a teacher after 30 years as an electrician. He said it was like retirement. He said he couldn’t believe how crooked the teachers union is! And how spoiled teachers are. Bitching all the time when they never had to really work a day in their life. He was embarrassed for the slugs. And it’s worse today.

        20. I know of no other profession where people are paid and equipped so poorly, managed so ineffectively, and treated like cattle than K-12 education. Every Minister without Portfolio and wannabe do gooder feels free to attack and meddle in the public schools without personal consequence. The children are the victims.

          We as a nation need education reform, but unfortunately there’s money in public education budgets and there is a long list of people who would love to give your child a shitty education at a profit. There are also ineffective teacher’s unions that do not put education first and serve good teachers poorly.

          Next, we have too many broken homes populated by people unwilling or unable to prepare their children for school. Home and neighborhood environment are the most consistent predictor or classroom performance. No teacher can change the fact that a kid comes poorly rested and nourished from a violent and dysfunctional home that does not value education.

          Teachers need to be paid better, given more professional latitude and held more accountable. The world is full of former teachers who got tired of working long hours for minimal pay and a meddlesome working environment.

        21. “No teacher can change the fact that a kid comes poorly rested and nourished from a violent and dysfunctional home that does not value education.”

          Those facts are going to harm a students ability to learn, but I do believe that teachers can make an impact on all children, including ones who have these problems or other similar ones.

        22. Yes, we have all had transformative teachers, but the race from K-12 is a marathon and the wearing effects of environment drag many away.

          I think the number that do survive to thrive is, in part, a testament to the many great teachers who stay despite the problems and impact lives.

        23. Nope, a product of Fox (not the) News.

          I gits me dyeploma at Walmart School. On the job traneing, I eat candy and drink Coca Cola whyle I learn ta put them black lyney tings over the red lite thangy.

          Yeah, corporate training paid for by corporate welfare. Lick them lead toys made by (we pay to the lowest bidder) Mattel.

        24. I actually think Rachel Maddow is Brilliant. I see a lot of people complain about her, but I’d like to know what part of her reporting is inaccurate. Can somebody tell me? Does she report things that aren’t true, if so, what?

        25. You tell ’em, Yori! Everybody knows the Nazi brownshirts were the bestest of friends with the commies.

          God, you LibTurd lemmings are so stupid!

        26. As it happens, the nazis and the russian commies got along great until Hitler decided to betray the commies. It was the commies who taught the nazis how to build concentration camps.

          You should see a film called “The Soviet Story”. It’s one of the great tragedies of history that we had to support the commies to beat the nazis.


        27. That is why we group them all under the same umbrella these days. They all stand for the same thing. Anti – Freedom.

          Go to Hell Libtards!!!!!!!

        28. @wellington
          It is sad how brainwashed you numb nuts are. Liberals aren’t fighting to destroy freedom. We are not communist’s, if we were you would live in a communist country.

        29. Actually ITCH:

          It pathetic how programmed your -Lemming Brain is it you foreign Socialist-Commie-Troll.

          Notice ITCH never says what shit hole country it SLITHERS in…..

        30. You do realiza 85% of the people in college are Democratic, right? Of course you didn’t. And now you are going to come up with some bullshit excuse.

        31. @Patrick Henry
          I live in Canada. We are doing a hell of a lot better than your shit country. The “American Dream” doesn’t exist anymore. The wealth is huddled at the top and the government is run by the corporations. You do realize you are calling 85% of the people in college in your country “Lemming Brain is it you foreign Socialist-Commie-Troll,” GO BACK TO BULLSHIT EXCUSE OF A COUNTRY.

        32. Hey,

          That’s Bull Shit that 80% of people in college are libTards. They sure are assaulted with attempted brain washing by your kind all the way through the public school system. Once they get to college and get a little freedom they start to figure things out more.

          Especially if they are paying for things on their own.

          Canada is a third world, terrorist loving, terrorist haven. You socialist scum constantly try to destroy all that is good.

          The Tea Party will never give up. Conservatives are the majority and we will landslide your Comrade, Maobama at the voting booths. You piece of garbage.

        33. No, some are Democrats and some are Republicans registered as Democrats. We call them DINOs- Democrats In Name Only. One happens to be in the White House.

          Obama is a moderate Republican DINO.

      2. I’m a liberal, and I think the education system needs these kinds of significant reforms.

        Growing up I had great teachers, and terrible teachers. I never understood why there were both kinds. Why not get rid of the bad ones?

        Can’t we at least use some of the more effective business tools for such a good cause? (attracting & motivating good teachers using salaries matched to skill & performance, using firings to weed out the losers).

      3. Yah, because 3rd party contractors always do a “heck of a job”.

        The key point that you’re missing is that competition will remove those who suck. This is not the case with a government monopoly.

        Quit thinking in such simpleton ways.

        That’s advice you would do well to follow.


      4. I agree that not all 3 party contractors do a “heck of a job” and in general I like the idea that you can pick your own school, in reality, that won’t be true. How many schools can be in your neighborhood. What if you don’t like your school and want to take advantage of the “free market” to send your kid to a different school. Who pays for the bus?

        What if the next better school is too far away. The reality is that once schools become independent we will still be stuck with whatever school we got except this time nobody is regulating. For all the people in favor of vouchers, be careful what you wish for, you just may end up with a school down your street owned and operated by a guy who wants to maximize his profits and fires all the good teachers to save a buck, and you are stuck with no other options. –unless you are OK, having your kids on a bus 3 hours a day.


        If a poor family’s kid’s public school closes, how the hell are they going afford a $25,000 a year private school with $5,000 voucher?? Really?! This is a scam to privatize the school system and give yet more $$$ to 1% who don’t need it. Wake up!

    2. B.S. public schools work fine in the suburbs…nearly 90% of our HS graduates go to college and graduate…..the problem is greater than unions. This right-wing propaganda to destroy labor unions is getting tiresome.

      1. Unions are only a part of the problem, but they are in the way of children and their future.

        You can’t fix the problem of education without dealing with unions. Since they have chosen to align against reforms to help children they must be broken.

        It’s not the fault of children that teachers unions have chosen to become power driven obstructionists that put their interests above the children they serve. Or don’t serve.

        It’s very simple. You either put the well being of children at the very top of your priorities and work your way from there. You figure out what is the most beneficial to kids. When you figure this out then you figure out how to make this happen. Charter schools is just one solution. Home schooling works for others. Vouchers can help, too.

        1. Wrong. Silly rabbit, Vouchers are for rich kids. If your kids public school closes and they give you a $5,000 voucher for a $50,000 a yr charter school, guess who can afford it?

        2. Let’s not bash the Unions too much here. Don’t forget Corporations work in the interest of the shareholders, and Unions work in the interest of the employees. Together they make for a good balance of power. If Unions have too much power wealth moves from the share holders to the people who are doing all the work, and if the Unions have too little power (or none) the profit moves away from the people who do all the work back to the shareholders.

          It seems to me a good balance is the ideal. Absolutely no Unions leads to Monarchies which is what Corporations really are.

        3. Your post makes far too much sense for this forum, ConfusedCountry. In this forum you have to represent an extreme, either LefTard or RighTard. Checks and balances, reason and compromise…these concepts are prohibited.

          It is easy to blame groups or organizations for the problems of the day. It is far more difficult to come up with real, detailed solutions. I would like to see a lot more than “get rid of unions” and “let the private sector/business take care of everything.” The concepts that Government is inherently evil and that the private sector does everything well under a capitalist system is absurd. There are many examples that refute those ideas, just as there are many examples that support them. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in-between.

          If someone tries to sell you an “easy” solution to a difficult problem, then that person is probably either a politician or a profit-seeking company. Neither one has any scruples when it comes to money and power.

        4. Your posts make absolutely no sense. The UNIONS only want to increase their power and destroy the US.

          Zombies like Queen Smell and ConfusedIdiot can’t seem to figure that out!

        5. “The UNIONS only want to increase their power and destroy the US.”

          That’s absurd. If the unions destroy the US how do they have any benefits? Your argument is self negating.

        6. No Itch,

          You parasite, we conservatives are de-briefing the middle of the roaders. You Lemming – Zombies are far too gone to ever be saved. Go To Hell you stupid, ignorant, Ahole.

      2. The problems lie with the principal of the school and the parents. Here in Philadelphia schools are turned around in one year when a principal who doesn’t give a shit is replaced with one who does. Even still, out of 150 students that a high school teacher may have only 2 or 3 parents show up for the parent-teacher conference night.

        1. And getting rid of bad teachers wouldn’t help?

          Principals have no stroke with The Unions. Principals are management and have their hands tied when it comes to axing teachers.

        2. When the new principal comes in he usually does fire the few bad teachers, but more importantly he restores order. No more kids running the hallways, punching teachers, and raping girls in the stairways. And I’m not exaggerating. All that stuff is all too common in Philadelphia. On average, a dozen teachers are hospitalized each year from student assaults – being hit with hammers or attacked by multiple students and kicked unconscious – and those are only the ones who end up being admitted to a hospital. There are usually dozens more assaults that just lead to an ER visit. At one school 5 girls have been raped so far this year. It’s the students and their parents who are the problem – not a few bad teachers.

    3. As others have noted around here when threads turn political, Jean Poole is British yet cannot hold back from condemning US policy and politics. Jean: Please work on the problems of your own British government before you agitate against the perceived ills of the US. In other words, mind your own business.

  1. On the one hand you have government dollar backed unions that are interested in the power of teachers unions and the rights of teachers who harm children, and on the other hand you have people that actually care about children, their education and welfare and future.

    If you really care about children them you are not pro teachers’ union. Lauren Jobs is doing the right thing.

    1. “On the one hand you have government dollar backed unions that are interested in the power of teachers unions and the rights of teachers who harm children”

      Thousands of good, caring teachers are tainted by a few bad teachers. Tea Party idiots hold those few up as proof that Unions don’t work correctly.

      “and on the other hand you have people that actually care about children, their education and welfare and future.”

      The only thing the voucher drones care about is making money off kids.

      “Lauren Jobs is doing the right thing.”

      If Steve Jobs heard her say that, he would have slapped her face.

      1. Wow… You are an idiot in so many ways…

        Steve Jobs voiced his disgust of teacher’s unions and the public education system more than once.

        And I don’t know of you’re just trying to be funny, but to accuse the dead, without merit, of spousal abuse, doesn’t put you in a good light either.

        I’m all for humor, when the time and place is appropriate, but this moment isn’t it.

        If we care about our children, we need to make some changes. It’s that simple.

        …And if our government doesn’t start controlling spending, we should probably start teaching them Chinese!

      2. I don’t know about your experience but the ratio of good to bad teachers in my experience was about 50/50 with a couple of the good teachers rating excellent and a couple of the bad teachers rating criminal under today’s laws.

  2. Eventually we will win on this issue, break the teachers unions, and then America will win. The U.S. will once again take its rightful place among the top educational systems of the world.

    Many bright kids coming out of American schools today are ill-prepared, to be charitable. The system is broken. Kudos to Laurene and everyone who fights the status quo to help America’s future.

    1. “Eventually we will win on this issue, break the teachers unions, and then America will win. The U.S. will once again take its rightful place among the top educational systems of the world.”

      Yeah, just like we became #1 in healthcare – oh, that’s right, we’re what, #17? Bush got at least one thing right – Stupid people are easier to govern (Because they’re easy to lead.)

      1. We are number 1 for people that are in the system. People from all over the world come here to have surgeries done here. The problem is how do you deal with the people outside the system or who have medical insurance that does not cover procedures they need done.

        One solution is to scrap what we have and copy someone else. There are some benefits to that and some major drawbacks. Americans don’t want what we have thrown out, they want the problems in our current system fixed.

      2. The number is 37, right behind Costa Rica. And we spend more Government health care $ per person than most countries spend in total. Plus we spend that much again in private 4$ and we still don’t cover about 10% of the population. The most significant difference is that the American system is operated at a profit and any strategy that increases profits is a good one (like excluding expensive to treat people).

        I shudder to think what happens when we apply the profit motive to the education system. Will the first step be to exclude expensive (or difficult) to teach students? The thing about public education is that it is available to all. It may not be as good as it should be, but laying the problems all at the feet of the teachers unions smacks of a different goal than fixing education.

        1. The current system already is failing many of the “difficult to teach students” nothing new there.

          So what is your solution?

          Mine is to get teachers unions out of the way and really look at the problem and have an open mind to try things and see what works and do that. I feel the solution is likely a combination of different ideas.

        2. That is the different goal I was alluding to: get the unions out of the way. Just riding on the backs of children to accomplish it. For shame!

          The root cause of an underperforming school or school system is underperforming parents. Not teachers, not collective bargaining, not money. When the parents demand an education, their children will get an education. When the parents expect a sports program, their children get a sports program. Unfortunately, we have too many optimist parents, who think THEIR kid is the one who will make it in the NBA, NFL or MLB, if he just gets enough playing time for the scouts to see him. And we have too few schools that see their task as nurturing the minds of each student. My own child switched into a middle school that only allowed honor students to participate in the science fair. How lame is that?(He was, but the point is that 11 years old is too early to be washed up as a potential scientist or engineer.) Frankly, I don’t know how to fix the American fascination with inarticulate worship of mediocracy, but when a kids mother shows up at a parent-teacher conference wearing a t-shirt that reads “Men are like snow, the only thing that matters is how many inches” I suspect the basic problem is outside the classroom.

  3. Kudos to Lauren Jobs and her fellow Democrats. America has lost its competitive edge in education. Allowing the free market to provide better schools for less is the solution. I’m not sure how long it would take before ‘big government’ stepped in with regulations galore, but reform is a start.

    It’s also refreshing to see a group of Dems embracing a conservative philosophy. What’s next? A balanced budget? Less government spending? Lower taxes? A strong military? NASA? ;0)

  4. 16 attempts later… This site (17th attempt) is so hard to use on an iPad: continual screen refresh as the page keeps loading ads makes the keyboard keep disappearing!

    As with every problem facing the US there are no easy answers here. A new approach is needed, and all parties need to work together to achieve it. Grading teachers doesn’t always work – measuring performance is tricky and in some cases the performance methods discriminate against the best teachers. But poor teachers need to be retrained or removed. However, this is of no use if they are replaced by equally poor, or worse teachers. Neither side has this right. A new approach is required, and more teachers, better paid, and properly measured would be a good start, while taking account of family environment of the students is also necessary: the best teachers can’t teach if the students aren’t well fed, well slept and motivated…

  5. One of the easiest things to do in this debate is to look at places where this has been done before. Here in Alberta charter schools thrive. The influence of unions is relatively minor although they do play a role if the pendulum swings too far and class sizes go crazy etc. But they certainly don’t dictate policy. Have a look for yourselves, learn and decide. CA is a troubled state to begin with and you don’t need unions dragging you down. The socialist mentality is killing you – just like the EU- and has for decades. The price will be exacted some day.

    1. I think CA is a lot like Greece, it’s a lovely client and full of wonderful people, with a broken and disfunctional socialistic government, and government employee unions that have too much power and take too much money from the rest of the people in the state.

  6. I think it’s good for a party to reevaluate its positions on occasion.
    It helps to reinforce their beliefs, or change them for the better.

    The Republicans definitely need to do this on spending (which, thanks to the Tea Party, they are).

  7. The public education system is broken.

    My kids learn enough at home that by the time my oldest started school he was already reading, knew his number, colors, etc, and was starting to learn math.

    While his schoolmates were learning the alphabet (I taught my kids to sing it *backwards* before they ever started school!), my son was learning nothing at school.

    There are not enough teachers in public school, and here in California, there are way too many students whose families don’t speak any English, and there isn’t time to spend with each student, to advance them at their own level.

    We pulled him from public school, and now they all three go to a combination charter school/home school.

    They are all well ahead of their grade levels, and my oldest (now nine) has been accepted into a college-level summer program, for high scool and college credits.

    The same tax money pays for their schooling, but it is better managed.

    The teacher’s unions are there for the benefit of the teachers. We need some business leaders in the education system who can make sense of it all.

    If we, as a people, would take personal accountability, actually TEACH our own children, and support methods that allow schools to do the same, and if our teachers were held to that same standard, this country would be much better off.

    I support public education reform, and anyone who cares about our future should too.

  8. The state of Florida recently lowered the passing grades of students to allow government run schools to pass the minimum standards of education. It is apparent that when the government run schools fail to achieve minimal performance goals it is more expedient to graduate the dimwits rather than solve the problem of poor performance. Of course, these unemployable morons, when released from the state operated education system, will be smart enough to que up for food stamps and other taxpayer funded social programs.

    Don’t imagine that increased taxes and spending is the answer. There is no correlation of greater spending on education with increased capacity of students to think, reason, and perform as a functional, literate citizen. And, given Florida’s actions, one cannot rely absolutely on “performance” or “achievement standards” established by the state for propaganda.

  9. Education always gets the short straw as far as funding is concerned. Here in CA the state schools are talking of have 4 day weeks due to budget shortfalls.
    Charter schools may be a solution for a minority of parents but they don’t address the problems of educating the whole school age population.
    Reform is definitely needed but so is a greater emphasis in funding.
    This is important because a better educated workforce can generate more innovations to help the us take the lead in technology advancements.

    1. The fact that other states can fully fund their education systems while California cannot is evidence enough that California’s education system is awash with waste and inefficiency. Funny that inspite of the billions of dollars spent by California over the decades that no one aparently was made smart enough to resolve the rolling disaster called the California education system.

      1. CA is screwed up because it’s *too* democratic. You have voters demanding more services, or keep services that are getting more expensive, but residents usually (always?) get a vote on any tax increases. Which of course they almost always vote against–hell it looks like they’ll vote against a $1 tax increase on cigarettes in a couple of weeks.

  10. Kudos to Laureen (and the others) for Stepping up. I know that Steve was deeply disturbed about the state of education in the US and the role that the teachers unions have played in it. (and was not shy about saying so when he was alive)
    Wrong is wrong. The US education system is clearly broken and the teachers union has caused some of the worst problems in the system. (and I strongly differentiate here between “teachers” and “the teachers unions”) Shame on the “lockstep liberals” who are not willing to call it as it is.

  11. Complex problems require nuanced solutions. It’s fast easier to get rid of teachers than you think. That goes for administrators also. You’re brainwashed by the tv. If schools were only asked to educate children you would be surprised at the result.

    1. It seems the goal of most liberal socialists is to teach children what to think rather than how to think. Once having produced mind-numbed robots that can only parrot the socialist propaganda then it quite apparent that the end result is a functional incompetent trained to que up for government handouts.

      1. You can pay a Navy SEAL or Army Ranger the usual government rate or, after they resign or complete their term of service, pay them ten times as much. I don’t see any cost savings here. Still, if states could fire incompetent workers as easily as the armed forces can dismiss failing soldiers, sailors, and airmen then we might have a chance of improving the education system.

  12. “The teacher’s unions are there for the benefit of the teachers. We need some business leaders in the education system who can make sense of it all.”

    The teachers union is there to benefit the teachers union. Those that actually care about children and who want to teach them in the best way possible are not represented by the teachers union. Not being able to get rid of bad teachers or teachers who hurt or abuse children is just one example of what a disgusting mess the teachers union has made of the school system.

  13. The public education system is broken.

    Well… who broke it? I went to public schools thru High School, then to a state university, and I did pretty well. What is so different now, than then? Could it be an over reliance on passing the test, and not on teaching these days?

    Look, I’m not saying public education will continue to be the answer, but as a Tax Payer, here’s what I do not want and will not stand for:

    1. Children being indoctrinated by religious schools, paid for with public money. Regardless of what you crazy people want, this isn’t a country founded on ANY religion, and that includes yours… so forget sending your kids to your God School with MY MONEY!

    2. Accountability for everyone. While teachers must accept some degree of accountability for the job they do, they are not the only one involved with children’s education. Take the absolutely best teacher in the whole country, and plop them into any 7th grade classroom where parents don’t care about their own kids, and I promise their students will FAIL. If you want to make teachers accountable, you’ve also got to somehow make sure that parents share in that accountability as well. Just because a teacher is failing isn’t necessarily all the fault of the teacher.

    3. As a single, unmarried, and childless adult, if you want to take this stupid “voucher” argument to the extreme, fine, go ahead. But count my tax dollars out. Find a way for the people who make children to pay for their children’s education.

    1. Your money? I think that the parents that receive vouchers to send their children to the school of THEIR choice are spending THEIR money that the state originally collected. Remember that the state doesn’t get the vast percentage of its funding from offering sales and services, it takes it from the citizen in the form of taxes and fees; and under the threat of fines, imprisonment, and liens. So no, it never was your money to begin with you greedy bastard.

  14. No one else is guaranteed to keep their jobs regardless of how lousy they are at it, why should a critical job like teaching be the exception? I recall the boring, unmotivated tenured teachers when I went to high school. How they wasted our time. It made for a long boring unproductive class. I went to the guidance counselor, described the problem all the kids knew, and said if I got that teacher again, I’d drop the class (and I was one of the top students in that major). I got a different teacher, but nothing was done about the lousy teacher, she had her “insurance” of tenure.
    I might add one of my double majors was in education, teaching that subject.

  15. Hate to break it to you all who know so much, but most of the studies show that charter schools and voucher programs do no better than regular public schools. And there is no negative correlation between Unions and student success. But don’t let the facts get in the way of your little ideas: carry on.

    1. Well then, why don’t you reveal your unbiased, independent, and intellectually honest references for the true reasons why government-run school systems are graduating more and more illiterate and incompetent students.

  16. Here is how the article started. MDN, you are a clown and would have enjoyed an important place on the editorial Board of Pravda.

    “The email did not mince words. It came from an officer at a California teachers union, and he was irate.

    President Barack Obama’s re-election team had just hired as a spokeswoman a veteran Democratic operative who had spent the last year at a nonprofit, pushing education policies that the union did not like.

    The union had endorsed Obama. But Jeffrey Freitas, secretary of the California Federation of Teachers, wanted to make clear this woman’s hiring threatened that alliance. If Obama’s team thought teachers would help the campaign after this hire, “then they are seriously wrong,” he wrote. As long as she was in her post, he wrote, “we may not be able to participate.”

    The threat, which the Obama campaign would not discuss, laid bare a simmering tension within the Democratic Party.

  17. Look, there is no need to fight about this. The problem will take care of itself.

    1. The over-hyped loser at 1600 Penn Ave will be backing a U-Haul up to the White House this coming January. Whew! That was a costly failed experiment.

    2. Scott Walker will not be recalled in WI. That will put the teachers unions backs against the wall nationwide. Many other states will do exactly what Scott Walker did. It will be fun to watch.

    3. The Republicans take the Senate and gain even more seats in the House. Romney will easily undo Obamacare. However it is likely he will not have much to undo when the Supreme Court strikes all or part of that mess down.

    4. I (and millions of other sane people) sit back and watch all of this with a warm smile on our faces. Gosh, nothing is better than a bunch of libs/socialists absolutely beside themselves with nothing to do but drive their Volvos, Subarus, Volts off a cliff.

    It is going to be fun to watch!

    1. …I, for one, think myself lucky to drive something—anything—other than an American auto. At least I know my car will start in the morning! =p

      You’re right—there’s no need to fight about this. Because the answer is somewhere between left and right—NOT the “holier than thou” stance that you’ve taken. (which, I might add, is the same as those taken by extremists of both parties).

  18. 1. Norway and Korea top performing countries are highly unionized.
    2. Charter schools select students public schools do not.
    3. In our school district it is assumed everyone is going to college, other countries divide students into careers long before they get to high school.
    4.Schools are not a profit making business.
    You want to fix education stop social promotions (students never having passed a course get passed on to high school), bring back vocational training, give schools more power to get rid of problem students (chronic drug use, absences)
    Hold parents accountable for their students actions
    (make them pay a fee for a class that they have to retake)

  19. I swore I’d never return to these dick-rich forums but, like a fool, just can’t seem to stay away.

    As one who’s married to a teacher who works with kids everyone else has given up on and gets results, I know how hard she works but how much she loves that what she does makes a REAL difference, both to the kids and their community. How many of you can say that?

    Oh, and you fine Christian folk would still be working for Chinese wages if your grandfathers hadn’t unionised. Be grateful to them and shut your whining.

    1. Off all summer. Off a week at Christmas. Off a week in the spring. Never work holidays. Work in air conditioning. Never work second shift.Third shift. Clean working environment. Do not work the all 8 hours while at school. Never work in dangerous situations. I’m an electrician. I work long hard days. 8-20 hour shifts are common. All shifts. I’m on call weeks at a time 24/7. My job is hot,cold,dirty and dangerous so I know what I’m talking about. My dad was an electrician for 30 years before he became a teacher. So I know what I’m talking about. He said teaching was like retirement after working in the “real world” as an electrician. Teachers retire at 50 with free health insurance. They cash in unused vacation and SICK DAYS! Sometimes it’s over $125,000.00! Please don’t tell me how hard teachers have it. And yes it’s the teachers union that fucks it all up.

  20. @ Mitch : well knucklehead at least we broke away from the British Empire. And we can defend ourselves without your help. You can’t say either. Besides what would someone from a socialist country know about a democracy? Canada, nice place to visit. Stupid looking coins. Why is it that so many of you work in my country? Why do so many of you Canucks come across the border for medical treatment? That socialized medicine not working so well?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.