Reform candidates deserve support, regardless of party

There’s no shortage of consternation on the part of our friends in the progressive left over this November’s ballot, and with good reason. It’s quite revealing, as attention is focused on the candidates, issues and groups supporting each one.

This is not a good thing for progressive agendas in areas made up of wage earners and small businesses, people who are aware both of the basics of finance and what’s needed for a stable society. A top-down, we-know-best approach is at odds with the underpinnings of our republic, and locals are educated enough to know that.

That’s why there is suddenly attention focused on school board elections that in the past have been dominated by union and progressive proxies. That situation may be coming to an end.

Partisanship is the cry, but transparency is the real problem for some.

Three of the school board candidates have been endorsed and supported by conservatives and Republicans and have identified with their principles. Interestingly enough, most of those crying partisanship over these facts seem to be endorsing in lockstep three of the other candidates who are mostly identified with the teachers’ union.

If candidates identifying as conservatives or, God forbid, Republicans are such a problem, it seems the voters will deal with that appropriately.

Of course, that’s not the real problem. The larger issue is that if candidates identify with a political party or philosophy, it will force opposing candidates to identify their party or ideology, even if by default.

A great amount of hay has been made about the three conservative candidates receiving donations from a Douglas County businessman who is connected to a Republican consulting firm that could be used by the candidates. Much tut-tutting has been conducted over the possibility of some kind of unknowable influence that might be generated by this donation. Pretty thin, but here’s a scenario that might be a little more alarming.

Imagine a situation where public employees have a portion of their salary collected by the school district and deposited with a private third-party entity, whose main business is to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of itself and ostensibly its members with that same school district. Now imagine, and this is clearly silly, that same public union would be allowed to give those recycled tax dollars to candidates hoping to occupy the very positions with which the union will be negotiating.

Seems to me if that’s your standard — but you consider only other forms of campaign contributions creating undue influence — then practically anything goes.

I have been told the contract bargained for between the local union, known as the Mesa Valley Education Association, and the school district bears two signatures: the school board president and the union president. I’m going to make a wild guess that there exists a campaign donation check from the union made out to one of those two, with the support of the second person.

So, enough of the cries of partisanship from the people who live in the big glass house. There are reasons even Franklin Delano Roosevelt opposed public unions and this is probably one of them.

It doesn’t mean public employees shouldn’t be allowed to form beneficial organizations, but if they choose to lobby or provide campaign donations, they should forego acting as collective-bargaining units.

Teachers or district employees should not be discouraged from supporting candidates or working for their election. But unions often ride roughshod over the wishes of individual teachers.

Actually, education and the general public would benefit from better-paid teachers and fewer administrative bosses.

This, by the way, would result in some real financial help to those in the classroom.

According to the Friedman Foundation, teacher numbers grew 252 percent nationwide between 1990 and 2009, while administrators and nonteaching staff grew by 702 percent, more than seven times the increase in student numbers.

I think those extra salaries might do some real good for teachers, without raising taxes.

If one really wants to help children, educate them, don’t indoctrinate them. And give them skills that don’t require pictures of hamburgers on cash registers so they can make a living. Any candidate who wants to connect education with real-world needs and not questionable causes is worth considering, no matter what letter is after his or her name.

Rick Wagner writes more on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


COMMENTS

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So let’s not ignore the elephant in the room!  Bottom line is a current board member has embraced the “idea” that a salary schedule must go.  Additionally, teachers in certain disciplines should be paid more because those subject matters are “more” important? And regardless of where candidates get money it is okay that the ideology of some that is directly in conflict with general public education ideology should go forth without a hint of discontent from those employed to teach the masses?  All of this under the guise of reform? How bout buying some beachfront property I have for you just down the road?  You can even have an “R” behind your name!

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