When union teachers went on strike in Waukegan we supported them by being on their side. Where was Peter Cunningham?
I was following a Twitter exchange between my brother and former DOE spokesman and current corporate education reformer, Peter Cunningham. It was mainly over Cunningham’s – and his former boss, Arne Duncan – corporate ed reform policies.
Some people think we shouldn’t bother getting into it with Cunningham. But I think it is worth it. He’s really the perfect foil. Plus, he has lots to answer for.
The thing is that if you’re going to get into a battle of wits with my brother, it is good to bring some wits.
Of all the nonsense, this tweet jumped out at me:
— Peter Cunningham (@PCunningham57) September 13, 2016
See, I have been a teacher union member for over 30 years. And I think they need change. Even in retirement, when teachers are on strike, I walk the line in support. And just ask the union leadership if I want change. They get queazy.
But I have nothing in common with Cunningham and Duncan.
Have they ever sided with the teachers in a contract dispute? To me, that’s what supporting unions means.
Y’know. Which side are you on?
I have a long memory.
I remember 2010 when President Obama, Duncan – and presumably Cunningham – supported the mass firings of 1000 union teachers in Central Falls, Rhode Island.
Those union teachers had the nerve to teach in one of Rhode Island’s poorest schools where test scores are the most problematic. Obama’s education secretary Duncan had instituted a policy of retaining teachers based on the test scores of their students if states wanted to get federal education dollars.
Firing 1000 teachers was the answer to what question?
How was that supporting unions? What change in the union did this produce?
New Orleans. 2010.
The public school system was dismantled and replaced by the nations first complete system of charter schools. Every union teacher was fired. Obama and Duncan – and presumably Cunningham – loved it.
Duncan famously praised Hurricane Katrina for providing the disaster that allowed for the destruction of the teachers’ union and New Orleans public schools.
Please, Peter Cunningham. Stop supporting unions while wanting to change them. It is tough enough already for those inside of teacher unions and who are fighting for real democratic change.