Why the Union Vote?

via a reader email:

I believe that people can do much more as a group coming together around common causes than is possible to do individually – from unions to religions. But problems arise when people start identifying with the group itself. We give away our individual control in lieu of having someone or something that we think is greater than ourselves make decisions for us. It becomes tribalism.
I’ve really worked at researching the views of the candidates for the school board race. But I have to admit I have not had time to become informed about some of the other races in the April 3 election. Similarly, many people in Madison who don’t have kids in school (that’s most of Madison) aren’t up on the School Board race.
For these reasons I think voters turn to groups such as the teachers union (MTI) or politicians’ endorsements of candidates.
My husband and I are dissatisfied with the current situation for students in MMSD. There are long standing problems with finances, and growing problems with school behavior and education. Probably all of us know at least one family that’s left the public schools or even Madison because of this. We think it’s time for change.

We are choosing based on whether a candidate is in touch with the problems and has new, sensible, objective ideas. We would avoid a candidate that would just be a mouth piece for a group as some on the current board appear to be. There really should be no place on the BOE for anyone who represents a group rather than who can evaluate each issue independently.
In my research and interactions with the candidates I’ve learned:

  • Beth Moss is on the steering committee (and her campaign is being run) by MPIE. It seems likely that the group that she represents will have undue influence on the BOE if she is elected.
  • MTI pumps thousands of dollars into the campaigns of candidates who will follow their dictates once elected.
  • School Board members who do not follow the powerful union’s will are punished. Look what happened to Johnny Winston Jr when he chose to have an independent opinion. MTI stripped him of their endorsement for this election and as a result, thousands of campaign dollars and advertising.

While we think teachers unions are important, we realize MTI is not beyond corruption and should not run the BOE even if it was spotless.
My husband, who is an MMSD teacher, believes that the purpose of the School Board is to represent the best interests of the kids. The teachers already have the teachers union to stand up for them – that is definitely not the role of the School Board.
We are voting for independent candidates Maya Cole and Rick Thomas. We think they are in touch with the problems, objective, practical, open minded. I’ve witnessed them both (first hand) to be organized and efficient. They both believe in an administration that is more open to parents and is less heavily top down.
On April 3, please cast your votes for candidates that evaluate issues independently.
A Parent and an MMSD Teacher

One thought on “Why the Union Vote?”

  1. The word on the street is that the main problem is revenue caps. Sorry. For some time now, greed and self-interest have been strong factors. And having sat on a school board, I know firsthand how boards are controlled and orchestrated by administration. On top of that, in places like Madison, it is also seen as legitimate for the board to be like an arm of MTI.
    I see MTI now has radio spots for Passman-Moss that capitalize on parents anger/fear about school closings. I have to hand it to MTI; they are a masterful organization. However, these ads are ironic at best since MTI has no investment in keeping particular schools open, especially if it might slow plans to open new ones.
    Both Moss and Passman, who for all I know are good people, parrot things such as the bogus claim that small class size benefits all children, when there is no empirical support for that blanket statement. We don’t need board members who simply mean well, or who think it is right to vy for the endorsement of the teachers’ unions.

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