Friday, May 4, 2012

#mediaFAIL: Why Can't They See the Obvious?

So Las Vegas Sun columnist J. Patrick Coolican had something to say about this week's CCSD arbitration results. However, what he said really made no sense. Basically, he said that Southern Nevada schools may be underfunded and there may be administration "issues", but it's nonetheless all the teachers' fault that the district is bring forced to lay off at least 1,000 of them. Oh, and who's thinking of the children??!! Certainly not those "big, bad teachers" and their "big, bad, greedy union".

Sorry, but he, along with most of the rest of the media, are missing the point of all of this while they regurgitate Dwight Jones' anti-union talking points. If the arbitrator had found evidence demonstrating that CCSD couldn't fill contractual obligations, he probably would have cut them some slack. However, the real evidence proved otherwise. Was he just supposed to ignore the facts and play Dwight Jones' game of make believe, where the district supposedly can't afford to pay teachers the salary step and education benefits long promised but (until now) never fulfilled, yet it can somehow afford to dump money into tons of iPads and "administrative support staff"? Give me a break!

Oh, and did I mention that teachers had to pay out of their own pockets for college courses that CCSD deemed necessary to qualify for the long promised education benefits? And that CCSD not only wanted to deny teachers future raises, but they even wanted to raid their bank accounts and take away past salary increases? So we were talking about a potential triple whammy where CCSD teachers would have had money taken out of their pockets, future salary increases denied, and all this debt left over from college courses that meant nothing? And media pundits like Coolican wonder why those "greedy teachers" were demanding justice?

Again, the arbitrator found that CCSD could indeed afford to pay teachers what they had earned. And yes, local teachers have had to work overtime and pay out of their own pockets to do their job. So why were they somehow required to roll over and accept the kind of torture that Dwight Jones wanted to subject them to?

And again, why are teachers being blamed for something they have virtually no control over? If we don't like how CCSD is having to choose whether to pay teachers what they earned or buy new iPads, we shouldn't be harping at them. Rather, we should look to the Governor and the Legislature, and ask why they continue to fund public education at suck woefully inadequate levels. Hey, Brian Sandoval is the one saying that the status quo is just fine. Why are the hard working CCSD teachers being attacked for simply asking for what they were long promised instead of Brian Sandoval being held accountable for failing to acknowledge our schools are languishing under the status quo?

If Nevada's media pundits are really worked up over what happened this week, then they need to stop scapegoating the teachers and start recognizing the real problems plaguing CCSD. They should be asking why administration wants to spend money on iPads and extra "administrative support staff" instead of on properly compensating their teachers and abiding by their past contracts. And ultimately, they should be asking why the Legislature and Governor have forced the Nevada AFL-CIO to step up and essentially do their job for them in collecting signatures for long overdue progressive tax reform.

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