Thursday, August 6, 2009

Deeds Chooses Unions Over Children

Is Deeds Running from Obama?

Deeds Nods Head Approvingly as Union Head Bashes Obama School Policies

- VEA Opposes Charter Schools, Teacher Performance Pay in Opposition to Presidential Proposals -

- Backward-Looking Stance Foretells Loss of Millions to Virginia Schools -

RICHMOND - Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins today drew a sharp distinction between President Barack Obama and his party's standard bearer in the Virginia governor's race, Creigh Deeds, on the crucial issue of educational improvements and opportunities for all of Virginia's students. While Obama is a sincere supporter of innovative charter schools and incentive pay for excellent teachers, Deeds has adhered to the union line of doing business as usual at the expense of children who might otherwise have better choices for public schools.

"This is actually fairly shocking that Creigh Deeds would oppose these efforts put forward by President Obama," said Chairman Mullins. "To stand there and nod your head with approval as the head of a union talks about how bad it is to give students a better chance at an education is just breathtaking. I frankly didn't believe it until I saw the video clip from the event."

You can watch the video clip here.

In her introduction of Deeds at a Virginia Education Association training meeting in Wytheville yesterday, VEA president Kitty Boitnott cautioned attendees about the dangers of charter schools and performance pay for teachers. Deeds, meanwhile, stood at her shoulder and nodded his head approvingly in agreement.

"[Creigh Deeds'] opponent is a proponent of charter schools and merit pay," Boitnott said. "Right now [Bob McDonnell] is using a strategy that would lull people - those who are in favor of charter schools and merit pay - lull them into the fold by saying that these are things that President Obama and Secretary [of Education Arne] Duncan also promote, which is true to a certain extent."

It was then that Boitnott revealed the true strategy of the Deeds campaign and the union - to derail the president's plan to improve educational options for children in Virginia and other states.

"But what they're not telling you is that President Obama's people and Secretary Duncan's people are meeting with members and staff of the [National Education Association] on a regular basis and working out - it's always the Devil in the details with any union issue - so we're working very closely with the administration so that we can try to craft policies that will not be detrimental to the public education programs that we have supported," Boitnott said.

Deeds was characteristically in line with whatever the union had to say, gushing as soon as Boitnott yielded the floor: "What Kitty's talking about - you have to always look for innovations in education. We gotta keep an open mind about a lot of things. But there's some places we just draw lines in the sand."

The Deeds-VEA position is in dramatic opposition to a $4.35 billion education package that Obama outlined just last month that dangles the school funding to states, contingent on their willingness to embrace charter schools and teacher performance pay.

"Warning that states can increase or decrease their odds of winning federal support through their policies, Duncan said states that cap the number of charter schools or fail to hold such schools accountable, for example, ‘will be at a disadvantage,' and those that prohibit linking student performance to teacher evaluations ‘will be ineligible' for the funding, reported the Washington Post. "Several states, including New York, California and Wisconsin, bar such linkages, which also are generally opposed by teachers unions."

Meanwhile, Deeds' union endorser, VEA union president Kitty Boitnott penned an opinion piece that appeared in the very same publication entitled "Charter Schools Aren't the Solution for Virginia." In the piece, Boitnott wrote, "The Obama administration and The Post are fascinated with charter schools, but charters do not make sense for Virginia. Maybe charter schools are needed in the District or Chicago, but in Virginia they are a solution looking for a problem."

Charter schools are public schools that are free of some regulation that usually accompanies traditional schools, but must adhere to a performance standard and a measure of success as set by their establishment. History shows that they are successful and are heavily favored in urban environments where normal public schools are struggling to meet the needs of students.

Republican candidate for governor Bob McDonnell is a strong proponent of charter schools, as evidenced by his proposal for expanding them, found here.

"What I just find astounding is that Creigh Deeds would stand in the way of children getting a good education just because he coveted the endorsement of a particular union," Chairman Mullins said. "It just makes you scratch your head and wonder what kind of governor he would be, and just exactly who he would listen to. In this case, it certainly isn't the President of the United States or the children and parents of Virginia."

Again, watch the video clip here.