I have watched the DSEA-Jack Markell mating dance for three years now. At times it has been sickening. At others it has been hopeful (more recently). The DSEA had a change in leadership during the last three years, so it is normal to expect the DSEA to have two differing public persona during this time frame.
What hasn’t changed is Governor Markell. He has been steadfast. He has poked his finger straight into the teacher union’s belly and eye, alternately, until he gains submission. He has cut their pay, brought about furloughs, fired the Minner Math and Reading teachers, co-opted DSEA leadership for support on RTTT, sat out a critical charter school debate, forced school interventions that are prescriptive, lack research and have forced teachers from their buildings, and to top it all off, he has crammed an evaluation system down their throats so masterfully that they are pleased with the negotiation points that have been “won” during discussions that have moved the DPASSII from what appeared to be a military tribunal to just a garden variety rigged jury.
All of this bad policy, use of bad words like human capital, ridiculous principles like applying student test scores to teacher evaluations. Genuinely repugnant sensibilities all leading to what???
I predict the DSEA will openly endorse Jack Markell for Governor very soon. Yep, you heard me, endorse him. Publicly it will likely just be an outright statement of support. Inside, perhaps it will be “we can’t support Cragg”, but both are just terrible precepts, and bad for the DSEA, in my opinion.
I am not a union member, and I get it that I do not have one wit to say (inside the process) about how they select candidates. I was contacted by someone I respect very much after I, as a resident of the 11th, took issue with the DSEA mailer supporting Tony DeLuca. He leaned in my ear hard, and very respectfully told me I misrepresented the process the DSEA uses to select candidates and that Mr. DeLuca very much earned and deserves the DSEA’s support. My response to that is that I am an outsider. As such, I don’t get to see the process, just the result. I know many legislators who are friends to education: Mr. Kowalko, Mr. Jaques, Mr. Oberle are all names that evoke a visceral and common knowledge feeling about their support for public education. I get it that support is sometimes quiet and behind closed doors, but again, I don’t have that access. I will steadfastly maintain that any process that excludes vetting friendly incumbents against their primary opponents is a bad process. As an entity that engages in the most important policy debates in the state, the DSEA has a higher calling than other public worker unions. To me it demands a different path be taken. My post does suggest supporting Bryan Townsend against Senator DeLuca, but I want everyone to know I have not given one red cent to Mr. Townsend and I will submit to a full financial audit to verify this. I am trying to explain my distaste for the DSEA’s selection process by showing how it ignores other candidates that may be just as or even more capable than the ones they are endorsing. I was told the process is so solid by my critic that he will not lose a “wink” of sleep over it. I am glad of that, that makes two of us not losing sleep over this kerfuffle. We just have a different view of this situation, in the end, we both are dedicated to the cause of making sure our educators have everything they need to do their jobs for our students.
While I really respect the criticism I am being given on the previous blog post, I remain deeply concerned about the process yielding endorsements and their impact on the DSEA to effectively support and protect our teachers and by proxy our students. If the DSEA offers no endorsement of Jack Markell, I will call Senator DeLuca myself and apologize for criticizing the DSEA candidate endorsement process.
Until that happens, I stand by my original post, 100%