On April 16, 2012, Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES), Voces de la Frontera, and teachers, marched from the Racine Labor Center to the Racine Unified School Board meeting to present a "Student Bill of Rights." A similar bill was presented by YES to the Milwaukee Public Schools Board of Education earlier.
The student group in Racine drafted the document with the help of teachers, specifically known political activist and husband of the new President of the Racine Education Association, Al Levie. There were also other teacher advisors, but Al Levie recently snubbed an award presented by Congressman Paul Ryan and was convicted of obstructing a police officer who wanted to question a student in his class. He was also involved in other political activities involving students.
There would be no problem with teacher involvement if it weren't for two specific lines in the document, namely:
1. Students have a right to a school environment where all teachers and staff have the right to collectively bargain.
2. Students have the right to a desegregated public education that is not undermined by privatization.
Both of those lines have been at the center of a statewide debate over the enactment of Act 10.
What is more troubling, is that YES ran the bill past the Executive Committee of the REA for approval prior to presenting it to the school board. The million dollar question is why they felt a need to have the document approved by the REA.
The union denies any input into the document and even had their attorney threaten me with a defamation suit. This threat and my response can be found at: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/04/25/wisconsin-teachers-union-threatens-parent-for-challenging-union-abuses.
So here are the facts as we know them:
1. The document was drafted with the help of a teacher who is a known political activist against Act 10.
2. The document contains language that supports the union's position on Act 10.
3. The document was presented to the REA Executive Committee for approval, prior to being presented to the only entity that can enforce its contents; the school board.
4. The march to the school board began at the Racine Labor Center and was attended by numerous teachers.
The REA has a track record of denial, and this to me appears to be just that. The REA denied involvement in the "sick out" last February, even though teachers cam forward to local media stating that they received robocalls encouraging the activity. The REA denied that they campaigned in the school buildings during working hours, even though teachers affirmed the action, including the Executive Director of the REA admitted to the activity in this very publication.
There is no doubt in my mind that the REA is involved in the language that defends collective bargaining and speaks out against vouchers. In my mind, I see this as an especially egregious act that the union would try to advance their personal agenda through our children and clearly, the evidence sure points to that type of activity.
What are your thoughts?