Monday, April 09, 2007

Reflecting

It's an absolutely beautiful day here in Cedar City. I just finished delivering my last set of voucher packets to our PTA representative, who was instrumental in making this whole thing happen. Her early estimates are that we are going to meet a 15 percent benchmark - that is, we gathered more than our 10 percent goal. This is incredible and speaks volumes about how Iron County parents feel about our neighborhood schools.

As I was driving back home and through my neighborhood, I couldn't help but stop and reflect on some of the conversations I had with neighbors and friends. I have received criticism on this blog for my "pollyanna" viewpoint of Iron County's public schools. But I can tell you for certain that many of the people I have spoken to over the last several weeks agree with me - Iron County schools truly are wonderful.

All of the people involved in this effort have one thing in common - we want the very best for our children. For our opponents to say otherwise is wrong. I don't think I saw any "union thugs" out there, and I looked high and low. I agree with a post I read somewhere on the Amicus that the term "Union Thug" is getting kind of old... and it really does not apply to our Iron County effort. In my view, the UEA does not hold any political power here whatsoever. Parents are the involved and active voice - we have an excellent PTA, a fabulous school board, and many parents who are involved and participating in their children's education.

Am I a Pollyana? Perhaps. But I'll tell you, it was heartwarming to see so many Iron County parents advocating for public schools. And contrary to what advocates may tell you, this is NOT a partisan issue. Many many many registered Republicans put their names on the referendum to oppose vouchers. Many whom I spoke to feel that Utah schools do incredible things and achieve excellence in academics with limited resources. By putting their signature on the referendum, these good citizens were standing up for Utah's school children.

Now I'm going to go do something I have not done in a long time. I'm going to go work in my yard, plant some rose bushes, and enjoy this beautiful weather.

20 comments:

A sugar house resident said...

your home looks like the homes in sugar house

Emily said...

It's a brand new house in Cedar City. ;-)

Dave Hansen said...

So you're saying that the petition was "to oppose vouchers"?

I thought this was just about putting it to a vote to the people?

Silly me, for being so naive. I wonder how many voucher supporters were duped into signing the petition?

I'm also glad to learn that the UEA "does not hold any political power" in Iron County. That must be a blessed place to live.

I'm so glad that in Iron County, the UEA doesn't have access to every teachers' mailbox, email address, home address, phone number, work place, breakroom, and class room.

I'm so glad that in Iron County, there aren't UEA reps at every school who make weekly visits to the teachers who are not members of the union.

I'm so glad that in Iron County, there aren't any UEA Univserv agents who specialize in organizing grassroots efforts, collected PAC donations, and working on government relations.

I'm so glad that in Iron County, the UEA has never made a campaign donation or deducted one automatically from a teacher's paycheck.

I'm so glad that in Iron County, the UEA has never been involved in school board elections or contract negotiations with elected officials.

Hearing that "the UEA does not hold any political power [in Iron County] whatsoever" just makes me so glad that I have to sit hear and wonder why I'm not moving there right now.

Since the UEA has no power in Iron County, I think it would be the perfect place for all of us ultra-conservative, labor union-hating, voucher-loving Republicans to move to so that we could finally have a school system that reflects the interests of parents and children and not just the adults running it.

Are there other cute homes like yours in Cedar City that are on the market cause I would love to live in a place where teachers union have no political power whatsoever.

Allie said...

With all of the ads on TV and radio by PCE, I doubt anyone was "duped" into signing the petition.

Craig said...

Dave,

That's quite enough!

The teachers and other good folks I've met at the UEA are some of the humblest, most down-to-earth, most caring, and, yes, most capable, people I've had the privilege of meeting. What you and others are saying is just completely false, worn-out rhetoric.

I'm grateful there are groups like the PTA and UEA who aren't afraid to stand up to the greed and arrogance on the Hill.

Thanks...Craig.

Anonymous said...

You have your choice Dave. What is next? Will I get a voucher to use with a private police department, or what if I choose to fight Iraq with a privatized army? Can I have a voucher to play golf or tennis at my club instead of paying taxes to county run facilities?

Face it, PCE elitist just don't want to see every child do well, just their own.

Emily said...

Dave,

A little sarcastic, are we? Hey, my family and I live in a great place. We love it here. And yes, Dave, there is room for people of all political persuasions. Cedar City is a great community and I am proud to call it home.

And, you are in luck. There is a house right across the street from me if you feel like making the move right now. It's yours for the taking if you can handle living across the street from a public school supporter.

Just now I was working in my yard and another neighbor from across the street came over and we had a nice conversation ... a little bit of politics, a little bit of yard work, and a discussion about my poor pregnant cat. Cedar City is a wonderful community and I have a great neighborhood, chuck full of great neighbors.

No need to beat me up just because I like where I live and am proud of my community.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many arms were twisted and lives and homes threatend by UEA and NEA union thugs - how many people work in fear of being hurt professionally and physcially if you oppose the union

hello dashing said...

Anonymous # last -

"I wonder how many arms were twisted and lives and homes threatend by UEA and NEA union thugs"

You have got to be kidding me.

Davis Didjeridu said...

Dave Hansen:
Your description of the UEA seems wholly inaccurate. For example, your assertion that UEA automatically deducts political contributions from paychecks of all teachers is false. Just like you or me, each UEA member has the choice of deducting a political contribution from their paycheck. No one is forced to do so; and only UEA members have paycheck deductions, not "all teachers." I suppose you would support abridging the free association rights of individual teachers to give to causes they wish to use their (not your) money for. I would rather see public financing of elections so we wouldn't have the problems of PCE or your alleged abuses of UEA. Wouldn't you?
Anonymous at 4:24 PM:
Hillariously stupid remarks. You have been watching Hoffa (the fictitious movie) too much. Utah's unions have too few resources to twist arms. Besides, most of the signatures for the effort came from PTA volunteers, not teachers. I should say, though, that my mother, a kindergarten teacher, was verbally harassed and intimidated collecting signatures on Saturday. However, I do not judge the whole pro-voucher movement on that individual. I do judge them on the official letters previously posted on this and other forums, as well as their misleading advertisements.

Dave said...

Craig,

Where in my comments did I attack public school teachers who include my mom, my aunt, my sister, my grandpa, and one of my wife's best friends?

So by making a point that it's ridiculous to say that the UEA has no political power whatsoever in a certain county in Utah, I am attacking every teacher and every good thing they do?

That's silly.

Craig said...

Dave,

Thanks for visiting.

I don't think that is what I said. You were making comments about UEA operatives duping people into signing the petition, pressuring non-UEA teachers, and abusing their privacy.

This has not been my experience.

Thank goodness the UEA has some grass-roots political influence (if not power) in Iron County. Children and teachers there deserve the same advocacy there as they do anywhere else in the state.

I, too, have a soft spot for the public school teachers in my and my wife's family.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Dave has been eating some sour grapes ...

Anonymous said...

Emily how many checks did you take from Unions when you ran for office?

Davis Didjeridu said...

Anonymous 10:09 AM:
You can see for yourself: http://globe.utah.gov/allcont/allcont.aspx?CandidateID=3168&sort=name
$200 from AFSMCE,
$200 from IBEW Local 57,
$500 from Operating Engineers Local 3,
$100 from Teamsters Local 222,
$200 from U.A. Local 140 PAC,
$300 from United Steelworkers District 12 Utah,
$750 from United Transportation Union.
and $0 from UEA, AFT, or any teachers union. That's $2250 out of a total $17,516.36 of contributions.
All this stuff is publicly available, if you were smart enough to look for it. However, as I said before, if you don't like it, perhaps you should support public financing of elections like I do.

Emily said...

Davis, thanks for posting that -- I was just about to paste the numbers myself.

For the record... I did not recieve a penny from the UEA, nor did they endorse my race.

Emily said...

Most of the donations to my campaign were little checks from regular people. Union money is the only PAC money I received from anywhere.

And unions don't scare me like they scare you, anonymous - they fight for fair working conditions, better wages, and equality. These are things that help Utah families. I have uncles and cousins who are union members and they are some of the kindest, most genuine and religious people I have ever met.

Union Advocate said...

Unions are the only organization that keeps profiteers from turning us into slaves.

Look at how corporations treat people.

Unions have their place and help maintain balance.

You would watch this nation fall apart without unions.

BlackVegetable said...

I'm not sure this is a Republican vs. Democrat issue. From what I've managed to figure out, this is a very mixed topic.

Is it not part of the Republican agenda to remove government hands from the private sector and promote economic growth? Why then would any free-market advocate give the government an excuse to meddle with private schools?

I'm no fan of unions (monopolies on the supply of labor, to me) but I cannot choose to fight against them when they have an ideologically superior position.

Tissybug said...

I have a few questions....
1. How much money does the public school system get from the state fiscal budget this coming year?

2. How much money was allocated to vouchers?

3. What percentage of the budget is the voucher program?

4. How does it effect per child spending on the state level? local level?