bullying-chalkboard

Do As We Say, Not As We Do: Teachers Union Redoubles Attacks on State Sen. Andy Hill in Second Special Session

When a student in a public school intimidates or threatens someone, they’re subject to discipline and possible suspension. When the teachers we entrust to educate our children do it, it’s called freedom of speech. State Sen. Andy Hill (R-Redmond) may be accustomed to being a target for vitriolic attacks orchestrated by teachers unions, but recent efforts may have crossed a line.

According to a first-hand account, members of the Service Employees International Union used Woodinville High School’s recent graduation ceremony as a venue for political organizing, handing out “programs” attacking Hill and also distributing the senator’s personal cell phone number.

(It calls to mind another political blunder committed earlier this year by Gov. Jay Inslee’s passing around of another Republican’s phone number to assist his lobbying effort to pass an ultimately doomed gun control bill.)

The SEIU’s questionable practice of handing out personal and private information coincides with a several months-long campaign against Hill by the Washington Education Association and affiliated local unions that speak on behalf of teachers.

Even during the regular session in March, Hill was a featured target of campaign-style WEA hit pieces branding him as a member of the so-called “The Rodney Tom Six.”

How does the behavior of the teachers entrusted with our children’s education square with school policies promoting the value of human dignity? Not well. The section of the Lake Washington School District code of conduct dealing with “human dignity” reads:

A major aim of education in the Lake Washington School District is the development of a commitment to the core values of a democratic society. In accordance with that aim, the district strongly emphasizes a core value of mutual human respect for each person regardless of individual differences and/or characteristics. We expect this value to be manifested in the daily behaviors of students, staff, and volunteers.

No to be deterred by commonly-held standards of civility, this coming Wednesday the WEA will again tempt parents and voters to issue them the well-deserved detention slip that school administrators will never hand out. The union has scheduled a rally in Kirkland to further fan the flames of union outrage. From a WEA communique to members:

Sen. Hill’s ideological political demands are standing in the way of what we really need: Fully funded K-12 public schools, including smaller class sizes for all students and the voter-approved COLA for all school employees.

What are the “ideological political demands” the WEA accuses Hill of making?

The Senate budget Hill has helped to craft increases funding for basic education by $1 billion in 2013-2015, and other Senate bills would create new accountability measures for student performance and end the practice of denying school principals any say in teacher placements. The Senate budget does not raise new taxes to accomplish this, and curbs the growth of non-education spending.

The House Democrat budget that also has the support of Inslee dedicates only $700 million less in new funds for basic education, but seeks to increase taxes and continues to grow non-education spending.

The WEA has made clear its demands for higher teacher pay, smaller class sizes and continued forced placement of teachers, a policy that 85% of Washingtonians say they want to see ended.

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18 Comments

  1. Ken Mortland

    Earl: I think we are both pretty much on the same page here. We may disagree a bit about what specific programs should get what priorities.

  2. P G Clarry

    The union heads are thugs who profit greatly while the teachers get little. Teachers you need to look at how much the union heads get paid compared to you! To be sure they make a lot more. Stop being sheep will ya?

    • Ken Mortland

      P.G.: You’ve obviously never witnessed a WEA Representative Assembly. There are very few sheep among the thousand or so delegates on that assembly floor. They can be very contentious and very independent. You need to learn more about the group before you pass judgement upon them.

  3. Gerry Yates

    Ken, you sound like Alan Combes and Juan Williams. Are you sure you are a conservative?

    • Ken Mortland

      Gerry: You put me in very good company by the comparison. Thank you.

      I’m a life long Republican, twenty year member of the board of Mainstream Republicans of Washington, Co-founder of the WEA Republican Educators Caucus and a charter member of the NEA Republican Leaders Conference. I had the honor of serving on the Campaign Steering Committee of Kim Wyman, the Repubican who won the office of Secretary of State in Washington state’s general election last November. Have worked for many such candidates, most of the them decidedly moderate. Does that suffice?

  4. Beth Sigall

    The majority of voters actually do agree w/ Sen. Hill on ending forced teacher placement. In fact, a recent poll showed that 85% of Washington voters want to end the practice. http://stand.org/washington/blog/2013/05/17/mutual-consent. As a parent of 3 children living in Redmond, I would add that overall, Sen. Hill’s pragmatic, reform-minded and moderate approach to budgets and education reflect his district well. He’s always willing to listen to every side of an issue.

    • Ken Mortland

      I’ve seen the Stand for Children claims, too. Despite many requests for access to the survey material, both through Stand for Children (who do not permit comments on their Facebook postings) and Strategies 360,(who did the survey), I have yet to see any of the survey questions. That’s not the way an objective research effort is conducted. Until we’re allowed to see the research/survey materials, I remain unconvinced.

  5. Public unions! A hybrid unit of government meant for coercion of anyone who disagrees! Woohoo!

    • Ken Mortland

      As a life long Republican and a leader in WEA, I can honestly say I’ve never been coerced by my union and I disagree with it often. You paint with an abnormally broad brush.

      • RightBrained

        Considering the Left’s stance of “the end justifies the means,” and the fact that any true Republican (read Thinking American) can see that unions are indeed today’s mafia, I have trouble believing your claim that you are a republican. I am a staunch conservative, and attempted to be a steward in my union (also a govt. union), and I couldn’t stand the BS they peddled. To say “union coercion” is like saying “Tony Soprano politely suggested.” In reality their tactics were more of thuggish intimidation!

        • Ken Mortland

          Your are entitled to believe anything you please. I have no idea what you’ve experienced, but I’ve never experienced ill treatment, either from my union colleagues or my Republican colleagues. And I do not call your colleagues criminals. I’ll let readers decide for themselves what to think.

  6. holly homan

    The problem with Mr Hill is his demand that the budget take a back seat to a political agenda. Policy bills which have ZERO to do with the budget. Also if the author were more plugged in he would KNOW that the Senate budget robs Peter (in this case programs for the elderly and disabled, work done by SEIU 775 members) to give Paul (k-12 funding) some of what the courts have said it is owed.

    On the whole the Senate GOP plan reads like a magic trick assume savings, no increase in revenue and PRESTO it all gets paid for.

    You run for office and take a leadership role you MUST be willing to stand toe to toe and defend your position. The majority of the voters of this state say Mr Hill is wrong on many issues. Being reminded of that in a public forum is merely part of the job.

    • Holly,

      “The author” knows that the Senate budget trims growth in non-education spending while increasing the rate of growth in spending on basic K-12 education. For 30 years, lawmakers have allowed non-education spending to grow at almost twice the rate of ed spending. The Senate budget halts that trend and begins to correct it so that K-12 spending is what the state Supreme Court told legislators it must be — the paramount priority of state government. The House budget does not.

      Also, I disagree with your Peter and Paul analogy. It’s not Peter’s or Paul’s money. Agency budgets simply don’t exist until the taxpayers’ earnings are collected and appropriated.

      Thank you for reading and participating in this important discussion.

      -Bryan Myrick

      • Ken Mortland

        We must always keep foremost in our minds that all budget allocations come from taxes paid by citizens who would prefer to keep that money for their own personal use. Such is the nature of government. Once allocated, however, the money is no longer the taxpayer’s, it is the state’s. So, Holly does have a point.

        • The money can always be taken away.
          Annual budgets should start at zero and each dollar must be defended. Simply adding money to each department each year is awful.

        • Earl Hufnagel

          Ken,

          I snipped the following straight from the Washington State Constitution:
          ***************************************************************************
          PREAMBLE

          We, the people of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this constitution.

          ARTICLE I
          DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

          SECTION 1 POLITICAL POWER. All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

          ****************************************************************************

          This is OUR Constitution of OUR State of Washington. It’s OUR government, they are OUR public servants, and it’s time they were reminded of that. It is OUR money that they are addicted to spending to get OUR fellow citizens addicted getting “free stuff!” We mustn’t keep simply giving in to the “progressive” statists who redefine the founding principles of our free society to justify enslavement of citizens and immigrants to big government programs.

          This being said, I applaud Sen. Hill’s prioritization of those program that are constitutionally, legally and judicially mandated.

  7. Ken Mortland

    Citizens with common interests get together regularly in our society to pursue common goals. When we agree with those common goals, they are the “will of the people”. And, when we disagree with those common goals, they are the spawn of “special interest groups”. In truth, both are the product of citizens who have a right to participate in the political process.

    The objections noted in this article sound very much like a petulant child, stamping his/her feet and demanding to have her/his way. Sen. Hill and the Majority Coalition Caucus have voluntarily engaged in power politics. It’s not the first time that’s happened in Washington’s history, nor will it be the last time. And it most certainly is neither illegal nor unprecedented.

    But, when you choose to engage in power politics, you give up the right to whine about the backlash. Holding back agreement on a budget throughout a 30 day special session in order to leverage policy bills that would likely fail otherwise is a disservice to the citizens of Washington state.

    Sen. Hill knows what I think of the so called “Mutual Consent” bill. He is within his rights to pursue it anyway. You do him a disservice, when you claim objections to his choice are some sort of “bullying”. Using your logic, any expression of opposition would qualify as bullying.

    I agree that SEIU went too far in making public a personal cell phone number. Personally, I would not have used a high school graduation ceremony for such political purposes and WEA has not done so.

  8. Monterey

    Andy Hill has been representing the people; not the special interests. This makes the teacher’s union very upset when they do not get their way. So they bully people with misleading statements.

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