Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Times’

Labor Gets Schooled by the LA Times

Monday, September 7th, 2009

This teacher-bashing editorial in the LA Times takes the tone of a schoolmarm lecturing her students on the history of the evils of unions while explaining how once upon a time they were necessary and how once upon a time its editorial board was less fair.

A new era of school reform will continue to take hold with or without union cooperation. Yet reformers should hesitate before agitating for the downfall of teachers unions, which have a rich history of improving both education and the welfare of educators. Our schools would be weaker without these labor organizations.

Gee whiz, thanks. Unions have a rich history of improving education. They also apparently have the propensity to blow things up:

We are mindful of (the anti-union) precedent on this page, and break from it reluctantly. But the editorial boards that went about their work in the aftermath of the 1910 bombing of The Times — which killed 21 employees and was the work of union organizers — saw labor far differently than today’s board, which, among other things, endorsed Mayor Villaraigosa twice and has called for tougher sanctions against employers who violate labor rights.

In other words: the current editorial board isn’t like your father’s editorial board–even though it remembers an explosion that occurred 99 years ago like it happened yesterday.  It loves labor.  Didn’t it twice endorse union brother Mayor Villaraigosa?

My bad.  I thought the LA Times hated labor. According to Rick Wartzman in his own history lesson in The American Prospect (thanks, Marty) the LA Times fought tooth and nail to prevent unionization in its own shop:

“The Times was always the beacon for anti-union employers,” says Marty Keegan, the Teamsters’ lead organizer in the campaign. “This win is monumental.”

Thank goodness the LA Times now champions the teachers union. Even though it attacked teachers in a recent series on how difficult it is to fire them and derides seniority in the present editorial because “bumping rights have deprived students in impoverished schools of experienced teachers” (I guess this means that experienced teachers are roaming around bumping inexperienced teachers in non-impoverished schools, though I have never witnessed this phenomena firsthand), even though every word out of the LA Times (unless in response to one of its editorials) has been solidly anti-labor, I can rest assured that it has my union back.

No one should wish for a return to the schools of 100 years ago, with their short-timer teaching forces of young people who could be dismissed for no good reason. Experienced teachers represent a substantial public investment in training, and they contribute skills and educational wisdom. Society owes them too much to treat them like a dispensable commodity.

Unions should be carving out a new future for their members, and there is encouraging movement in this direction. After unsuccessfully opposing L.A. Unified’s promising new reform, UTLA proposed a startling tactic that brings a touch of optimism to even this less-than-cheery Labor Day. The union announced it would sponsor a wave of teacher and union applications to run many of the schools, including “collaborations with partners such as UCLA to develop our own research-based innovative proposals.”

Will these applications be taken as seriously as those written by charter corporations cozy with the Mayor? Probably not. But don’t worry about reading about it. The LA Times is too busy schooling labor to report the news.

What the Zell?

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Okay, just trying to figure out why the LA Times needs to bash public schools. Here’s what Muckety comes up with (click on the boxes):


Helen, wife of Sam Zell, LA Times owner, is what we call a Chicago venture philanthropist. According to Mike Klonsky:

This collection of equity-fund millionaires, corporate lobbyists and downtown real estate developers, each have their favorite charter schools or vertically-integrated programs that they contribute to.

Could it be that Helen is taking her show on the road?  The LA Times seems to be eager to help with this piece that extolls the virtues of the American Indian Public Charter without checking the facts (props to Oakland’s Perimeter Primate for her hard work):

By the way, when the figures of his three American Indian Model schools are combined, their average enrollment of students w/disabilities was 1.3% in 2007-08. The district average was 10%. Their combined enrollment of English Learners in was 3% in 2007-08. The district average for that subgroup was 30%.

Guessing the Zells wouldn’t care if my autie son got the boot at such an esteemed institution.  Don’t want anything to interfere with the self-congratulatory yacht club patter, especially the facts.