by Max Brantley
A reader calls for discussion on today's Democrat-Gazette editorial (not linkable; it's not posted on NW D-G site today) urging an end to recognition of the Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association as bargaining agent for district teachers. The commment:
I never realized that the CTA forced the school board to sign a contract. I thought that it was NEGOTIATED between representatives on both sides. The DG makes it sound like the school board had nothing to do with the contract.
I would capiutalize "school board" but their current small minds don't justify it.
I would write a response to the editorial but since a family member works in the LRSD, it would invite the retribution that Brooks does to every one who doesn't jump every time he speaks.
The school board is putting the LRSD in the position of having a strike and I would think that responsible (are there any?) members of the business community would be thinking about what kind of image that portrays when they are trying to get companies to relocate to the area.
Little Rock isn't the only mid-size southern capital but it seems to be the one with a newspaper and a school board that are trying to destroy the school system. They may as well cancel that 50th anniversary celebration planned for next year. May be they can hold it up in big box land.
My guess? The people who hate the CTA would love a strike. They'll have a PR campaign ready to caricature the strikers as self-interested slackers who oppose the quality education that awaits if only the union stranglehold over the district could be broken. Money will flow from the likes of the Hussmans and Waltons and other historic enemies of public education in LR to support the union bustup. Undoubtedly, the Walton shill on the Walton University payroll will contribute a useful op-ed.
For all this, the CTA is in a ticklish spot. It's an exaggeration, if not downright dishonest, to say that a labor contract is a bar to effective management. But the CTA still may be facing the necessity of some procedural givebacks if meaningful contract talks are even held. It could be, however, that the Board's mind is made up, regardless of the CTA's willingness to cooperate. It's clear the superintendent's mind was closed on the subject of labor organizations before he arrived.