I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Slicing, Dicing, Scattering, and Rearranging Words

Kathy Breakall, Ellen Crow, Bill Vincent, Cathy Boehme, and David Pittman (The Escambia County Teacher's Union Executive Staff) each took a turn at last night's school board workshop slamming this editorial viewpoint that I submitted to the PNJ two months ago.

They soured the mood of what was otherwise a very positive, upbeat meeting.

Obviously, in the viewpoint I did not pull any punches.  It was brash and strident. It is worth noting that the PNJ held this viewpoint for more than a month and only agreed to print it if they could make  edits.  The piece that actually made it into the paper was the censored version.

But the fact is what I said in the viewpoint is true, and while these union leaders can bemoan the fact that I said what I said, they will have a hard time refuting the facts in that viewpoint. 

And anyone can take bits and pieces of a whole article, movie, song, or film and make it what they want it to be.  We can take a movie like Scarface, for instance, and edit in such a way that Al Pacino's character says the "F" word 182 times.  But would playing that disaggregated clip be a good representation of the whole movie?  of course not.

The union executive staff also each conveniently neglected to mention this quote from my viewpoint piece
"I have great admiration and the ultimate respect for individual, hard-working teachers"

So last night, each of these individuals pulled selected words from my viewpoint, then regurgitated them back --out of context --in the open forum.  In between the expressions of outrage and indignation, they were each able to work into their allotted two minutes the various titles, positions, achievements, and awards they have each earned.  Congratulations--you are wonderful! 
I believe these individuals are caring and conscientious educators and my viewpoint was not and is not directed at them individually.

And they know that.

This said, I have no love for their organized labor union because I do not feel the interests of students and taxpayers are the chief concern of organized teachers unions.  And I know that unions are active in restraining meaningful education reform locally and nationally--so this puts me even more at odds with them.  So I will continue to deal with them respectfully, professionally, and courteously--but I will never genuflect to them or carry their water like others in this district do.  I'll continue to call them out at each and every instance where they attempt to put their needs ahead of students and taxpayers. 

They can take that to the bank!

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