Friday, February 5, 2010

Rotten apple - In Montgomery Co., the teachers union and its toxic influence

In today's Washington Post lead Montgomery County Editorial "Rotten apple" (as titled in print edition), the Post editor details the financial arrangement that is struck between candidates for Board of Education seats and the teacher's union, MCEA, with each candidate being essentially "billed" for the MCEA endorsement. This behind the scenes deal has been going on for years and is not new. What is new is that The Washington Post is revealing it. (2006 contributions from candidates to the MCEA PAC are shown to the left.)

The Washington Post editorials on Montgomery County Public Schools have been known to simply parrot the position that Superintendent Weast has taken on an issue, with illegal curricular fees as one notable example. In that editorial entitled "The Price of Learning", The Post came out supporting the imposition of fees on public school students to attend public school classes, even though those fees are illegal in Maryland. The Post editor failed to actually quote the Maryland State Constitution's guarantee of a free public education in the editorial, and instead made the Constitution's guarantee sound like a fabrication.

While today's Post editorial says that the charging of candidates for the MCEA endorsement "distorts and perverts" the political process, the Post took no such position on illegal fees being extorted from children. 

Is the Post's position that fee based "endorsement deals" involving adults are bad, but extorting fees from children is good?

In today's editorial, the Post discusses the "toxic influence" of the teacher's union, MCEA. The next question is, who influences the Post editorials?

Rotten apple
In Montgomery County, the teachers union and its toxic influence  
...Just one thing is missing from this handy guide: Candidates who receive the union's stamp of approval are also then expected to pay.

As far as we know, this arrangement is unique; in elections elsewhere, unions and other special interests contribute to candidates, not vice versa...

...In the latest elections for the Montgomery County Council, in 2006, most candidates on the union-approved (and trademarked) "Apple Ballot" coughed up the maximum contribution allowed by state law, $6,000, to a PAC run by the Montgomery County Education Association, as the teachers union is known. Union-backed candidates for the Board of Education also paid handsomely.
In fact, several sources told us that the MCEA's chief political strategist, Jon Gerson, made it clear that he expected candidates, once endorsed, to pay what they "owed" for the union's campaign on their behalf. One candidate, asked to explain the decision to pay, answered concisely: "Fear."

This distorts and perverts the political process....

1 comment:

  1. Please don't dilute how obscene this is by comparing it to student fees. I have never heard of anything like this. This is a horrible distortion of the political system. The candidate pays the endorser? Isn't that a conflict of interest? Is this legal?


If your comment does not appear in 24 hours, please send your comment directly to our e-mail address:
parentscoalitionmc AT