If Irony Were Bread…

…there would be no hunger, apparently….Backstory: Kati Haycock will fill you in.

27 Responses to “If Irony Were Bread…”

  1. TFT Says:

    What crap, Andrew.

    Teachers didn’t pass the bill, congress did. Most of us were not happy. That’s why we we wrote all those blogposts about how terrible it was. You can read, right?

    Did you consider that the AFT may have started the drive to combat what they see as a terrible way to fund teachers?

    What purpose does making fun of hunger serve, Andrew? You think it’s funny?

  2. Chris Smyr Says:

    “Most of us were not happy”

    http://www.educationvotes.nea.org/2010/08/11/you-won/

  3. TFT Says:

    Chris, Chris, Chris. I am not the NEA. I don’t know of one teacher who was happy about the cut to food stamps. And I read many posts and comments from teachers denouncing the move. Didn’t you?

    The people cheering were not cheering for the cut to food stamps. They were cheering for districts getting the money to hire teachers.

    It’s a duality thing, akin to multi-tasking, lesser of 2 evils or whatever.

    But for anyone to claim teachers favored the cutting of food stamps is pure bullcrap.

    Hey Chris, I’ll be down in Santa Cruz in a couple weeks. Wanna get together for a beer?

  4. Linda/RetiredTeacher Says:

    No child should go hungry in this country. Sign the pledge!

  5. thenofunzone Says:

    Chris:

    Notice the irony in TFT’s response to you:

    “Chris, Chris, Chris. I am not the NEA. I don’t know of one teacher who was happy about the cut to food stamps.”

    But whenever anyone attacks the teacher unions and tries to differentiate attacking the unions from attacking individual teachers the response from people like TFT (I’ve seen it on this blog) is as follows: “you can’t separate the union from the teachers… when you attack one you’re attacking the other.”

    Oh the irony is sweet.

  6. Lurker Says:

    The irony is sweetbread I guess?

  7. TFT Says:

    Find where I have said that. I have never said that. Now you are trying to smear me with the same broad brush you are accusing me of using.

    Yes, the irony is incredible.

    And given the edublogosphere was alight with anger about the food stamp cuts, your point is pointless.

  8. Chris Smyr Says:

    TFT:

    I don’t recall saying that you are the NEA. However, it doesn’t fool anyone when you claim to speak for all teachers, yet the NEA brags about “more than 400,000 calls and emails to Congress”. I’m going to take a guess that NEA is referring to a subset of teachers a bit larger in size than the number of edubloggers you are referencing. Of course, neither you nor NEA should claim to know how most/all teachers are feeling, but NEA makes it clear that there is at least a sizable population of activists, many likely educators, on their side of this issue.

    The important point to make here, as Andy did, is the irony of unions pushing for an end to childhood hunger, and yet hardly giving a second glance at where the money is coming from for this recent “win”. This is nothing to celebrate. No one actually won anything. Maybe the union shouldn’t gloat that they did.

    thenofunzone:

    Agree that there is a sentiment of that here and in other edu forums. This event *should* reaffirm for folks that teacher unions, as do all unions, are here to protect primarily the interests of their workers, and not necessarily the interests of their workers’ students. I doubt it will, though.

  9. Jake P. Says:

    Building on the Chris point – TFT are you equating some bloggers with organizations with more than a million members each? That’s the “crap” here. The NEA and AFT are powerful and could have stopped this and did not.

    The teachers unions AND YES THEIR MEMBERS got caught taking from food stamps meant for poor families for their salaries. Now they are hoping no one notices.

  10. edlharris Says:

    As Rep Obey noted, it was the Obama administration that proposed these food stamps cuts (to keep the funding for Race To The Top).
    Kati didn’t point that out.

  11. Chris Smyr Says:

    Edlharris:

    Wow, a comment without “Rhee” in it, congratulations. It’s not really relevant though since no one asserted that the union pushed for cuts to food stamps. They instead lobbied for RTTT to get cut (“cut education to help education!”), but gave quiet consent when food stamps were targeted instead.

  12. steve f. Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Can you provide evidence of this “quiet consent” on the food stamp cuts?

    Thanks.

  13. Chris Smyr Says:

    Steve F.:

    I was referring to the “You Won!” post in particular, and the lack of any real dismay being given by the unions in general. Another example: NEA is encouraging its members to thank members of congress.

    http://www.nea.org/lac

  14. steve f. Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your response.

    Before castigating the unions on this one – I would look at it from the viewpoint of congress and the ridiculous legislative climate right now.

    This food stamp money was for 2014, it was going be siphoned in one way or another, by the GOP or deficit-hawk centrists:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/40739.html

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/153881/food-stamps-or-teachers?page=0,0,0,1

    As stated, Sen. Blanche Lincoln was in favor of this move and no one would accuse her of carrying water for the unions – just look at her primary fight.

    The reform community can spin this any way they want to make an anti-union point. At the end of the day all I see is “quiet consent” if you will for defense spending and corporate tax breaks. Not sure those help the kids or the poor. The irony, indeed.

  15. steve f. Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your response.

    Before castigating the unions on this one – I would look at it from the viewpoint of congress and the ridiculous legislative climate right now.

    This food stamp money was for 2014, it was going be siphoned in one way or another, by the GOP or deficit-hawk centrists:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/40739.html

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/153881/food-stamps-or-teachers?page=0,0,0,1

    As stated, Sen. Blanche Lincoln was in favor of this move and no one would accuse her of carrying water for the unions – just look at her primary fight.

    The reform community can spin this any way they want to make an anti-union point. At the end of the day all I see is “quiet consent” if you will for defense spending and corporate tax breaks. Not sure those help the kids or the poor. The irony, indeed.

  16. Chris Smyr Says:

    Steve F.:

    I don’t buy Lincoln’s argument. Justifying further cuts to food stamp benefits because the republicans might do it later is rather thick-headed and defeatist in its own right, but presumably one would think that food stamp funding should be considered just as precious as funding to help keep teachers on the job — that is if the main goal was to support students. I wanted to see some grown-ups in charge actually taking a stance to support students from low-income families; food stamp benefits should have been the last place we turned to for funding, and any organization or panel vying for channeling those funds somewhere else should have been loudly opposed, particularly by teacher organizations that purport to have the interests of students at heart.

    But no, we get a “You win!” mentality instead.

  17. steve f. Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for you response.

    I certainly think most folks making comments on this blog want to see some “grown-ups in charge” in Congress. Unfortunately, we have a Republican party that would prefer to not act like grown-ups. What should one do at a time like this?

    Unfortunately, a great congressman is deciding that no one is going to act like a grown-up anytime soon, and is retiring:

    http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Issues/Budget-Impact/2010/07/16/David-Obey-I-Leave-More-Discontented-Than-I-Started.aspx

    You right, support for low-income families should be one of the last places we turn for funding. Teacher and school funding shouldn’t be one of the first places either. It’s a perverse choice! And Duncan and the administration could make it a lot easier for all if they wanted to – the could say we going to cut some of this war funding or we are going to restore some tax rates to what they were just eight years ago. It’s not rocket science, it’s politics. They picked their battle.

    Kids won’t win this one – the wealthiest 1%, hedge funds, war contractors, wall street, and the Fortune 500 will.

    And if they don’t, where are the Dems going to get their campaign contributions from? The unions won’t be around anymore.

  18. Chris Smyr Says:

    Steve F.:

    Claiming that the republicans are also acting childish isn’t really supporting the argument that we shouldn’t blame the unions. And I don’t think everyone-except-the-unions is solely to blame for the supposed dichotomy of either cutting food stamps or letting teachers get laid off. The union was more than able to take up the stance of defending cuts to food stamps as well as lobbying for funds needed to keep teachers on the job, but that didn’t happen.

  19. steve f. Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your response.

    This new dichotomy, which you call “supposed” and I’ll call perverse was set up in Congress by a GOP opposition that raises holy hell when any cuts come near their sacred cows – taxes and war spending. You need votes to pass legislation – where will they come from if 40 senators are going to vote “nay” right from the start – not much room for debate there.

    I think the politics of this bill have been well-rehearsed on this blog and in the papers this summer.

    Let’s go through a step-by-step (and please let me know if I missed any steps)

    1. Obey and New Deal, pro-labor Dems propose additional federal relief funding for teacher jobs and schools. (Have you seen those state budgets?)

    2. The GOP says no and deficit-hawk centrist Dems say they will only support if the relief spending includes a future spending off-set.

    3. The initial off-set is a hybrid funding package tacked on to the war spending (trying to get some GOPers here) and includes RTTT and i3 cuts.

    4. The school reform community flips shit over the RTTT cuts and Duncan and Obama threaten a veto.

    5. Duncan and Obama propose a funding off-set from the increased 2014 food stamp spending to pay for the teacher and school funding.

    6. The Senate crafts a teacher, school, and health care relief spending bill with off-sets from the 2014 food stamp spending.

    And, that’s where we are now.

    I’m not sure what role the union did or didn’t have in the congressional sausage making – but it certainly seems like a few others might want to apologize for the food stamp cuts before the unions – namely – the GOP, the Administration, the school reform community, and the deficit-hawk centrists.

    The offsets weren’t the unions idea.

  20. Chris Smyr Says:

    Steve F.:

    That the GOP demanded spending offsets does not imply that the union can eschew responsibility for the offsets falling on foodstamps. The union supported the offsets falling on RTTT. Why couldn’t they protest the cuts hitting foodstamps instead? Why advertise this as a win?

  21. steve f. Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your response.

    I understand you want to pin this one on the unions – that’s fine. Andy and the school reform community already have and I know you have a tough time seeing through that perspective.

    What would you rather have cut 15% of RTTT or the increased funding for food stamps in 2014?

    That was the choice. It isn’t a dream world where one can have it all.

    It would seem the unions supported the RTTT cuts and the school reform community and Duncan supported the 2014 food stamp cuts.

    And, now Andy is trying to spin the matter otherwise – the narrative of the bill seems clear on this one. Is it not?

    As for advertising the win – I guess you see it as poor taste, but it wasn’t like they said call your congressman and thank him for cutting food stamps. This is politics and it was a legislative victory for teacher and school funding.

    Finally, I can pretty well guess that Andy and the school reform community sent around a little “We Win” e-mail, when congress didn’t go ahead with the RTTT cuts and it just wasn’t made public.

  22. Chris Smyr Says:

    Steve F.:

    It’s not my intent, but rather you’ve not given reason to think otherwise. Instead, you’re focusing on a dichotomy that existed prior to voting for these cuts as if it were the way it had to be. But the choice didn’t have to be between cutting education and cutting foodstamps. You are implying that RTTT should have been cut instead, and that’s exactly what the union would rather have had, too, but that would also have been a poor choice and would place teachers and students in another “winning” scenario. How about using some of those 400,000 phone calls and emails to Congress to demand that senators not cut education OR foodstamps?

    I never said that the unions deserved all the blame for this, but they shouldn’t pretend they primarily serve student interests while they’re lobbying for teachers to keep their jobs.

    It is simply ironic that the union can put up a website in favor of ending childhood hunger when it chooses not to protest cuts that may inevitably lead to more childhood hunger. Notice that was the original point of Andy’s two-sentence blog post we have been commenting all day on.

    Finally, I’d like to be a part of this cool “school reform community” you reference. How do I get on the secret newsletter mailing list?

  23. steve f. Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for your response.

    I think you’ve found the underlying reality of the situation, when you state: “How about using some of those 400,000 phone calls and emails to Congress to demand that senators not cut education OR foodstamps?”

    How organized labor in this country would love to have this power!

    They don’t, and they haven’t for years. They can’t shape a legislative agenda – the anti-union sides in Washington are far stronger. And, because of that we get these “no-win/win” progressive victories. It’s
    sad. And, Andy gloats.

    I liken the unions to the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. Everyone wants to imagine a powerful labor movement – the GOP, the Ed Reformers, and even the unions. But that’s all the public image – there is no power there. There’s union money to spend on local campaigns and to try and hold onto to some small collective bargaining victories, but there is no national agenda setting – that’s over.

    It’s ironic, indeed.

    As for the secret newsletter, as stated, it was just a guess – but maybe it’s that new paid newsletter thing Andy is selling for $500 an e-mail – Whiteboard Advisors: http://www.whiteboardadvisors.com/ ?

    Nothing is free in Ed Reform.

  24. Chris Smyr Says:

    Steve F.:

    So organized labor has the power to organize activists to inundate senators with 400,000 voices to back funding for teachers, but not to protest cuts to low-income families? That doesn’t make sense.

    And despite your Oz analogy, the union has shown itself here to be quite efficacious on policy matters that it takes an interest in.

  25. edlharris Says:

    Very magnamious of you
    Chris

    And I must again compliment you for not using your latent creationist-like reasoning skills.

    But while you, steve f, and Kati Haycock are wallowing in the mud examining grains of wheat, you can’t see the amber waves-the Obama administration got what it wanted-funding of Race To The Top at the expense of food stamps.
    In the few weeks since
    Rep. David Obey revealed that the Obama administration offered to fund RTTT at the expense of food stamps,
    Miss Haycock (as well as Andrew Rotherham and other liberal profssional education reformers) have been silent. Decrying the actions or lack thereof by the AFT and NEA are hypocritical in light of their own silence.
    I
    wasn’t
    silent.
    But you were.

  26. Chris Smyr Says:

    Edlharris:

    And again you quickly fade
    into
    irrele
    vance.

    I’d like to see evidence of anywhere near 400,000 calls and emails to senators brought about by any Ed-Reform™ organization, all calling for passage of this bill at the expense of food stamps. Until you can provide it, you shouldn’t pretend that it was the “liberal profssional [sic] education reformers” that pushed for its passage.

    Also, try this sentence on for size, maybe it’ll fit this time: “I never said that the unions deserved all the blame for this, but they shouldn’t pretend they primarily serve student interests while they’re lobbying for teachers to keep their jobs.”

  27. edlharris Says:

    Back
    with
    the
    latent
    creationist-like
    reasoning
    skills.

    Obama administration.

    (Try hand coding html)

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