Cindy Barnard, The president of Taxpayers for Public Education's responds to Mark Baisley's blog piece, Entitlements for Teachers.
In response to Mark Baisley's comments on his blog, I have posted the following on the DC Republican Facebook page: Mr. Baisley, I would like to correct the inaccurate statements you made in your blog.
1. The Board of Education “reduced spending by $40 million,” Correction: The BOE did not reduce spending, the State decreased funding and district employees made the appropriate adjustments. However, over the past two years while funding has been slashed at our public schools, neighborhood and charter, the district’s fund balance has grown by $40 million. As a financially conservative Republican, I believe in maximizing scarce resources and utilizing funds in the most prudent and efficient manner. This does not seem to be happening.
It seems the board is attempting to dismantle an education system of proven quality.
2. The BOE, “crafted a merit pay plan.” Correction: The Douglas County School District has had a merit pay plan in place long before the current board took office. The DC Federation of Teachers was working collaboratively with the Superintendent, her staff and the BOE to create a revitalized pay for performance system. However, the citizens of Douglas County voted to not fund the plan. Therefore, the plan is pushed back and is not yet crafted.
3. The BOE, “implemented a voucher program (challenged in court by the ACLU).” Correction: The illegal voucher program was challenged by a group of Douglas County citizens (Republicans, Democrats and independents), as well as the ACLU & Americans United. The plan was never implemented because a conservative Republican judge found the program in violation of six constitutional arguments.
What is interesting is Douglas County citizens donated less than 1% of the $599,700 spent, to date, to fight the illegal voucher program. It begs the question, Do Douglas County citizens really want the program?
4. “In the case of public education the primary customer is the parents.” To the contrary, the primary customer is the student. By the Board’s action it seems their true customer is not the student or even the parent, but interests outside Douglas County.
5. “Only the wealthy can have enough money to dine in a restaurant.” Same is true with the voucher plan, a tax subsidy for the wealthy.
6.”The union values your dues, 70% of which goes directly to the Democratic party.” Wrong again, 39.6% of DC Federation of Teachers dues, go back to AFT national headquarters. Of which, a substantial amount comes back to DC in the form of training and development. This successful, award winning collaboration has occurred for years and is one of the many reasons that Douglas County schools continue to be the top performing schools in the state. Board President Carson has spoken often at Republican breakfasts stating how fortunate Douglas County schools are to have such a collaborative relationship with the union.
7. “…candidates endorsed by the union.” Correction: the DC Federation of Teachers did not endorse any candidates. This was a fabrication by the three Republican candidates. This fabrication shows a complete lack of integrity and character.
Mr. Baisley, if your blog is to be believed, please check your facts.