Faces of Neoliberalism: The War on Teachers | PartII

By Ryan Grim and Joy Resmovits
August 4, 2014

WASHINGTON — Every day throughout the summer of 2006, seemingly without end, things just kept getting worse for Washington Republicans. Iraq was spiraling out of control, President George W. Bush was at the depth of his unpopularity. Congressional Republicans were mired in scandal. One was even caught sending dirty instant messages to young boys.

What followed was the Democratic wave of 2006, which handed Congress to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, followed by a second wave ridden by Barack Obama into the White House. Pundits talked about the end of the Republican Party, or at best, a permanent rump status.

“I remember this point in Bush’s presidency. I kept a list of Cook and Rothenberg’s ‘toss up’ races. That list tripled in six months from January,” said one GOP operative who wondered where his place in the permanently Democratic Washington would be.

Eight years later, he’s surprised by the answer: Fighting alongside former Obama administration officials against a common enemy — labor unions. He’s referring to former top White House aides Robert Gibbs and Ben LaBolt, who have signed on to battle teachers unions in a series of lawsuits across the country, aligning themselves with Republican operatives who no longer worry the Obama whiz kids and their army of small donors will wipe them off the map.

“We are about to hold more House seats than we ever have. We will take the Senate,” said the GOP official, who asked not to be named to preserve his business options. “The future is bright for us. Shit, we may even take on the teachers unions with Obama campaign operatives-turned-lobbyists.”

Through their firm, The Incite Agency, Labolt and Gibbs are supporting former CNN anchor Campbell Brown’s fight against teacher tenure. Brown is wading into education politics through a group she calls the Partnership for Education Justice, which aims to tackle teachers’ work protections by taking the fight to court. A week ago, her group filed a lawsuit in New York state that organized local families as plaintiffs in an effort to have tenure deemed unconstitutional.

“We are in a war, not a fight,” Brown said in July at a charter schools convention in Las Vegas. “This is not partisan, we don’t care what side of the aisle they’re on. … This is simply right versus wrong.”

Gibbs’ former co-workers saw it the same way. When he signed on with Brown, he was working with the Democratic firm New Partners. His liberal colleagues reacted angrily when news of the marriage surfaced, and the American Federation of Teachers made its displeasure known.

Gibbs and LaBolt had launched The Incite Agency in June 2013. It was housed within New Partners, but had its own employees and clients, Gibbs said, describing what is a fairly common business relationship in Washington.


To read the rest of this article on HuffPo, click here.


Blogger’s note:

The two-pronged war against teachers and unions has now been joined by the neoliberal wing of the Democratic party.

Teacher tenure means a commitment to our teachers and students and assures them continuity and stability. It ensures that this part of the workforce is stable and uninterrupted and that our kids can count on having well-trained, well-paid teachers with and experience and supportive work environment that promotes excellence.

This constant war on teachers has devalued the profession, caused mass unemployment in a vital sector, and done absolutely nothing to improve the quality of education. It’s done quite the opposite and our kids continue to lose out.

Robert Gibbs and his associates are earning blood money through these union-busting efforts. That blood is the teachers’ and our kids’. Democrats engaging in union-busting in this way is antithetical to everything the Democratic party stands for. Who among elected Democrats has objected to this? Anyone? Are those crickets I hear?

Shame!

To read Part I of this ongoing conversation on neoliberalism, click here.


 

Curated from www.huffingtonpost.com

  • Ben Franklin

    It won’t be Robert Gibbs or any Republican who brings down teachers unions. Vergara v California is winding it’s way through our court system and most legal pundits I have talked to about it thinks it will survive appeal all the way through the SCOTUS.

    I can see where the Democratic party would be very concerned about Gibbs and Vergara v California. After all, without the large campaign dollars sent to Democratic politicians via the teachers unions, their choke hold on California politics might significantly weaken.

    Meanwhile, the middle class and minority students are breathing a sigh of relief. As a fellow California resident(just down the road from you on the ocean), my kids have been going to private school since age 4, though now that they are of primary education age, I keep them enrolled in the K12 program so that I get something back for the tax dollars they are taking from me anyway. I look forward to the day when I can send my children back to public school with a realistic expectation of a quality education.

    • FC White

      Two years later…HA HA—Vergara was reversed on appeal. Good!

      Why did this happen? Because the anti-teacher/anti-public education right-wing, Koch Brother funded thugs went JUDGE SHOPPING in California and found “their purchase”: arguably the MOST backward, reactionary, far-right extremist—and pathetically obtuse—judge in the state and knew, right from the start, that this miscreant and poor excuse for a unbiased jurist would buy the billionaire funded, labor hating plaintiff’s case Hook, Line and Sinker. (Or “stinker” which fittingly describes this ludicrous suit that should have been dismissed as frivolous immediately after a cursory review.)

      Also, LOL, who are these so-called “legal pundits” that you supposedly “have talked to about it?” They either don’t exist or they’re as moronic as the nimrod of a “judge” who ruled in favor of the Public Education Haters.

      They sound about as real as Donald Trump’s “absolute proof” he supposedly had in hand from his “investigators” he claimed he sent to Hawaii in 2011, showing definitively that President Obama wasn’t born in the USA.

      If you want to end the proud tradition of free, public education for ALL children in the United States of America—where 90% of parents enroll their children, and where 85% of those parents are satisfied or very satisfied with their local public school according to EVERY single Gallup Poll survey done on this, every year since 1985—just come out and say it.

      Stop hiding behind the bullshit you public school haters usually rely on, all of which has been completely discredited starting with the definitive Stanford CREDO study—which, ironically, was largely funded by public school hating billionaires who were privately shocked at the results—which determined that only 17% of charter “schools” performed better than public ones and that 40% were, in the words of the study itself “significantly worse than public schools.”

      Shove that in your Dumbo Pipe and smoke it. Don’t worry: We all KNOW that a person like you most definitely inhales…

      • Ben FrankIin

        Watching you celebrate a political court ruling against California minorities is like watching rioters celebrate as they set their neighborhood on fire. In the case of California minorities vs Teachers Unions, your party sided with unions, as if there would be no political fallout. Stupid people are funny.

  • JHWBB

    Just read this, and I have to suggest that a very important face that is missing from this coverage is Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education.

    • Oh, I’m getting to him… 🙂 Probably in another two to three weeks, once my daughter is settled into her new schedule at school.