Saturday, February 10, 2018

Educrats across Texas throw a HILARIOUS Tantrum


"If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them."
Ecclesiastes 5:8

A few days ago, Empower Texans put out a call for whistleblowers to report illegal electioneering at various ISD's.

Hilarity ensued.

First, Texas Observer:
I will vote in support of public education in the interest of the more than 5 million Texas school children.”

That’s the oath Texas Educators Vote shopped to public school districts across the state last year as part of the teacher coalition’s campaign for school board resolutions that promote voting among eligible students and staff. The group’s pledge, and the idea that public schools might promote voting to the extent that they even transport students and staff to and from the polls, was so hyper-partisan and offensive to some Texas conservatives that they asked state Attorney General Ken Paxton to declare school district attempts to encourage voting illegal “electioneering.”

That resulted in a nonbinding legal opinion Paxton issued last month, in which he questioned whether school districts that promote or facilitate voting are serving any “educational purpose.” As Quorum Report first noted last week, Paxton’s opinion gave the arch-conservatives at Empower Texans just the creative spark they needed to launch the “ISD Whistleblower Project,” which asked teachers to confidentially rat out educators who dare to promote voting on campus.

This week Twitter responded with the #blowingthewhistle hashtag, which public education supporters used in thousands of tweets to mock Empower Texans while simultaneously elevating public school teachers as selfless, unsung heroes. “I am #blowingthewhistle on teachers who sneak and give students lunch money when their accounts are at $0,” tweeted Devon Bradley, a teacher at Crosby Elementary School. Non-teachers chimed in, too. “I’m #blowingthewhistle on my wife for spending every free moment for the better part of last year helping one of her Kindergarten students get hearing aids,” wrote @ColinHildinger.
And the Trib:
Laura Yeager founded Texas Educators Vote in fall 2015 to spur local educators to practice what they preached. Why, she wondered, were Texas teachers talking about the importance of political participation in class, but not always modeling that behavior themselves?

More than two years later, her civic engagement effort has stirred up a right-wing maelstrom, leading conservative organizations and some powerful elected officials to question whether it's breaking the law.

Headed up by the influential group Empower Texans, adversaries say the educators’ organization, and others like it, might be using illegal tactics to boost liberal policies. Yeager counters that her group is merely trying to promote voting — and is only drawing backlash because staunch conservatives are worried public education-focused voters will unseat their candidates.

Some public education advocates allege that Empower Texans has had its eye on teachers' groups since last year, when the Texas Legislature's failure to reach a deal on a sweeping school finance overhaul left many educators across the state fuming. Education groups pledged to take that anger to the polls.

Since its early days, Texas Educators Vote, along with several partner groups, has been promoting a version of its “culture of voting” resolution. That document suggests school boards encourage students and employees to vote by implementing “no cost” incentives, including driving students and staff to polling places if district policy allows. More than 100 school boards in the state have signed on to some version of the proposalwhich — like Texas Educators Vote — doesn't back any particular party or candidates. The group on its website does ask supporters to vote “in support of the more than 5.4 million Texas school children.”

Conservative groups in general and Empower Texans in particular are deeply suspicious of the resolution, which they allege promotes electioneering on the taxpayers’ dime.

“Voting in mass, they would influence statewide office and state legislative races. Locally, the combined voter block would have the mass to virtually guarantee approval of tax ratification elections and bond propositions. All it takes is registration, indoctrination and mobilization,” Tom Fabry, treasurer of the Frisco Tea Party, wrote for Empower Texans in November. “And it’s all being done under the guise of ‘civic responsibility.’”


Later that fall, Yeager said, she became aware that [Empower Texans] was submitting records requests to school districts across the state in what she called an effort at intimidation.


At least some of those inquiries appear to be sparked by concerns about Scott Milder, a longshot Republican challenger to conservative favorite Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Milder — who founded a public education advocacy group with his wife, Leslie, in 2004 but stepped down from the organization’s helm Nov. 22 to focus on his campaign — is an explicit target of Empower Texans. In explaining the reason for its public records requests, the group has cited complaints from teachers that Milder’s campaign newsletter was disseminated across a school district.

Milder’s group, Friends of Texas Public Schools, is one of Texas Educators Vote’s partners.

Troy Reynolds, the founder of Texans for Public Education and an administrator in Splendora ISD, said his district received several records requests from Empower Texans, including one specifically regarding Milder and one asking for communications including words like “election,” “cross-over” and “primary.”

Reynolds called those efforts a “bullying technique” — and a waste of taxpayer resources.

“[Dan Patrick] is spending thousands of public school man hours doing opposition research for himself,” Reynolds said. “They know that they’re hampering our day-to-day operations.
LOL, think we've struck a nerve?!?

It's also hilarious that they're objecting to what is, essentially, political opposition research 101.

If you're interested in more, check out the twitter hashtag #blowingthewhistle.

Bottom Line: It's amazing how thin-skinned bureaucrats making six-figure salaries to propagandize vulnerable children can be....

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