Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' New Job? Destroying Teachers Unions.

Many of Obama's former aides are quite skilled at buckraking, as Noam Scheiber reported in an excellent article in the New Republic last year. And Obama alums Anita Dunn and Jim Messina have shown themselves to be principle-less political hacks, working for the Tories across the pond.

Obama alums Robert Gibbs (press secretary), Ben LaBolt (campaign spokesperson), and and Jon Jones (digital strategist) are now taking up a new cause in their buckraking quest: destroying teachers unions.
The Incite Agency, founded by former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs and former Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt, will lead a national public relations drive to support a series of lawsuits aimed at challenging tenure, seniority and other job protections that teachers unions have defended ferociously. LaBolt and another former Obama aide, Jon Jones — the first digital strategist of the 2008 campaign — will take the lead in the public relations initiative.

The national legal campaign is being organized by Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor who told POLITICO that she has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent months to get the effort off the ground. She intends to start with a lawsuit in New York, to be filed within the next few weeks, and follow up with similar cases around the country. Her plans for the New York lawsuit were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Brown’s campaign will be modeled on the recent Vergara v. California decision, which dealt a major blow to teachers unions. In that case, a state judge earlier this month struck down California’s tenure system and other job protections embedded in state law, ruling that they deprived students of their constitutional right to a quality education because they shielded even the most incompetent teachers from dismissal. Teachers unions have said they will appeal.
Unsurprisingly, Students Matter, the group behind the Vergara decision, doesn't seem to care one bit about the imbalances in funding between poor and rich school district or the vast inequality in material conditions for students. And never mind that job protections help create a more stable workforce, which has clear benefits for students. I expect nothing different from Campbell Brown's group. 

And I almost burst out laughing after reading this paragraph:
Brown said she sees a parallel to the fight for gay marriage, noting that the legal fight around California’s Proposition 8 sparked a public conversation that she credits with changing attitudes and increasing acceptance of same-sex unions. “It entirely changed the dialogue,” she said.
We already know that Obama's Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hates job protections for teachers unions, so that Obama alums would as well is--alas--hardly surprising.

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