Some More “half” Truths on the PSEA

The Tribune-Democrat features an editorial by a PSEA member in which he calls Matt Brouillette’s commentary “a hodgepodge of distortions, half-truths and unadulterated flapdoodle”. I have no idea what flapdoodle is, but it is ironic how many “half-truths” the writer uses in his own editorial.

  • “It is the law and not the PSEA, which compels teachers to pay a fee to the union. Except the PSEA pressures school districts to collect these fees, and it is quite clear how active the PSEA is fighting any changes to this law.
  • “Is it Brouillette’s contention that each individual, bargaining for himself or herself, could achieve a fair and equitable contract?” Of course – 89% of Pennsylvania private sector employees do, as they are not represented by unions. And 22 states grant teachers and all workers the “right to work,” making union fees an option. It has been noted that these states have faster economic growth, comparable teacher pay, and similar or better academic results.
  • The PSEA lobbies for … The author lists a number of things (taxpayer funded preschool, more spending, smaller classes) that – although they won’t lead to improvements in our schools – appear to be “for the kids”. He doesn’t mention that the PSEA lobbies against parental choice, against funding for cyber schools, for limiting charter schools, against limits on teacher strikes – thing which benefit students, but not the PSEA.
  • In 1977, the state’s contribution to your school district’s budget was 54 percent. That is completely incorrect; the local share was 54% in 1977, vs. 40% from the state. More importantly, the small increase in the local share (now 60%) is not due to state or federal cuts. As our Policy Brief on the PSEA highlights, over the past 20 years state spending on public schools in PA increased 56%, and federal spending increased 110%, after adjusting for inflation. However, local spending has increased 92% (resulting in a 89% increase in property taxes) in inflation-adjusted dollars, all at time when enrollment has been stagnant.
  • Not one dollar of PSEA dues is given to a candidate for public office. It is true that union dues cannot be contributed directly to a candidate’s campaign, but unions can (and do) use dues to endorse candidates, run newspaper and radio ads in support of them, “get out the vote” for candidates, and send mailers supporting candidates. In fact, I event got such a mailer from the PSEA supporting Obama/Biden, which I scanned and posted on this very blog.

How about that for flapdoodle?