Chuck Muth: Teachers union gobbling for goodies

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Back in 2003, the anti-education apparatchiks who run the Nevada teachers union used their clout in the Legislature to pass a law banning teachers from being evaluated based on, you know, something so objective as how well their students performed on standard tests.

Teacher competence, you see, shouldn't be based on how well teachers teach our kids, but on how well they make our kids feel.

That was then. This is now. Now that law the teachers union foisted on an unsuspecting public has come back to bite them.

Because of the law, Nevada is unable to compete for a slot at the $4.3 billion federal "Race to the Top" trough. According to the Department of Education, if Nevada wasn't the ONLY state barring the use of test scores in evaluating the performance of public school teachers, the state could be eligible for upward of $200 million to throw down the government-run public education monopoly rathole.

So the teachers union is doing a 180. Union bosses are now saying they're willing to work with legislators to undo the damage they themselves inflicted upon the state six years ago. Which is kinda like O.J. helping the cops look for the "real killers."

Adding insult to insult, Ruben Murillo, the union chief for Clark County teachers, is now sounding like ... well, a conservative.

"It's unfortunate that the Obama administration is going further with No Child Left Behind and tying money and grants to school districts on this criteria," Murillo whined in a recent interview. "It's part of a federal takeover of our schools."

Well, duh.

Where the heck has Murillo been for the last 30 years? The federal government has been trying to take over our schools, with spectacular and regrettable success, ever since Jimmy Carter rewarded the teachers union for supporting him by creating the federal Department of Education in the first place. Hello?

And remind me again who the teachers union endorsed for president last year? Oh, yeah. That Obama guy. So let's all whip out our "World's Smallest Violins" for Mr. Murillo, shall we?

In conclusion, consider this gem of a quote from Lynn Warne, the Nevada teachers union chief, explaining why she now backs repeal of her own 2003 law: "We are reformists. We are agents of change."

No, no. Really. She actually said that. With a straight face. And when she did, she was struck down by a bolt of lightning, injuring 23 others who were standing nearby when she said it.

The only good thing coming from this brouhaha is that more and more parents are finally starting to see that the teachers union is the cause of our education problems, not the solution.

• Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at chuck@


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