Interesting article in the Willamette Weekly this week on the relationship between Dr. Do Over and the Oregon Education Association, “Oregon’s teachers did not cause the state’s fiscal crisis, but because so much of their compensation comes directly from the general fund, Kitzhaber and lawmakers will balance the budget on their backs.”
You have to wonder, will they really? Kitzhaber says, “This state will not go down the road that Wisconsin has chosen,” referencing the recent roll back of some collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin to balance their budget. With Kitzhaber being a Democrat, that goes without saying.
We’re also told that Oregon’s budget is in far worse shape than Wisconsin’s, the 5th worst in the nation and that Kitzhaber intends to seek concessions from the OEA.
Richard Sanders, the new leader of the OEA says he isn’t worried as he “knows Oregonians love their schools and their teachers.”
The OEA contributed 12% of Kitzhaber’s campaign donations, some $1.1 Million to get Kitzhaber elected. That’s more than any other union in Oregon. Obviously, given the history of public unions “negotiating” with sympathetic Democrats, they expect to be taken care of in return.
Steve Griffith, a former member of the Portland School Board says, “OEA would cut off at the knees any Democrat who really wanted to reform education. The effect of OEA’s bank account is to silence a discussion about accountability that needs to be had,” showing the power wielded in Oregon by the OEA.
Kitzhaber campaigned saying, “The fact is that we need to make some fundamental changes…some ‘reforms,’ if you will, if we hope to secure the future and the funding on which that future rests.”
What sort of real concessions can Oregonians expect from the OEA and other public unions? Allen Alley, Chair of the Oregon Republican Party says of the relationship between unions and Democrats, “[People] don’t understand the level of donations—and that those donations can make driving real change really difficult.”
If Kitzhaber is serious about gaining any substantial concessions from the OEA or actually reforming education in Oregon, perhaps he should rethink his claim of “not going down the road that Wisconsin has chosen.”
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com