January 20, 2008

The Voices on Either Side

Justin Katz

Tiverton School Committee member Jan Bergandy has an excellent letter (which is unfortunately not online) in the current Sakonnet Times:

The bird-flipping spiritual leader of the NEA has not been seen in town recently but I would not be surprised if his teachings inspired the followers. This is what happens when you do not have a mind of your own. You find yourself in a place where you do not want to be and you do not know how you got there. We teach this to kids and teachers cannot get it. This would not happen if you did not lose the compass of professional ethics. For teachers the single most important rule is: "If it can harm a student — do not do it!"

Well, who am I to give advice — just a parent, taxpayer, and a teacher of 30 years. How can my humble voice compete with the great wisdom of 13 "negotiation tactics" published by your spiritual leader, the tactics faithfully followed by the worshiping masses of Tiverton teachers? But for whatever it is worth, here is my advice:

  1. Break our hearts doing for the kids more than you have ever done before (some teachers are doing just that) instead of telling us what you are not going to do for them.
  2. Lead, encourage, and inspire young teachers instead of forcing them to "work-to-rule" or making them do your dirty work (publishing the letter).
  3. Serve as role models for our kids and inspire them by your actions instead of breaking the law by going on strike, making obscene gestures during your demonstrations, planning to picket the hospital, and at your "greatest" attacking a parent using her child as a hostage.
  4. Teach the kids by example how to behave rationally. Look at the numbers (financial data) before you lead 200 intelligent people to war with their proven allies (Tiverton citizens, superintendent, and school committee) for something that does not exist (money beyond what was offered) using a strategy that can lead to your self-destruction.
  5. Your spiritual leader, just before "flipping the bird," had the moment of his greatest inspiration. He was heard exclaiming "People (addressing the demonstrating teachers) help me. I am running out of options here!" It is a pity you did not hear him. Maybe he forgot to use his magic horn. After this he left to bless other communities of Rhode Island with his teachings.

    As parents we will never forget the great things some of you are doing for our children. But let there be no mistake, as parents and taxpayers we will also never forget the harm you may try to do to even one of our children. This community should stand united to condemn the despicable actions of a group of teachers who planned and executed an attack on a parent using her child as a pawn. Every child in Tiverton is special and every child in this town is our child! Yes, Ms. Mullen, no matter how much damage control you will do in the press there will be no bargaining even one child for a contract!

The one thing that Mr. Bergandy fails to acknowledge, considering his advice, is that, were the teachers to follow it, they'd have no use for a union. If the union can't get them money beyond what is offered, what good is it? Our awashedness in Democrat shibboleths notwithstanding, it's about time we stopped pussyfooting around this reality.

Tiverton Town Council member Brian Medeiros insisted, while proposing another resolution to support the school committee, that his action "is not in any way anti-teacher or anti-union," but on the latter count, it should be. Have we no trust in ourselves to treat teachers fairly if there are no bullhorn-wielding and politically powerful thugs behind them?

Let's take this ordeal as an opportunity for self-edification. Tiverton NEA President Amy Mullen explained the following to the Providence Journal:

Because of the committee's adverse reaction to [bird-flipping Assistant Executive Director Patrick] Crowley, however, Mullen said that the Tiverton union has distanced itself from him.

"The School Committee reactions and feelings toward Mr. Crowley made it very difficult for us to get anywhere" in negotiations, she said.

The presence of Mr. Crowley on the scene was only an outward manifestation of the illness within — infecting the entire state. Teaching should not be a unionized profession, because union goals, practices, and priorities are anathematic to those of education.

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is pat crowley a teacher?or ever been one?i have no idea -but his entries on commie central(the other blog)give some insight into his way of thinking(?)when he refers to a scumbag like lucie burdick a "rock star"-i heard this woman speak and she is disgusting -talk about hate speech,it comes out of the lefties like diarrhea-i will admit i truly hate steven brown-the rest of them i just don't care for

Posted by: joe at January 20, 2008 12:24 PM

I'm not sure that anyone knows exactly what Pat Crowley is other than a carpetbagging, finger-flipping, bullhorn carrying, duck suit wearing, presidential impersonator with anger management issues.

As far as I know, he's never been a teacher, although he is apparently paid more for his "work" by the NEA-RI than virtually all the teachers which he claims to represent. I'm sure they're just thrilled about what their forced union dues go to pay for (actually, I'm very sure they're not, because I asked a few of them).

I remember being very surprised when I first found out that he was a paid employee of the NEA-RI, and not just a volunteer. In Rhode Island, activists are a dime a dozen.

Posted by: Will at January 20, 2008 12:51 PM

Note that he's pictured in today's ProJo.com RI section- sans duck costume - as being part of RI Jobs with Justice at a "pro-immigrant" rally.

Jobs with Justice is a national organization that is largely (if not almost solely) funded by unions, and is designed to serve as a front group for the unions, intended to put a "community" / "social justice" PR face on the unions' agenda (e.g., JwJ typically engineers demonstrations and show hearings in support of union organizing drives).

The RI public sector union-welfare industry alliance is alive and well ... in fact, it's just ducky!

Posted by: Tom W at January 20, 2008 2:27 PM

A perfect letter. It should be submitted to and published in the ProJo so it can be read by all those who put children first. Justin, do you know where Mr. Bergandy teaches?

Posted by: mikeinRI at January 20, 2008 8:05 PM

Umass Dartmouth.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 20, 2008 8:14 PM

tom w-jobs with justice had as its founding director matt jerzyk-what a surprise-its current director is one rachel miller an open borders internationalist-jerzyk is connected with more organizations than anyone i can think-he is a very intelligent individual,but he is also arrogant-thinking we on the right are knuckle-dragging idiots-so he explains his game plan in interviews and rants-read an interview he gave on the campus living wage movement and you'll know what he's about -just google matt jerzyk and campus living wage-his buddy david segal is also an arrogant know it all pup-jerzyk,crowley,ari savitzky(a much slicker operator),alex moore,segal and some others are all on the other blog-they spew out some of the most hateful material this side of the daily kos-in the 60's they'd have been waving viet cong flags-they wouldn't make a pimple on the rear end of the vietnamese communist forces who i served against-those people were the real deal -they were serving their side-i served ours-i hold no grudge against them-to think that these brewpub revolutionaries compare themselves to real world ones is a joke-my daughter was a teacher for nine years in rhode island public schools and is currently on a teaching fellowship elsewhere-she was glad she didn't have to join nea-she tolerated the aft who are not nearly as bad,but she resented the use of her dues to support candidates she despised-the ones who support partial birth abortion and gun control for example

Posted by: joe at January 20, 2008 11:00 PM

Excellent letter, Mr. Bergandy.

Posted by: Monique at January 20, 2008 11:11 PM


First, thank you for your service to our country!

Jobs with Justice is a national organization; Jerzyk et als. I guess having served as its RI homeboy.

There is a lot of interbreeding on the left. You get those naive / idealistic kids from college that run around with berets and Che t-shirts (unions like to recruit organizers from this demographic and then run them ragged for a few years for low pay, exploiting their idealism).

As Churchill (or was it Bastiat?) observed, many grow wiser as they grow older and discover the joys of FICA and progressive taxation. Some don't.

It's interesting how many of them come from comfortable backgrounds - and remain there throughout their leftist "career" - since they've never had to really work to achieve the American dream of upward mobility they don't understand that resentment that comes from people engaged in honest labor finding that much of it is siphoned off to support freeloaders and leeches.

Back to interbreeding. A lot of these "community" groups are funded by unions, to make it appear that union efforts have "grassroots" community support. And a lot of these groups - Ocean State Action; Kids Count; Jobs with Justice; etc. - have largely the same membership.

This makes sense - ultimately labor unions and "activist" / leftist groups are all modeled on collectivism, as is the Democrat Party. Individuals don't matter, nor does individual liberty. What matters is the collective and "the community" - and individuals are merely ants in an ant colony whose sole purpose is to do the bidding of the collectives' leaders (think the pigs in Animal Farm).

Of course that mindset that currently prevails in RI, which is why we have ever-fewer "worker ants" and more and more "[welfare] queen ants." And this is why this colony is headed for fiscal collapse.

Posted by: Tom W at January 21, 2008 10:55 AM

Joe, the paragraph (or enter) key is your friend. Just because Matt Jerzyk uses it sometimes doesn't mean it's socialist.

Posted by: rhody at January 21, 2008 1:36 PM

rhody-LOL-i tend to write the way i speak,which is why i'll never be an English teacher-i know this is a major fault of mine as well as diverting into side paths during an explanation of something
tom w-i meant to say that jerzyk was the founding director of RI jobs with justice-he is also on the board of PrYSM,a southeast asian activist group which opposes deportation of southeast asian convicted felons-and he is the political director of young democrats-and an seiu organizer concentrating on the wannabe state employee daycare providers-and he is involved with laborvision,etc ad nauseum-you're right-the same people show up in the leadership of many groups,but the rank and file members are not necessarily the same-check this out- ari savitsky(interestingly bella abzug's maiden name)is an official of the ri foundation which awarded-guess who-matt jerzyk a fellowship in 2003-and savitsky is also a blog staff member on ri's future-more incest here than in dogpatch-now for the good news-walter"slim"coleman,a chicago activist "clergyman"is in ri to support mynor montufar and his girlfriend in fighting deportation-he was the one who held a mexican female fugitive in his church as a "sanctuary" case for about a year until ICE put the habeas grabus on her in LA-when i was assigned to INS in chicago,coleman was an "appalachian poor white" activist leader-we had an agent who had been a kentucky state trooper and he said "that boy is no damn hillbilly"-jimmy was right-coleman was a rich white kid from texas who graduated harvard before becoming reincarnated as a "poor boy from the hills"-what a 3 dollar bill phony!!and you're right about the children of privilege-they wouldn't know a hard time if it ran over them,but they have very strong opinions about that which they've never experienced in their coddled lives(read david segal here)-it's different than people like scott malloy or joe almeida,both of whom i disagree with politically but i respect as men who paid lots of dues in life and actually worked hard for a living-your anthill analogy is very good-i've used something similar on talk radio
take care,

Posted by: joe at January 21, 2008 8:48 PM
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