A pajarito sent me an e-mail that has been circulating among teachers in a school district in Ventura County, California about the race for California Superintendent of Public Instruction. State Senator Gloria Romero is one of the leading contenders for this job, and she has quite an impressive list of educational credentials, including a Ph.D. and experience teaching at Cal State Los Angeles. However, Romero is not endorsed by the powerful teacher’s union, the California Teacher’s Association (CTA). One of the reasons why she probably did not earn the endorsement is her position on teacher accountability. She believes that student achievement should be used as a factor in evaluating teachers for raises and renewed contracts, and she also is supportive of the charter school movement. Contrast this with the CTA endorsed candidate Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, who is heavily funded by the unions.
A local CTA president sent out an e-mail to teachers informing them that Gloria Romero is leading in their internal polling among teachers. Yes, that’s right, the non-CTA endorsed candidate is ahead according the the union research. This race is important because there are three strong candidates who are likely not going to win a majority, but Romero is making a strong showing thus far. CTA is one of the strongest unions in the state, but if it’s candidate does not advance, it could be an embarrassment.
Check out the e-mails (linked 1, 2, 3) that have caused concern in Ventura County and how the teacher union establishment is handling the possibility that Gloria Romero, the candidate that they did not back, may win tomorrow. This is a primer in how unions mobilize their base, but in this case, there seems to be a disconnect between who the leadership wants to see in the state superintendent role vs. the sentiment of the rank and file teachers.