Louisiana Federation Of Teachers Uses Isaac As Excuse To Trash School Choice

It’s a bit of a headscratcher, but the teachers’ union in Louisiana with a reputation for slightly more dignified and reasonable tactics chose the landing of Hurricane Isaac as a pretext to launch a frontal Twitter assault on the proponents of Louisiana’s school voucher program. The Louisiana Federation of Teachers fired off the following string of missives from its Twitter account.

It started innocently enough…

And then they got to the point, which was to shamelessly use Isaac as a prop for a “defense” of legacy public schools…

Next came a whack on the head of the Louisiana Black Alliance for Educational Options, a prominent school-choice group which was instrumental in garnering support for Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education reform package. BAEO might have thought they were going to get away with blowing LFT off in response to their attack on vouchers based on the hurricane; instead, they merely invited a full-on firefight…

Shortly thereafter came a supportive tweet about the basic idea of communities pulling together during emergencies, which LFT used to attack private schools which take vouchers…

Then came another tweet by a third party looking for information about schools and the hurricane that LFT used to press the attack forward…

And one more tweet repeating the message that the educational status quo needs to be preserved, because…y’know, hurricanes! At this point, BAEO was fed up and got drawn into the fight…

 

And a little extra…

At that point, the battle was joined.

And then things got a little more aggressive…

BAEO wanted to make the point that churches and religious charities and other private operators of schools have assisted in disaster recovery, but LFT would have none of it…

And then came a retort to BAEO’s earlier tweet about charity…

And then some help from a third party…

Then, some sanctimony…

And then a torrent of barking…

And then back to pimping the hurricane…

And more insults hurled at BAEO, which ultimately engendered another response…

 

BAEO probably deserved these two shots…

And then some more…

…before diving straight into the gutter – which might have been the intention all along:

The attack being made is based on a report that a textbook some schools approved for the state’s voucher program are using has a line which describes the history of the Klan…

“the [Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross… In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.” – from Bob Jones University Press American history textbook

Of course, that the KKK preached civic reform and morality and used the cross is factual. It did so. And the Klan without question was considered respectable in some circles – in fact, the first unabashedly Progressive Democrat president Woodrow Wilson was a big fan of the KKK – and left-wing saint Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood, spoke at Klan rallies.

These things are true. They don’t mean that the Klan isn’t a detestable organization. The Klan was a lot like the Nazi Party which appears to have merged with it on the American lunatic fringe in modern days; both styled themselves as organizations primarily devoted to civic and political improvement and embraced goals which most of the community could get behind. Their methods and the other goals they embraced are what made both organizations monstrous.

Teaching students that not everything the Klan did as it rose to a certain prominence in the period between the Civil War and the Great Depression involved lynchings and murders is not an endorsement of the Klan. It in fact provides students with some perspective on how unabashedly evil organizations like the KKK can garner support in a community, and this happens quite often. Hizbollah and Hamas do a great deal of benevolent work for the communities in Lebanon and Gaza within which they have influence, and because of that benevolent work they can then indoctrinate the kids in those communities into a jihadist mentality which creates suicide bombers. A little education that the Klan did that very thing here in America before it was discredited in this country isn’t evidence of miseducation or the creation of little Klansmen.

And furthermore, the fact that a small number of voucher schools might be using that textbook – or even teaching that line out of that textbook, which is hardly guaranteed (anybody who went to school knows that not every word of every textbook actually goes into classroom teaching) – does not mean the entire voucher program is geared toward supportive messages of the Ku Klux Klan. And it particularly does not mean that BAEO supports Klan indoctrination with state dollars – the only evidence for such an insane assertion would have to come from BAEO contacting prospective voucher parents and suggesting they send their children to schools teaching out of the textbook in question, which BAEO hasn’t done.

Regardless of all this, LFT was so impressed with themselves for digging up the KKK angle that they decided to blast it to every friendly Twitter account they could think of…

And so on.

Asked for details, LFT even admitted the flimsy nature of its attacks…

For a little extra flavor, LFT accused BAEO of being Uncle Toms or Oreos, or something…

Then LFT decided to drag Louisiana Education Superintendant John White into the mess…

A little provincialism…

And a little more insult to BAEO…

Followed by a tweet to an earlier interlocutor which put this entire line of squabbling into the category of what Harry Reid did to Mitt Romney on the question of his tax returns…

The pattern is the same, no? Make a salacious, unsupportable and fundamentally dishonest attack on someone you disagree with, and then demand that they answer that attack on your terms.

LFT was pretty happy with themselves for coming up with that one, so they hit the accelerator on it. But first, BAEO countered with a statement of their own…

For that retort, BAEO and its Louisiana director Eric Lewis was subjected to a blistering assault by the union…

And another interlocutor came along, after which the Harry Reid line of reasoning was redeployed…

Notice that LFT tore up BAEO for misspelling “delusional,” and then couldn’t spell “their” correctly.

Sooner or later, bystanders were going to make comments about all of this – and the ones who didn’t respond as LFT wanted were treated about like you’d expect them to be treated by union bosses…

Back to the Harry Reid sliming…

Bib Jones?

Lewis then figured, since he was being cast as an Uncle Tom, he’d play the race card right back at the LFT – which is of course run by Steve Monaghan and Mary Patricia Wray, who are people of pallor…

Things began to escalate from there…

Lindsey Burke is with the Heritage Foundation. Once she was involved, Heritage’s Lachlan Markey jumped into the fray with a blog post…

A major state-level teachers union accused a group promoting school choice for African-American families of supporting the notorious white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan in a series of statements on Thursday.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers accused the Louisiana Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) of advancing a “pro-KKK agenda,” in the words of one tweet sent from the union’s official Twitter account. Another claimed that the group “endorses teaching that the KKK is good.”

The BAEO works to “increase access to high-quality educational options for Black children by actively supporting parental choice policies and programs that empower low-income and working-class Black families,” according to its website.

The teachers union asked BAEO over Twitter whether it supports teaching positive messages about the KKK. Unsatisfied with the group’s response, it unleashed a barrage of tweets claiming that BAEO endorses such teachings. Needless to say, those claims are false.

Markey got a quote from Kevin Chavous, a national director with the American Federation for Children and a BAEO alumnus…

This is an absolutely appalling move by an organization that has taken desperation to new and unseen heights. BAEO and its allies fight every single day to give children from low-income families access to the best educational options possible. We fight to overcome the institutional bigotry that has sentenced thousands of black children across the country to a substandard education. It’s a sad day when an organization like the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, which says it cares about kids, is among the organizations using degrading, race-baiting tactics to demean the very people who are doing their best to give kids hope.

Meanwhile, LFT was doing battle with their Twitter critics…

And on and on, repeating the fallacy that support for school choice is somehow tantamount to support for the Klan…

It went on and on, and on and on, all day. Click here if you want to see more, but it’s pretty repetitive.

Naturally, the fact this is Twitter means it’s not exactly substantive discourse. But the tactic of attempting to tar a black school-choice group with the Ku Klux Klan while defending a failed system which does more damage to black kids than anyone in Louisiana is so breathtakingly odious as to merit mention.

The LFT managed to hold its fire while its heretofore more intellectually bankrupt sister union, the Louisiana Association of Educators, attempted to bully private schools into dropping out of the voucher program using the naked threat of harrassment by lawsuit, and at the time it looked as though at least someone on the side of the educational status quo had some standards of decency.

It’s clear those hopes were in vain. Wray and Monaghan will clearly stop at nothing to drag those who disagree with them into the muck. They might style themselves as educators, but the fact is they’re union goons. Nothing more. And the faster they’re marginalized and removed from influence in educational policy in this state, the better off we’ll all be.

 



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