This isn’t anything too shocking, it’s typical political maneuvering. Two articles caught my interest because of the contradiction by the UEA. From the first article:
The UEA’s Kuziak said the education community is fearful of repercussions for campaigning against vouchers.
“I had one of our elected legislators tell me specifically that education funding would suffer,” she said, declining to name the lawmaker.
First, I would bet that the ‘unnamed lawmaker’ is a pro-UEA lawmaker (providing their own talking point quotes – possibly Kory Holdaway, based on the second article…).
When I read the above it was clear to me that the UEA is seeding the ground for victim status if their demands aren’t met in the next session (and using the self-appointed victim status as a weapon). Fortunately, Bramble did a good job exposing the ploy:
Bramble says the anti-voucher side will label any education reform proposed by Republicans retaliation. “I think you will see several reforms introduced. And when they are introduced, those who oppose vouchers will simply come forward and they will try to pigeonhole them as retribution.”
The UEA et al. are also attempting to expand their voucher win to say that ‘the people’ are with them and anything they propose (or oppose), is ultimately the will of the people. Again, that tactic isn’t anything new, but worth looking out for.
So where does the UEA contradict it’s victim status? Here’s the key from the second article:
The UEA hasn’t decided which legislators it will oppose, said Vik Arnold, political director for the union. It plans to wait until after the upcoming session, giving legislators a chance to make nice with the union.
The anti-voucher coalition, Utahns for Public Schools, also will not disband, and will get involved in party caucus meetings and the 2008 election, Arnold said.
In other words, the UEA etc are overtly telling legislators to vote their way or else. They will be stacking caucus meetings to take out those that don’t toe the union line. At the same time, they are preemptively claiming victim status.
Frankly, I’m not disturbed that the UEA wants its revenge, but gimme a break on the victim crap. Nevertheless, I will give them credit on the tactic given the fact that the media will be a willing accomplice in promoting the victim status. Reading the articles, it is clear on which side the media stands on this issue as they gleefully push the line of “comeuppance” and “reckoning”.
Finally, remember the legislature set up a ‘do no harm fund’ when they passed the voucher bill. So where will the money in this fund go?
Plenty of interest groups will be gunning for the money, but I would like to remind legislators that that money wasn’t diverted from eduction or transportation, it was diverted from taxpayers. I would expect that the money be returned to its rightful owners.