Test-driven Reform Supporter David Vitter Is Asking Teachers for Their Money for His 2016 Run for Governor
Ain’t it funny how those whose goal is to advance their own political aspirations turn to those they stepped on not even three years ago for money to support self-serving political ambitions?
So goes it with Senator David Vitter (R-LA), who has his eyes set on becoming Louisiana governor in 2016.
In the past three days, I have received three (update: four) emails from the Vitter campaign asking me for part of my frozen teacher paycheck– this from a guy who publicly stated his “outrage” at teachers who are “against education reform.”
Now that being “against” the “reform” known as Common Core might pay off for Vitter, well, that’s a different (Vitter-serving) story.
I strongly support the Common Core standards. When you actually look at the standards, which is what Common Core is about, people who really read them–that may not be a whole, whole, whole lot– but people who actually look at them– I think they are very strong, significant, positive standards. The key is being aggressive at the state level in implementation.
Louisiana Governor Jindal had only two weeks prior come out against the very Common Core he signed Louisiana onto in May 2009. Vitter must have thought that his pro-Common Core position would ingratiate him with pro-Common Core business groups and nonprofits, thus providing him with financial support for a 2016 gubernatorial run.
His about-face attests that he likely found out otherwise– or that riding the pro-Common Core business money wave would not be enough. So much for his implying (he never says so directly) that he “read” the Common Core standards– and so much for “strongly supporting” them.
His “support” for his behind in the Louisiana governor’s mansion apparently proved “stronger.”
The first email I had from the Vitter campaign was on December 1, 2014. At the time, his campaign had not yet posted the self-promoting “Vitter for Governor 2016” logo at the top of his emails. However, it was easy enough to see through his career advancing agenda in he wrote of what he planned to do “as our next governor.”
And just as on July 31, 2014, Vitter was “strongly” pro-Common Core, in his December 1, 2014, email, he changed his “aggressive state level implementation” message to one of “listening to the public” and “fighting for local control.” (See the full text of Vitter’s December 1, 2014, email here.)
As such, he is dangling a Common Core exit in front of the public face.
However, teachers, we would do well to learn a lesson from what Vitter stated in a March 2012 email when teachers went to Baton Rouge to lobby against having their livelihoods tied to student test scores. Here is the entire email, as noted in a KATC article:
In a (sic) email release, U.S. Senator David Vitter blasts teachers for taking off school to attend committee hearings in Baton Rouge. Here is the exact verbatim from the release:
“If you want to know what’s wrong with Louisiana public education, just look at what’s going on in many Louisiana public schools today. Or rather, what’s NOT going on–namely, learning.
In East Baton Rouge, Vermillion, St. Martin, and other systems, the children are being told to stay home–no school, no learning. Why? So that their teachers can be granted a “professional development day” to lobby the legislature AGAINST education reform.
A letter to all Vermillion parish teachers made their marching orders crystal clear: “We want them [the legislators] to know that we do not agree with the [education reform] plan . . .”
As a Louisiana citizen and parent, I’m really outraged. I guess the folks behind this are making their priorities clear–forget the kids; we just care about our tenure protection and benefits.
This is exactly what’s wrong with the system. These folks steal a day of learning from the kids to lobby on the taxpayers’ dime. And what happens? They’re rewarded with a ‘professional development day’ to do it.
As taxpayers and parents, we need to push back and put the focus back on educating Louisiana’s future generations.”
The link above is to an archived copy of the KATC article. But don’t look for it on Google. On December 1, 2014, when I called David Vitter on his hypocrisy, the link went dead.
Fortunately, the Vitter campaign cannot kill archived copies of news reports. Even the 240 comments made it into archive.
Teachers, there is no reason to believe that as governor, David Vitter would support us. None. He has issued no public apology for his 2012 teacher-bashing email. Instead, he only hopes we forget and given him our money, like suckers.
If he really supported “local control” all along, like he tries to sell in his 2014-15 Common Core smooth-over, then he would have valued and supported teachers in 2012.
Note that in his December 1, 2014, campaign email, Vitter still supports high-stakes testing as the ultimate measure of “learning”– and this means that he is offering no indication that he intends to cease measuring teachers and schools based on student tests scores:
…An entrenched few in public education are trying very hard to manipulate the Common Core controversy to greatly weaken or reverse accountability measures.
That would be disastrous, turning back the clock to the failed status quo where learning in the classroom wasn’t truly measured and social promotions were common. [Emphasis added.]
Vitter is not sorry for wanting to measure teachers using student test scores, and he is not sorry regarding his 2012 remarks about teachers having time off to exercise their right to protest test-driven reform to a legislature that holds its session during the school day.
It is not like Vitter is not able to offer public apologies when he feels they will pay off. He did so in 2011, when he was caught for being involved in prostitution– for which he made TIME magazine’s Top Ten Political Sex Scandals.
Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that as governor, he would be able to drop Common Core. Vitter would have to contend with the same Chas Roemer/John White nonsense as Jindal does. A new Louisiana governor does not automatically equal a Common Core exit.
Louisiana teachers, in 2016, Vitter is not our guy.
Vitter faces his prostitution scandal at a 2011 press conference.
Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.
She is also doing some fundraising related to her second book on the history, development, and promotion of Common Core, due for release in May 2015. GoFundMe: Schneider