The upcoming Culver City school board election for the first time includes 3 great candidates who enjoy the support of the United Parents of Culver City, they are Kathy Paspalis, Sue Robins, and Steve Levin. UPCC is a parent’s group intent on improving CCUSD for the benefit of students. They are guided by the concerns of parents on educational issues and things like school safety. But it is different from PTA and booster clubs in that it is allowed to be politically active like the chamber of commerce, unions and other groups that influence CCUSD.
I speak only for myself, but I observe that UPCC endorsements have predictably triggered attacks by those who are hostile toward this year old group of involved parents. This hostility toward UPCC is illogical as I will explain.
UPCC’s detractors are a pretty small group primarily if not solely concerned with union influence. Check it out, that’s who they are. They are threatened by parents who dare ‘organize’. Unions (organized labor) are objecting to parents organizing. I hope the hypocrisy is lost on no one.
Even the mighty ‘United Teachers Los Angeles’ Union President Warren Fletcher is compelled to try to sway the Culver City election with an outrageous cross border attack against UPCC. In a recent letter Fletcher squeals “A ‘parents union’ is out to take over the CCUSD School Board and put into place an anti-union agenda” and “Do not let the well-funded forces that unfairly target teacher unions win on November 5”.
Ridiculous. Somebody should inform Warren that UPCC has never targeted or taken any action whatsoever attacking any teacher’s union and as a registered PAC, UPCC’s finances are public. Check it out, I wish UPCC was well funded. He should research his own comments or support his assertion with facts.
It would be great if Culver City parents, voters, and, yes, school union supporters would take some time to honestly consider the validity and motivations of UPCC members and that of detractors who accuse the group of having mysterious funding and an “anti-union” agenda. I hope most people are wise enough to look into these accusations and invariably find nothing supporting them except a primitive fear of parents having influence where they have traditionally had none.
The roots of this divide are obvious since UPCC formed during last year’s particularly senseless union attack on parent-funded adjuncts in Culver City schools. UPCC stood against it because it was not in the best interest of the kids. That’s all. That’s what UPCC was formed to do. Unions and their supporters, incredulous over this new form of resistance have flung baseless accusations and innuendo ever since, like the UTLA letter. These reflexive and ultimately self-destructive actions by unions and their supporters highlight a very real disconnect. That disconnect is between unions and the evolving relationship of involved parents and public schools. In short, union attacks on UPCC are stupid. Here’s why;
The fight over parent funded adjuncts was one issue. Forcing unionization on the adjuncts was not in the best interests of students. However sadly, Culver City school unions (even unions from other cities!) have chose to villainize their natural ally, namely involved parents, over this one issue. This is misguided because there are many more issues where interests of teachers and school employees are the same as our children’s. In those cases UPCC would predictably come down heavily on the union side. It’s that simple.
I don’t know of any parent who wants CCUSD teachers to be paid less than competitive wages. Obviously, we want our kids to have the best teachers. It is common sense. I want the schools to be safe, well maintained, stimulating work places. I think CCUSD workers feel the same way. In fact, when real teachers and workers, (not union cheerleaders) talk to me about UPCC there is none of the rancor and paranoia some union leadership demonstrate. Again, maybe that leadership is out of touch and should look beyond paranoia.
My own opinion, Bryan Tjomsland - UPCC member.