The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

July 20, 2011
Letter writing campaign on behalf of CTA backfires
Meyer713.JPGWe knew we'd get some strong reaction to Tom Meyer's recent cartoon slamming the deal that lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown snuck through the end of the session on behalf of the influential California Teachers Association.

Did we expect a letter writing campaign?

No, but it's further proof the cartoons are among the most effective forms of commentary. And another good reason to run the cartoon again.

As you might recall, the CTA managed to get teacher protection provisions included in a last-minute budget trailer bill, as The Bee's Kevin Yamamura reported late last month.

No one blames the CTA for fighting hard for its members. But many (including The Bee's editorial board) have wondered why lawmakers would approve such a measure, given all their rhetoric about "realignment" and letting "locals" handle local decisions.

If school districts face further cuts this year and yet teachers are protected, what will the districts do? Reduce the length of the school year?

Meyer posed that question in his cartoon, and within days, we had received hundreds of letters likely ginned up by the CTA or its supporters. We published a few on our letters pages that, based on our judgment, reflected the writer's own thoughts, as opposed to those on a form letter.

One of the instigators appears to be Dean Ramser, a teacher in Bellflower. He sent this message out and, for some reason, cc'd us:

This offensive cartoon ran today in the Sac Bee and SF Chron. Let's flood them with letters! 

As usual, such campaigns tend to backfire. Today, we ran a letter from a writer who received an email from the CTA saying she express her outrage. Instead of doing so, she wrote this to us:

I am outraged that every time the overpaid, self-serving, self-important CTA union bureaucrats get attacked, they try to turn it into an attack on teachers. CTA does not represent students, period. For that matter, it does not even truly represent teachers.

In my view, CTA does represent teachers. It is unfortunate, however, that so many of them would reflexively engage in a campaign aimed at stifling a particular point of view.
 

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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