The Truth Tom Perez Leaked Out

This weekend, the Maryland State Education Association is having their annual convention in Ocean City. Every October, schools are closed so teachers can have a paid workday to travel to Ocean City and participate in union organizing on the taxpayers dime. That’s right, your tax dollars are paying teachers to go to Ocean City and participate in political activities. This tweet pretty much sums up today’s activities for union members:

One of those political activities was to, of course, listen to Democratic speeches. Seems that nobody bothered to add Governor Larry Hogan or any other Republican to the speaking agenda, but they did find time for U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. Perez, of course, is from Montgomery County is one of the many Democrats lining up as potential challengers to Governor Hogan in the 2018 election.

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Except Perez accidentally let the truth leak out today. As eloquently captured in a tweet from Frederick County Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater:

It’s a very interest comment isn’t it? It’s the second phrase that really gets to me. “When unions succeed, students succeed!”

The very idea, of course, that the success of students is predicated on the success of the teachers union is so outrageous, so far out there, that you almost hope that Perez was merely pandering for votes for his impending gubernatorial campaign. No serious politician, or thinker, or anybody with a pulse, can truly believe that student success in the classroom requires successful unions, do they?

What does it take to make students succeed? Dedicated teachers. Involved parents. An environment conducive to learning. Safe schools. A strong curriculum. Accountability. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

A strong union? Yeah, not so much.

But Perez’s quote is much deeper than it appears on the surface. As you know, the MSEA has been agitating all year regarding K-12 school funding. They have been peddling the lie that Governor Hogan cut K-12 spending when, as everybody knows, Governor Hogan spent more money on K-12 education than any Governor in state history.

What Perez is doing here is trying to equate the success of the union to additional funding for K-12 education, and by association the additional funding to student success. He is building the union’s case that schools need additional money in order to increase student achievement. That connection, of course, is problematic. As we know, there is no demonstrable link between higher education spending and higher levels of student achievement. And additionally, we know that few of the additional funds would actually go to classroom instruction and instead would be spent on salaries and benefits for veteran teachers since about $4 out of every $5 is spent on salaries and benefits instead of classroom instruction and infrastructure.

Tom Perez thought he was just getting a bunch of union apparatchiks excited. But he accidentally told the truth, and we can already see what his potential 2018 campaign is going to be all about.

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