Wednesday, September 10, 2003

"I See Your True Colors Shining Through" ...

Get a load of this article in SFGate:

Two teachers unions split on whether Democrats should have skipped debate for voucher vote
NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, September 10, 2003

One teacher's union said Wednesday that two Democratic presidential candidates can't be faulted for missing a crucial House vote on school vouchers, while another criticized the no-shows.

House Republican leaders scheduled a vote on their plan to spend $10 million on private school vouchers for students in the District of Columbia on Tuesday night -- the same time the Congressional Black Caucus was hosting a debate for the candidates in nearby Baltimore.

The black caucus and almost all Democrats are opposed to the GOP voucher plan and were forced to choose between attending the debate or voting. Caucus Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., asked the caucus members to remain in Washington, but he and the two Democratic House members seeking the presidency -- Reps. Dick Gephardt of Missouri and Dennis Kucinich of Ohio -- decided to attend the debate.

The Republicans kept the 15-minute vote open for 40 minutes to break a tie and the voucher plan eventually passed by a single vote. The vote came at 8:23 p.m.; the debate got under way at 8 p.m.

National Education Association spokeswoman Anjetta McQueen said the union is upset with the Republican leadership's "poor display of democracy" in scheduling the vote when many members planned to be out of town. But she was also critical of all 17 members who missed the vote -- 10 Democrats and seven Republicans.

"We're questioning why, if people are saying that education is their priority, they missed this important vote," McQueen said.

Charlotte Fraas, legislative director for the American Federation of Teachers, said her group isn't blaming Gephardt and Kucinich for failing to stop the voucher plan.

"I wouldn't want to lay that at the feet, frankly, of the presidential candidates," Fraas said. "It's unfortunate. This is a presidential year and obviously a lot of these members have to be performing two duties."

The two unions oppose using public money for private education.

Anjetta McQueen could hardly say more to confirm my assertion that the NEA doesn't give a damn about anyone and anything other than protecting the perks of its' membership. Imagine the nerve of the woman, condemning the Democrats for attending a debate being hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus! Is there any doubt left about who's truly in charge here?