Toni Konz reports on the JCTA's latest stunt at C-J's Learning Curve blog:
The radio advertisement paid for by the Jefferson County Teachers Association that criticizes Superintendent Sheldon Berman that was supposed to be canceled has aired at least once this morning.I heard it on WHAS-84 as I drove to work....JCTA President Brent McKim told me this morning that the union tried to get it pulled and even substituted another ad in its place, but knew it was a possibility that the original ad was going to "slip through" a few times, since the decision to pull it came late Friday.The minute-long ad, in which the union voiced its displeasure with Berman's decision to not rehire 18 teachers over alleged disciplinary and performance issues, was supposed to run all week on four local radio stations.The ad features people reading positive evaluations from some of the teachers' former supervisors and accused Berman of ignoring "the review process agreed upon by the administration, school board and the Jefferson County Teachers Association."
The ad also featured the home phone number of school board Chairman Joe Hardesty and asked listeners to call him and "tell him that teachers who get fair treatment are teachers who perform at their best."
The new ad that JCTA is going to run in place of the anti-Berman as apparently voices its support for the three Jefferson County Board of Education members who are up for re-election this fall -- Hardesty, Steve Imhoff and Larry Hujo.
C-J's Editorial Board responded with this:
The Jefferson County Teachers Association never should have concocted an ad campaign against Superintendent Sheldon Berman in the first place. The fact that
one of the spots accidentally aired, after the union decided against targeting Mr. Berman in this way, is regrettable.
JCTA does deserve credit for deciding against a broadcast assault on the superintendent. It's never easy to put that kind of effort in reverse. Those who suggested the idea presumably were vested in it, and convincing them it should be abandoned would not have been easy. Nor would opposing them, if they stubbornly continued to push such a plan.
But then whoever among JCTA leaders finally decided against radio broadsides may have been yielding to facts, such as these: (1) the case for not renewing the contract of 18 teachers had been laid out clearly and specifically, and (2) the public gave no indication of buying the JCTA's opposition.
In the absence of any substantial public show of support for the JCTA complaints, it would have been futile to waste money on radio ads. The union would have looked small-minded and mean-spirited, and determined to give Mr. Berman an early show of muscle-flexing, when exhibiting more cooperation and collaboration would have made more sense.
Teachers are critical to the success of Jefferson County Public Schools -- the institution that will have the most impact on quality of life in this community over coming decades. They deserve respect and help, as they work hard at doing a very difficult job -- preparing Louisville's next generation to compete in the emerging economy and to live full, rich lives.
But Mr. Berman deserves the same measure of respect and help, as he puts his new administration and his best ideas in place.
Radio attack ads don't help. Nor would political maneuver.
It's no secret that JCTA actively supports board candidates whom it likes. Nothing untoward about that. However, it would be reckless of the union to threaten withdrawal of support from board members who merely failed to take the union's side in the dispute over these 18 former teachers. That would undercut crucial relationships, not undergird them.