Thursday, March 29, 2007

Leading MNEA where?

For the second time in six months, that I can recall, MNEA VP Erick Huth has taken an unnecessarily harsh attitude in his interactions with the MNPS BOE.

Last October when BOE Chair Marsha Warden asked the question that was on the minds of lots of Nashvillians when the union voted down the NAPE incentive pay program:

BOE Chair Marsha Warden wrote MNEA negotiator Eric Huth the day after the vote (Saturday).

Marsha Warden asks:
I am disappointed and curious. How is it that the MNEA voted this measure down? How could it be perceived as being harmful to the interests of teachers in Metro Schools? (emphasis added)
And Huth responds on Sunday:
MNEA has fulfilled the duties proscribed under the EPNA, and I shall not question the results. (snip) One might consider that in any election (including, but not limited to the national election of 2000) that the democratic process is not always smooth, but it is what it is. One's hopes, dreams, wishes, aspirations, and desires do not trump the democratic process. (snip) You may also wish to consider the extent to which your questions interfere with MNEA's representational rights. The ice is thin.
Instead of answering her question, and that of the taxpayers, parents and voters of this city, he instead pushed back very rudely and aggressively and pretty much told her (and us) that it wasn't any of our business and further included a veiled threat.

And today we read in this morning's City Paper that Erick Huth, who is running for the position of president of the union, again overreacted and immediately accused the BOE Chair of interfering with the union by saying:
“My initial thought on the subject was the board was attempting to get involved with something that really was not any of its affair,” Huth said. “I reviewed the bargaining act and I actually sought legal advice on the matter. I was assured since the board had provided the invitation to both of us, they did not violate the [law].”
Do MNEA members really want someone at their helm whose 'immediate thought' is something negative about the BOE's intentions? Someone that cannot recognize honest attempts at communication? Someone who cannot recognize that having a public discussion of public schools could benefit the membership (and the children)? Who doesn't understand the correct legal interpretation of the 'bargaining act'?

If these reports are accurate, in neither instance did Erick Huth respond by asking BOE Chair Marsha Warden if she knew her words could be misunderstood to mean what was his immediate, and wrong, perception. We all know individual teachers who are hard working and selfless in the classroom but when the voice for the entire group of teachers is Erick Huth's strident and uncooperative one--what good is going to come of that?

Teachers are getting their ballots now and have until Tuesday, April 10 at 5:00 p.m. to return them.

Perhaps it was best, for his candidacy, that Erick Huth didn't get a few minutes of free public air time.

UPDATE: Read Nathan Moore's take on the issue. His keyboard has got to be red hot.

He sums up by saying:
It is despicable that the board refused to hear anyone, despite a good faith effort to hear everyone. Huth made a mockery of a more open election, and the school board by its inexplicable vote showed itself the organizational invertebrate we have come to expect. If there was a question who has the upper hand in running the school system, it has been answered.
And Nathan's "Imperfect Attendance" headline reminds me that Erick Huth has missed a LOT of days in the classroom because of his MNEA work.

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