Teachers stand up by 'blowing the whistle'

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Educators make campaign for dirt by wealthy lobby group backfire big time

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We hate bullies. Physical, psychological or financial. It is sweet retribution to see them get comeuppance.

So was the case online last week when the Empower Texans group ignited a firestorm from Texas teachers. ET, you see, is a group of a handful of very wealthy families who are using their substantial resources to fund campaigns around the state. They look for pliant minds to represent them and a passive voting populace to gain more representation around the state.

Our State Rep. Kyle Biedermann is one of their beneficiaries, and those colorful campaign flyers in our mailboxes are largely funded by them. Mind you, none of them have a direct connection to House District 73. Look at Biedermann’s top 20 donors since 2015 and more than half of them are connected to Empower Texans, either through their other wealth-funded organizations (Texas Homeschool Coalition, Texas Right to Life, Texans for Lawsuit Reform), or their other candidates like Jonathan Stickland or Briscoe Cain.

Teachers and educators have realized the Texas legislature has not been supportive, so it was gratifying to see them band together on Twitter last week. Empower Texans sent out a letter to educators (with several misspellings) seeking dirt on school districts. They used a hashtag #blowthewhistle in hopes of igniting controversy.

Well, Texas teachers are a proud lot and they realize when they are being disingenuously attacked. They also realize that Empower Texans is not the least bit friendly to public education. So teachers began using the hashtag to point out all the positive things public school teachers do for their students, their districts, their communities.

One mentioned how a teacher purchased shoes for her students who could not afford them. Another talked about how many teachers personally funded classroom materials. Yet another one paid for senior pictures for students who could not afford them. Still others talked about how teachers work through many weekends grading and making lesson plans.

This was a beautiful scene of teachers coming together to knock these bullies down a notch. 

This episode is just one of many reasons we support Dave Campbell for District 73 state representative. He will come armed with knowledge of actually having served on a school board (and many other boards), as opposed to just a sheet of lobby group talking points. Campbell can actually help solve the school finance issue and would be a great asset to any legislative committee which will address it. He’s also not going to embarrass the district with “Islamic terrorism forums,” or clandestine social media campaigns against local issues. Campbell lives the Rotary International motto of “Service Above Self.”

We hope Texas public school teachers and others who value public education and the state’s constitutional duty to provide it will carry that enthusiasm they showed on social media into the voting booth.

And again, we hate bullies and we don’t want someone from outside District 73 calling the shots for our state representative just because they have the funds to try and make it happen.

Early voting begins Tuesday, Feb. 20. Election Day is Tuesday, March 6. – K.E.C.