Karen Brown wants TV airtime to talk about the teacher’s union

Picture 7 Earlier this month, Republican nominee for Philadelphia mayor Karen Brown told me she went to D.C. to meet with Pa. officials and “discuss her ‘vision paper,’ a work that’s still in progress about breaking the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers union.”

Here’s the story I wrote about it:

Republican mayoral candidate Karen Brown wants to dismantle the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and she took her “vision paper” about doing so to Washington, D.C., to talk with several U.S. representatives Wednesday.

The former Catholic- and charter-school teacher and “union girl” also said she wants to remove Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and get back to having an elected school board.

“I can’t see how you can fix the schools without breaking the union. It prevents you from getting teachers back to teaching again,” Brown said, railing against tenure in lieu of merit pay. “I’m not against the teachers. I’m against the teachers union. Our kids are suffering.

We’re losing our future. We need to rethink our whole school system.”

PFT President Jerry Jordan was “taken aback” when told of Brown’s “get back to teaching” comment. “What does she think they’ve been doing?”?he asked. “Nine years of rising test scores are because they’ve been teaching.

“It’s very clear that Karen Brown does not want the teachers to have a voice in educating children in this city. It’s very disrespectful. I invite her to go into a school, spend some time there and see if she feels the same way.”

Michael Nutter’s campaign spokeswoman Sheila Simmons defended the city’s teachers. “Our schools can be reformed without such drastic measures,” she said. “Teachers are an integral part of any educational system, and their right to organize is not the source of all that is wrong with our schools.”

Anyway, I just got off the phone with Brown this morning and she said that she’s seeking airtime on local TV-news shows to discuss her plans. And that she wasn’t trying to mess with teachers. Her current cause is getting rid of tenure in lieu of merit pay.

“I want to fight the union to remove tenure and replace it with merit pay. If it’s good enough for colleges, it should be good enough for our schools.

“I don’t dislike [Superintendent Arlene] Ackerman, but I dislike that we have no elected school board. Well, I do dislike Ackerman, too.

“I’m not trying to bust union. Teachers get a bad name in this Ackerman thing. They’re not the enemy. We (she was a Catholic- and charter-school teacher) want to see the kids flourish. People who go into that field — police, firemen, teachers — aren’t looking for money. There isn’t that much there. They’re not looking for a 9-to-5.”

Brown said she’d let me know if she gets any airtime, so I’ll let you know when she lets me know.

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