Tuesday, February 2, 2016

URGENT BAT CALL – OHIO 31ST HOUSE DISTRICT






 Author:  James Wolf is a teacher at Mt. Healthy High School and is the current Mayor of Mt. Healthy, Ohio. He sits on the Executive Committee of the Hamilton County Democratic Party and is a member of the Ohio Education Association.

Fellow BATs,

I urgently ask for your help on behalf of my friend Brigid Kelly in her race for the Ohio 31st House seat against anti-teacher candidate, Benjamin Lindy.

As a teacher myself, I am tired of the attacks from Columbus and I’m sure you are as well.  Up until this point, nearly every one of these attacks has come from Republicans and Conservative activists.  Unfortunately, I am sad to report that our most recent threat comes from a member of the Democratic Party, Ben Lindy, who is attempting to win the Democratic nomination for the 31st House District. 

  Unlike most districts in Ohio, the 31st is gerrymandered to guarantee a Democratic victory in November.  For this reason, we must support his opponent, Brigid Kelly, this March in the Democratic Primary to secure a friend of Labor and Public Education in the General Assembly.
Ben Lindy began his career as a Teach For America volunteer in North Carolina.  After TFA, he continued his education at Yale Law School where he wrote an article in the Yale Law Journal entitled, The Impact of Teacher Collective Bargaining Laws on Student Achievement: Evidence from a New Mexico Natural Experiment where he argued,“… under mandatory collective bargaining, any improvement in student achievement comes at the expense of poor-performing students. If one believes that society owes more to those who are born with less … it is difficult to see how mandatory collective bargaining is justified.”  This article is now being used in the Amicus Brief of Susana Martinez, Republican Governor of New Mexico, in support of the Friedrichs case against the California Teachers Association that could bring Right-to-Work to every state.  He literally wrote the argument being used against collective bargaining in the Supreme Court.

As if this was not offensive enough, Ben Lindy was quickly hired out of school by the Michelle Rhee administration to work in the office of human capital for D.C. Public Schools.  He stayed on their staff after Rhee resigned before moving back home to Cincinnati where he founded the Southwest Ohio Region of Teach for America that he continues to run as Executive Director today.  Through his position, he has spoken on education panels for the conservative Fordham Institute to promote the interests of Teach for America, charter schools, and corporate education reform.

Meanwhile, we have a friend in this race, Brigid Kelly, who has a long record of Democratic and Labor activism.  Brigid has served as the President of both the Xavier University Democrats and Hamilton County Young Democrats, and as the elected Vice Chair of the Labor Caucus for the Young Democrats of America.  Brigid has also served as an elected Council member in the City of Norwood, a past member of the Executive Board of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, and a current member of the Executive Committee of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.  In addition, Brigid works every day to help hard-working families in her position as Public Relations Director for UFCW Local 75.  Her dedication to the Labor Movement and Democratic values are unwavering, and she deserves our support.

As you can see, the choice for public school teachers is clear but we must act now.  Ben Lindy has already raised over $100,000, with over 40% of the money coming from out of state interests.  This race will be decided in the Democratic Primary on March 15th and urgent action is needed.  I call not only on BATs, but on all friends of labor and public education to do everything in your power to support Brigid Kelly in her race for Ohio’s 31st House District.  We are already under attack by Republicans in Columbus; we cannot afford to lose this Democratic seat to a corporate reformer. 


Here are some more research articles on TFA


Time to Look at the Evidence Regarding Teach for America



Teach for America Is a Glorified Temp Agency  http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/08/30/is-teach-for-america-working/teach-for-america-is-a-glorified-temp-agency


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