‘Union Hack’ Makes His Case

Thank you Cynthia Walker (Aug. 5) for dedicating a complete column response to my letter to the editor. I’m honored as I obviously touched more than just a single nerve.

Since Ms. Walker introduces me as a “union hack” (what that role has to do with a valid response befuddles me), I perused virtual and real dictionaries looking for a definition. No luck.

For the future the definition shall be: Union hack: (n) (sing.) One who gives advice to unionized teachers to increase salary and benefit compensation, develop better working conditions between the employee and the employer, provide school district staff development and training in how to become a better teacher, work cooperatively with alliances to promote public education and to provide legal assistance to teachers in both work and non-work related situations.

Examples: nurse union hack; CHP union hack; police union hack; fireman union hack; firefighter union hack; correctional officer union hack

In fact all the dictionaries defined “hack” as: A writer hired to produce routine or commercial writing, such as, a weekly columnist. So, Ms. Walker, when you use the word hack, you might wish to use it sparingly.

Definitions aside, letter writer Barry Goldman-Hall nailed Ms. Walker not by what she said, but rather what she didn’t say. Her gratuitous inference was that home schoolers, unlike high schoolers, have “real lives.” This was meant to demean high schoolers who wish to participate in football games, homecoming, prom and graduation.

The comment about homeschoolers with real lives immediately follows her statement about students participating in normal, real-life activities within the high school culture. Ms. Walker does not like schools or any “wasted activities” provided by them, thus the disparaging, off-hand comment. When one lives and breathes a life with these thoughts, it is second nature to put them in writing without thinking.

Ms. Walker’s comment mirrors her columns the past decade, namely anti-public education, anti-school bonds, anti-teacher union, anti-school security, anti-school construction and now, specifically anti-high school. As the paid hack, she is entitled to her opinion, but she adds little or nothing to better the education community other than her push for Saxon textbooks in local math curricula. Obviously it takes more than just talk to effect change.

Ms Walker attacks my rhetorical questions with answers, though she didn’t have to. Obviously, she needed to clarify what “real lives” homeschoolers have, and apparently they’re just like normal high schoolers. Pray tell! So why the off-hand comment? To belittle high schoolers. Plain and simple. Mr. Goldman-Hall detected it as well.

My comments about private colleges taking advantage of the real lives of high schoolers across the country were obviously not concrete enough for Ms. Walker. Colleges pick up where the high schools leave off, that is, using the real lives of high schoolers engaged in normal activities, and expanding those offerings at the collegiate level. It is big business for small Division III colleges implementing one aspect of high school life, and that is implementing new football programs. The community only benefits from this partnership between students, athletics and benefactors.

Ms. Walker confuses this reader by comparing my high school athletic analogy to Gilroy Unified School District not meeting California elementary physical education mandates. Once again, Ms. Walker has not done her homework. The 200-minute minimum requirement is not per week, but every 10 days, and it only applies to grades one through six not high school. What high school athletics has to do with elementary school P.E. escapes me. Her attempt to minimize my statements fails due to her lack of subject area knowledge.

My broadsword scenario is not a taunt but a reality. If school districts can show that an activity (wooden rifle demonstration in drum and bugle corps) meets California Department of Education standards for physical activity, then it can appeal to make the activity (KoDenKan jujitsu) with attached proofs part of the physical education course work with commensurate P.E. credit for graduation.

Too often columnists create unintended responses not by what they say, but rather what they don’t say. Ms. Walker’s continuous reporting of her distaste and dislike of public education (prisons, mugging in locker rooms, expected cheating, totalitarian regime, poor teaching methods, etc.) has unintentionally created responses she wasn’t ready to respond to.

Dale Morejon is a former Gilroy High School science teacher. Anyone interested in writing a guest column may contact Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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