Teachers flunk Pulitzer winner out of school for criticizing their union

posted at 7:50 pm on December 4, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Steve Breen of the San Diego Union-Tribune found himself expelled from school at the age of 38 over a political cartoon that sharply criticized the teachers union in California.  Breen had been invited to speak to students at a Point Loma elementary school until they saw this cartoon in the U-T:

A little harsh?  Perhaps; the state of California hardly got hijacked by the unions against their will, at least not “Sacramento” as representing its government.  The Democrats who run the state willingly allied themselves with these powerful unions and stuck it to the taxpayers on their behalf.  Rename the ship “California Taxpayers” and that may be more on target.

However, even with that in mind, the snub of Breen is ridiculous.  What did they want Breen to discuss with the students — how to suck up to special interests and not rock the boat in order to achieve success?  He’s a political cartoonist, for Pete’s sake.  He takes political positions every day, and given the political action of the teachers union in California and everywhere else, they should be the last people to get hypersensitive about that.

The most humorous irony in this object lesson is that Breen was about to start a career as a high-school history teacher when he got his first opportunity to work at a newspaper.  Four years later, he won a Pulitzer for his work at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press.  I’m betting that he’s considering his decision to leave the teaching profession as even better after today.


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Unions are one of the Big Three (has anyone taken that phrase?) that’s destroying our nation (the others being lawyers & Hollywood).

jgapinoy on December 4, 2008 at 7:55 PM

Unions will destroy this country.

I just found out to day that my brother had watch the Al Gore Propaganda film and took a test on Global Warming, and he lives in a school district that marginally voted for McCain.

jimmy the notable on December 4, 2008 at 7:56 PM

Breen should talk to a group of home schoolers instead. It’s a growing audience for good reason! Hurry, before California outlaws home schooling.

Ordinary1 on December 4, 2008 at 7:59 PM

I’d love to know his pick as to which union is worse.. that one on the left coast, or the ‘NJEA Democratic Party political action committee’ he no doubt saw in action first hand back in Joisey.

UncleOlaf on December 4, 2008 at 8:00 PM

By the by.. Breen has to be one of the best political cartoonists of our time.

No one else could draw out raw emotion and bring millions to tears with his wordless depictions of the aftermath of 9/11 in our area like he could.
I still have his weeping Lady Liberty, looking across the water at ground zero hanging in my office, just to never forget.

He is definitely missed ’round these parts.

UncleOlaf on December 4, 2008 at 8:05 PM

Nothing wrong with unions per se, but just like government, they tend to breed greed and corruption.

The difference is, it is theoretically possible to get rid of the unions.

But because unions are in bed with politicians, it is not actually possible to get rid of the unions. So really, unions are just another sort of government agency.

Splashman on December 4, 2008 at 8:09 PM

…and this is why, after only two years as a teacher, I got out as fast as I could.

flyawaybird on December 4, 2008 at 8:12 PM

Just today, here in western New York, a teacher was sentenced to 10 years in prison for scamming a little old lady out of $785,000. She was an “Ethics” teacher at a local high school. The kicker is that she is tenured, therefore considered unfireable (sp?). So she will receive her FULL paycheck and all benefits while serving her sentence. Then when she gets out, she naturally gets her job back with all seniority and pay increases.
What a system.

dinqua on December 4, 2008 at 8:13 PM

I have a friend who’s girlfriend is a Teacher in California.

I found out that quite a few teachers get a really NICE COLA for working and living there depending on which school they teach at. As well as benefits to choke a horse and a heck of a lot nice “retirement” package then some CEO’s of certain companies. Also, I could move to Cali, not become a resident and take classes for almost free. Smart California schools we have there. Screw over the people and wonder why they are angry.

And they wonder why California is going bankrupt!

upinak on December 4, 2008 at 8:15 PM

Notice that it is not just the teachers union that is listed.
This is a fair description. The public service unions run the California budget for all intents and purposes. They cracked the whip on Arnold, and he has been a girly man ever sense.

Count to 10 on December 4, 2008 at 8:23 PM

Here’s the list that applies:

1. Politicians
2. The media
3. Unions
4. Educators
5. Trial Lawyers

and here is the rest of the list:
6. Drug Dealers
7. Pimps and Prostitutes
8. Convicts
9. Child Abusers

notagool on December 4, 2008 at 8:34 PM

We have to build a wall around CA because the GD Liberals who have destroyed the state are steadily leaving but are utterly clueless as to their part in CA’s destruction. They will, like locusts, move to another state and begin to destroy it. Why are Liberal voters incapable of seeing that Liberal policies are destructive? States with Lib governments are all in the toilet, CA, MI, NY et al.

DerKrieger on December 4, 2008 at 8:34 PM

One important factor to the current debt crisis in California and the cities within is the 3/50 rule instituted during the days of Gray Davis,

Essentially the 3/50 provides that union employees can retire at 50 years old and receive 3% of their highest annual income per year worked.

In other words if someone puts in 25 years by 50 they can retire with 75% of their highest years earnings along with full health benefits…

Here in San Diego the mayor made a point of the city not being someone’s retirement scheme and was lambasted by the newest city council members all of whom are dem/union lackies…

theblacksheepwasright on December 4, 2008 at 8:36 PM

notagool on December 4, 2008 at 8:34 PM

That’s a good list, except #8. I wouldn’t lump all convicts in with politicians. Some people become convicts via “a mistake” — a temporary turn from the right road onto the wrong road. Say, for instance, me, back when I was a 20-year-old hotsnot who thought he had everything figured out. Six hours in a holding cell and a felony conviction changed all that; getting popped upside the head with reality was all I needed to convince me to get back on the “right road” double quick.

So not all convicts are hopeless cases. 1-7 and 9 are all hopeless.

Splashman on December 4, 2008 at 8:46 PM

California is not unusual in it’s teacher benefits. Good retirements and bennies are there for most public school teachers who are members of the unions. However, the best packages are those for Federal Gov. employees. That’s one of the biggest taxpayer rip offs there is and it’s nation wide–not confined to just one state.

jeanie on December 4, 2008 at 8:50 PM

DerKrieger on December 4, 2008 at 8:34 PM

Funny how that works, isn’t it??

Legalized extortion at it’s finest. It’s not like the robbery is the worse thing, it’s inherent drive to be the person that showed up and did a good/bad/$hitty job…don’t matter, it all pays the same..

Right to Work should be the next amendment to the Constitution…and instead, we’re going to get Card Check.

Show me one unionized industry that isn’t swirling down the crapper…

BigWyo on December 4, 2008 at 8:51 PM

9. Child Abusers
notagool on December 4, 2008 at 8:34 PM

check the police blotters in your neck of the woods … you will be amazed, absolutely amazed, to find how many from #9 also fall into #4.

ask questions and you won’t get anywhere with the media, the schools, boards, or associated unions.

reason #153 to home school.

AZ_Redneck on December 4, 2008 at 9:03 PM

We have to build a wall around CA because the GD Liberals who have destroyed the state are steadily leaving but are utterly clueless as to their part in CA’s destruction. They will, like locusts, move to another state and begin to destroy it. Why are Liberal voters incapable of seeing that Liberal policies are destructive? States with Lib governments are all in the toilet, CA, MI, NY et al.

DerKrieger on December 4, 2008 at 8:34 PM

No just along the coastal counties, the rest of the state is conservative. The rest of us are held hostage by The Gay Area, LA (AKA Hollywood), a thin strip along the coast and Sacramento. The only blue areas inland are Sac’to, Davis, and Tahoe. I love my adopted home state but they may force me to move back to Al. California is definitely not the model for the rest of the country to follow any longer. It is the model to run away from.

goat on December 4, 2008 at 9:05 PM

It’s not only the teacher’s union, add labor unions and then the environmentalists and you have the perfect recipe on how to screw a once great state………….

Seven Percent Solution on December 4, 2008 at 9:06 PM

This is a perfect example of the kind of free speach they are now teaching in California. Dare to criticize ‘the establishment’ and they will do everything they can to destroy your life.

I am willing to bet they are also trying to remove him from any future publications in the SD newspapers.

Freddy on December 4, 2008 at 9:13 PM

Not harsh at all. Totally true. And sad as heck.

Bob's Kid on December 4, 2008 at 10:22 PM

…utterly clueless as to their part in CA’s destruction. They will, like locusts, move to another state and begin to destroy it. Why are Liberal voters incapable of seeing that Liberal policies are destructive?
DerKrieger on December 4, 2008 at 8:34 PM

They remind me of the Krell in Forbidden Planet (except for the creative genius part). So convinced their s*it doesn’t stink, they build the big machine, thinking of themselves as creative Gods. A few crank conservatives are dismissed, something omitted from the script, heh. They are all destroyed by monsters in the middle of the night and “could not have possibly understood what was killing them.”

Example: I read an article by a lib woman who was perplexed about it not being safe to let kids walk to school anymore because there’s a paroled pedophile on every corner or whatever. I thought, “lady, you don’t have a clue. Why don’t you enjoy the society you voted for, for the last 30 years?” Clueless! Utterly clueless!

I’m beginning to think the right to vote should be modified in several ways. For one thing, if you move, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote on local or state issues for 10 years. Yep, that’s harrrsssh, but it would slow down the liberal plague carriers.

BTW, I’m from California — the Red area!
;-)

Feedie on December 4, 2008 at 10:28 PM

Public employee unions have resulted in the greatest waste of taxpayer money in history. The California Teacher’s Union is little more than an activist branch of the DNC. It is a political organization more than it is a professional organization.

crosspatch on December 4, 2008 at 10:55 PM

that is a good cartoon

rob verdi on December 4, 2008 at 10:58 PM

upinak on December 4, 2008 at 8:15 PM

How can you take classes “almost for free” as a non-resident. I was looking at UCLA for my daughter and the out-of-state tuition is astronomical. If she says she’s a resident, do they just take her at her word?

doppelganglander on December 4, 2008 at 11:16 PM

that is a good cartoon

rob verdi on December 4, 2008 at 10:58 PM

…………. next cartoon, the “USS Constitution”, with the “Pirate Boats” being “300 Billion Pelosi”, “700 Billion Frank”, “500 Billion Dodd”, “Trillion Obama”, etc, etc, etc……………….

……. is it me, or has anyone else realized that the Federal Government does not have the authority under the Constitution of the United States to do any of this?

…………… can someone please show me where Congress, can insert itself without oversight, by way of Trillions of dollars into the private sector, where the American Taxpayer is left on the hook without a vote, to change the basic fabric of this country, and no one even blinks an eye……..?

Who do we go to? Who is on duty? Where is the Cop? Where is the Media?

FOR GOD’S SAKE PEOPLE WAKE THE FU$K UP!!!!!!!!!!!

Seven Percent Solution on December 5, 2008 at 12:50 AM

The real shocker is that this cartoon ran in the SD Union Tribune.

Hawkins1701 on December 5, 2008 at 12:59 AM

The truth is, democrats really only support government union jobs. At least private sector unions know they have to negotiate in good faith because if they don’t they could all be out of work. This is why democrats only really support government union jobs. In fact, they work day and night to end private sector union jobs. If you don’t believe me just ask a union lumberjack, a union defense contractor, a union oil worker, a union coal miner, or a union tobacco worker if you can still find one. Ask them which party supports their jobs and which one works day and night to end them. Did you know that the three largest gun makers in America are union? How many union steel workers will lose their jobs when democrats impose insane fuel efficiency standards on union automakers? The truth is, democrats don’t really care about these private sector union jobs, their real agenda is ending capitalism in America and imposing socialism.

Dollayo on December 5, 2008 at 1:05 AM

He’s a political cartoonist, for Pete’s sake.

He’s a political cartoonist, for Democrats and their allies sake. He must have forgotten.

drunyan8315 on December 5, 2008 at 1:12 AM

The real shocker is that this cartoon ran in the SD Union Tribune.

Hawkins1701 on December 5, 2008 at 12:59 AM

+7%……….

Only because it did not reference “Illegal Immigration”.

Seven Percent Solution on December 5, 2008 at 1:20 AM

You don’t speak badly of your host – he forgot that he was a guest. He wasn’t an employee, but a guest.

As for those “bad union workers”, how about them Steelworkers?

Shame they dont show the unionbusters as the pirates over unions. It would be a very apt comparison to see The Burke Group, Jackson Lewis and others in place of those union titles.

sethstorm on December 5, 2008 at 6:28 AM

can someone please show me where Congress, can insert itself without oversight, by way of Trillions of dollars into the private sector, where the American Taxpayer is left on the hook without a vote, to change the basic fabric of this country, and no one even blinks an eye……..?

I guess we haven’t been paying attention. There was oversight. Just ask Dodd and Franks. And as for competing in the private sector, the federal government does that all the time. Funding from the fed is in direct competition to my company.

thetriguy on December 5, 2008 at 7:01 AM

A little harsh?

My, God! Is there anyone you are not afraid of offending?

peacenprosperity on December 5, 2008 at 7:18 AM

Bravo, Steve Breen.

maverick muse on December 5, 2008 at 8:21 AM

Well, we’re forced to pay the wages of union scum who work for the government – and where does it say in the Constitution that that’s OK, civil libertarians?

Personally, I don’t care whether the “rights” of some smelly lunatic terrorist to detonate buildings are curtailed, but I really care that the Constitutional right not to be taxed to death is continually infringed.

To get back at being forced to pay wages to union scum in government, boycott the labor of union scum whenever you have choice.

Whether it’s the United Autoworkers, the Teamsters, the Gambino Crime Family Legitimate Businessman’s Social Club, whatever.

Boycott unions, unless you enjoy contributing to the Democrat Party through an overpaid, under worked middleman.

NoDonkey on December 5, 2008 at 8:56 AM

The NEA will invite Ted Rall instead

Bevan on December 5, 2008 at 9:58 AM

During the last election cycle my wife’s union bombarded her not only with requests for donations to be used exclusively for Democratic candidates, but also sent out numerous mailings detailing who she should vote for (not one Republican on the list).

In my 55 years here in California I’ve watched the unions control more and more of the political process through massive political contributions and electoral extortion. State politicians either vote their way or they don’t survive.

My wife (also a Calif. native) and I would never have thought that we could ever consider leaving this state, however the corrupt politicians, dominating unions and illegal immigration have succeeded in turning this state in to just another banana republic. One in which we don’t see much of a future.

skeneogden on December 5, 2008 at 10:09 AM

it is a race to the finish….who will ruin this country first? The TEACHERS UNION or TRIAL LAWYERS chasing ambulances…..

Personally, I see a tie….

SDarchitect on December 5, 2008 at 10:30 AM

And yet another reason we homeschool.

My mom was the first teacher in our smallish Kansas town to refuse to join the NEA (this was the mid-70s). The next year, there were two more with her. She was blacklisted from ever being able to move up, even though she had her Ph.D. in Education Administration. (She did eventually move into the ranks of administration, but in another town.)

My sister, now teaching in the same school district, is another NEA-bucker. (Gee, that sounds dirty, doesn’t it?!) It’s a little easier now; maybe 25% of the teachers at her school refuse to join NEA. But, she still gets lots and lots of pressure to do so.

ks_sonflower on December 5, 2008 at 1:37 PM

I just found out to day that my brother had watch the Al Gore Propaganda film and took a test on Global Warming, and he lives in a school district that marginally voted for McCain.

jimmy the notable on December 4, 2008 at 7:56 PM

Rest assured you would be better served in my HS science classroom. My kids watch Al Gore & then they watch the BBC flick The Great Global Warming Swindle.
Then they write a RESEARCH BACKED opinion paper related to something about global warming.
It’s what little I can do to stop the madness.
BTW-the NEW sucks. I’m only a member for the ‘malpractice’ insurance they provide-legions of lawyers against a future unreasonable, angry, sue-happy parent.

Badger40 on December 5, 2008 at 2:32 PM

BTW-the NEW NEA sucks.
Duh. You’ll have to excuse me-I learned to spell in public school.

Badger40 on December 5, 2008 at 2:37 PM

Boycott unions, unless you enjoy contributing to the Democrat Party through an overpaid, under worked middleman.

NoDonkey on December 5, 2008 at 8:56 AM

I’d love to NoDonkey-problem is, as a teacher in ND, I have virtually no protection from a$$hole administrators trying to get me, if they so choose. It’s usually their word against mine. School board members can’t be counted upon to do what’s right. I’ve experienced it.
I consider myself NDEA, which is a little more conservative than the NEA-but with NDEA membership comes NEA membership..
Luckily I can choose whether I want to contribute or not to political NEA causes.
I’m not naive enough to believe they don’t use some of my $$ to that end, but I need some protection bcs my school board & community sure don’t give me any.
They’re the 1st people to shove a boot up my a$$ when I make science to ‘hard’ or not ‘fun’ enough for their little darlings.

Badger40 on December 5, 2008 at 2:41 PM

This is just a small indication of what we will soon see when the Union loving, Union kowtowing, Peoples Republic of Barackopolis, in concert with his army of cronies in the Senate, come to power and stand on high starting January 20th and thereafter, and when Card-Check comes to fruition.

Oh yes. The Union bosses want to know who is with them, and who is against them. They most surely do. And when they do know, don’t you dare vote against their wishes or you will suffer the same wrath, or even worse.

FlatFoot on December 5, 2008 at 5:29 PM