Depending on what happens tonight in the Wisconsin Recall Election, this story will likely come off as either tragicomic or unnerving.
EagNews reports that Milwaukee Teachers Education Association President Bob Peterson has been caught on-camera bragging about his (and other teachers') efforts to use schoolchildren as vehicles for anti-Walker propaganda, as well as to drive to turnout. Watch him brag about this effort below:
From Eagnews' writeup:
Specifically, Peterson bragged about a district-wide program to put flyers of union propaganda in the backpacks of students. He also claimed credit for the union’s effort to physically drive parents and students to the polls to vote.
“We are, as a union, making some changes. We’re talking about reinventing ourselves and one of the things we’ve done this year is put full effort into changing the political process. … We got the district to pass out flyers to every K-8 student – the backpack flyer – to go home that says ‘go vote.’ We have teachers that organized buses at schools to bring parents out, high school students out. And finally, for the next 48 hours, that’s what we’re going to be doing – just get out to vote.”
While the message “go vote” may seem innocent enough, everyone knows what Peterson and his union are talking about. They have blatantly campaigned for Walker’s removal for months, and are perfectly aware that Milwaukee has millions of registered voters who identify with the Democratic Party. A big turnout in Milwaukee could play a major role in the outcome of the recall election.
If Milwaukee were awash with pro-Walker Republicans, there would be no union effort to get out the vote.
Needless to say, given the result of polls leading up to this election, this effort may have backfired. Or, depending on the exit poll results, it might have worked. Nevertheless, this is surely not the purpose of education, and is the sort of story that should give pro-Walker forces reason for indignation no matter the result.