Fabian Núñez, who once was an organizer for the California Teachers Association and counted on the CTA as an ally when he became state Assembly speaker, has been hired as a strategist by StudentsFirst, the Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee reported.
The hire is the latest signal that StudentsFirst, the Sacramento-based advocacy organization founded by ex-Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, plans to step up its political work in Sacramento. In pushing an aggressive national agenda that focuses on expanding charter schools, teacher evaluations and an end to teacher seniority and tenure, the organization has been at odds with teachers unions. In this month’s school board election in Los Angeles Unified, it gave $250,000 to candidates backing Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy and opposed by United Teachers Los Angeles.
Citing the CTA’s opposition to a teacher dismissal bill last year, Núñez, a Democrat from Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Times, “I think there are a lot of labor Democrats who are coming to the conclusion that we can’t read from the CTA script anymore.” (The CTA is supporting alternative legislation this year that does not go as far in eroding teachers’ due-process rights.)
Núñez is following in the footsteps of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who started out as a field organizer for United Teachers Los Angeles, only to become an outspoken critic of the union as mayor.