Washington Independent: FreedomWorks heads to Pennsylvania where groups hopes to quash unions

March 28, 2011- Breaking away from their fiscal policy roots, tea party groups lately have been sinking their hooks into all matters of American policy, from collective bargaining rights to education.

On Tuesday, a number of tea party organizations are gathering at a FreedomWorks “Restoring America Summit and Rally” at Pittsburgh International Airport’s Embassy Suites to soak up insights from the likes of FreedomWorks’ own founder Dick Armey on school choice, public unions, tort reform and the privatization of Pennsylvania state entities, among other issues.

Scheduled to speak alongside the former U.S. House majority leader include: Freedom Works CEO Matt Kibbe; Frederick Douglass Foundation Chairman Timothy F. Johnson; Fox News contributors Deneen Borelli, Mary Katherine Ham, and Tammy Bruce; The War Room’s Rose Tennent, and “Thomas Paine,” the character Bob Basso plays on YouTube.

Other event co-sponsors include Washington County PA 9.12 Project, PennsylvaniaTeaParty.com, Mercer County TEA Party, Protective Precious Metals, Marley Financial Group, Watchdog Radio, We the People Greene County and the Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement.

The rally is the third FreedomWorks-sponsored event happening in Pennsylvania this month. Previously the group partnered with the Kitchen Table Patriots for a school choice event in Doylestown, Penn., and with the Lehigh Valley 9.12 Tea Party Group for an event in Center Valley, Penn., that focused on ending teacher strikes.

FreedomWorks has been outspoken about trying to abolish collective bargaining rights for all Pennsylvania employees and recently started a petition calling for legislation that would do so.

The Frederick Douglas Foundation’s emphasis on this particular event appears on the issue of school choice, pushing the notion that charter schools are the answer to high dropout rates among black youth — and that state teachers unions are part of the problem.

In a statement on Tuesday’s event, the FDF’s Tim Johnson said:

“We have to stop this ‘School to Prison’ pipeline and provide all parents with real educational choices like charter schools. Educating children is not about satisfying the teachers unions or the bureaucrats who are more concerned about keeping their healthy salaries or job security! … If we are serious about leaving our children and grandchildren with an America we had the opportunity to grow up in, we better make sure they are able to read, write and perform basic math skills. If they can’t get these basic and essential survival tools from their local public schools at taxpayers expense, we better make sure they get them from somewhere.”

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