Loyalty is not accomplished by fawning sycophants.

Several bloggers who seek to improve what public education is all about are under attack by those who demand “loyalty” to a leader who is weakly going in the wrong direction.

Specifically, Fred Klonsky and others have pointed out the errors of Illinois Education Association President Cinda Klickna. Fred’s detractors have been highly vocal and are accusing him and other bloggers of “disloyalty to the union,” sedition, treason, perfidy, and heresy. Burning at the stake seems to be the only way Fred should be dealt with. (Read Fred’s Loyalty blog HERE.) These “rah-rah” Fred bashers demand “loyalty” as defined by them – unquestioning and unanimous agreement no matter what.


Today, Chris Hedges wrote, “Criticisms, no matter how tepid, will be treated as acts of subversion.” His article (Read HERE.) deals with the syndrome. Fred and others are being treated by mincing, fawning sycophants who bash in the same manner described by Hedges. Fred needs no defenders, especially since he also deserves no bashers. The Fred bashers show their actual lack of belief in the elected representatives in the IEA who wish to improve IEA leadership communications. Fred, other reps and members see a need for updates and details regarding the pension theft and other anti-teacher legislative problems going on in Illinois today.

(Disclosure: I myself emailed and blogged on December 28th that Cinda and the IEA had last informed all members about the SB1 legal response which is challenging pension cuts on December 5, 2013. I linked the dated IEA site to my blog HERE. The extended IEA leadership silence served no one well.)

What about the Fred bashers? Being yes-men who wave the union flag of loyalty while refusing to accept the fact that something is wrong and needs to be fixed serve no cause well. Positivism at all costs and “rah-rah” rallying cries are the most negative and destructive behavior possible. Attacking those who point out problems and suggest solutions is duplicitous. Self-serving, duplicitous rah-rahs are either bullies or bully-wanna-be types. Now, stop it!

This reminds me of a situation I encountered during my 20 years as a supernumerary (an extra) at Lyric Opera of Chicago on one opening night backstage. Opening nights are attended by big-shots, politicians, donors, critics and even a few opera lovers with money for those extra-expensive Opening night tickets. On that night Carol Fox, the founder and director of the Lyric who was known for her toughness and might, was nervously standing alone just off-stage watching the last 15 minutes of the performance. She would join in with the bows of recognition at the curtain calls and then attend the gala ball afterward. I noticed that her gown had split at the seam under her arm down to just below the waist. Her very ample pale flesh and not-so-delicate undies were exposed as she raised her arm to blot away some perspiration on her brow with her hankie. As the lowest underling of the theater, I pointed this out to an assistant stage manager who pointed it out to another. They quaked in fear of approaching and telling Carol Fox, who was known for her quick temper, about her condition and told me they were not about to approach her with that bad news. I simply could not allow her to go out and wave at the audience as they laughed back at her. The media coverage the next day would not be about the opera, the performers or the production; it would be guffaws about the lady who was the driving force that created and maintained Lyric Opera.

I walked up politely and told her about her torn seam. She slapped at the bare spot, felt flesh and dropped her head in disgust. She slowly looked up at me and quietly said, “If you knew what this dress cost me, you wouldn’t believe it.” I then quickly suggested that she get Rose, the dresser for the prima donna, to fix it fast before the final curtain. She stage whispered, “If anyone can fix me up, it will be Rose.” She turned and strode away as quickly as I had ever seen her move.

Three strodes away, she unstrode and turned toward me. She looked straight at me, nodded and winked with no sign of any smile. That is called a Chicago thank-you for those of you who are unfamiliar with Chicago body language.

Now, that’s what supporters do and what leaders do. No sticky sweet flourish of thankfulness is expected.


The boot-licking “rah-rahs” who attack Fred for disloyalty would allow Cinda to walk around as naked as a jay-bird like the “Empress With No Clothes” rather than help her in reality.

Hey, you flunkies! Rah-rah THIS! (Imagine accompanying genuine Chicago hand/arm gestures.)

Knock it off. Stop with the Fred bashing. Stop with the mindless bashing of anyone who seeks to better the situation. No problem can be solved until it is recognized as a problem; at that point, solutions may be offered. Get real.

Join in for the cause and tell the Empress to stitch things up when and where needed.


SB1 must be dealt with, and transparency with members needs to be part of it.


About Ken Previti

This entry was posted in betrayal, civic duty, fairness, pensions, propaganda, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Loyalty is not accomplished by fawning sycophants.

  1. Ken, thanks for your eloquent post and the wonderful Lyric Opera story–how interesting and informative! The Fred bashing (& that of his supporters {we are!}–but, excuse me–we do have minds of our own-this is not, after all, high school– & we do have times of disagreement, but, yes, we do admire Fred & we do view him as a real leader) is indeed, ridiculous and–worse–non-productive. In any case, we who support him quite simply agree with him as to the lack of leadership (and–most important–member support–e.g., SB7, agreement to pension holiday, inability to plan events on Dec. 2nd {3 to the 11 set up by the IFT & 15 set up by AFSCME!}).
    In fact, what has irritated me the most about the inertia of the IEA leadership was just that–the inertia of the IEA leadership who–just as legislators are supposed to SERVE their CONSTITUENTS–are supposed to SERVE their MEMBERS (& not the other way around). I was a witness in Springfield to betrayal–yes, I said betrayal–by the IEA leadership in the cancellation of Lobby Day in 2011 at, I might add, our most crucial time of need to HAVE Lobby Day! Lobby Day was cancelled by the IEA leadership because, we were told, there was construction in the State Capitol. No matter to Fred–he gathered his Park Ridge Ed. Assn. (& anyone else who wanted to go–one being me), obtained the buses, and down there we went. While in Springfield, it was noted that there were neither problems with street construction (easy to get around)
    nor Capitol construction–many events were, in fact, taking place that day in the building. In fact, if you check on Fred’s blog in his archives, he took a picture of a sign I’d pointed out–ONE sign, positioned in ONE very insignificant area of the building, stating that it was closed off (you really have to view it yourself, though). If not for Fred and his “Pension Call Tuesdays,” I would not have been informed of any actions to take because–for so long–we were being told to “sit tight.”
    That’s right…sit tight and let the opposition steamroll you. Not on Fred’s watch. To this day, I am convinced that, if not for “Pension Call Tuesday,” the Illinois General Assembly would have passed a far worse version of SB1 much, much sooner.
    And this is why Fred and Glen Brown were honored by the IRTA at its Fall Convention.

  2. Pingback: Ken Previti. Loyalty, Chicago style. | Fred Klonsky

  3. Mary Atkinson says:

    Thank you for being so articulate. I am sure you speak for many of us who keep informed through Fred and Glen. Being a caregiver of a husband (a retired teacher and principal) who has Alzheimer’s it is not possible for me to attend functions that support our cause. I do however call people to inform them,email and forward info as best I can. Keep up the good work and thank you for your time and energy!!

  4. Jean Moran says:

    Fred, Glen and IRTA are the only visible leaders. IEA has long since forsaken us (retired teachers) as well as active members. Sad.

    Jean Moran

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s