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Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Primer: How to Respond to Teacher - Union Rhetoric

As we watch the criminal activity of the Wisconsin teacher's union, and the biased news coverage painting out of control teachers storming the Wisconsin legislature as a heroic, grassroots moment, I'm quickly reminded of how the Tea Party Patriots were covered last year by the same media outlets - as selfish villains, racists, homophobes, nuts, etc.  Similarly, just over a week ago when riots were taking place in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt,  instigated by the Muslim Brotherhood, the media hailed the madness as a successful, peaceful, democratic revolution.  Funny, there aren't too many peaceful revolutions that end in 360 deaths (BBC report), and the country's military left in charge for 6 months or more.  I guess the point is that if there is one constant in the Universe - its that the media can be counted on to condemn that which is good, and cheerfully support that which is clearly wrong.  It goes along with the kind of bizarro-thinking that we've been accustomed too see everytime we tune in to our favorite talking heads.

Bad week for Unions:
Americans are beginning to see
what the Education Cartel is
really all about
I've never been a fan of Unions. Unions went out of necessity at about the same time that the horse-drawn carriage, and the steam locomotive were taken out of service; clearly - outdated, antiquated, and counterproductive.  In fact, there was nothing more wonderful than watching Ronald Reagan break the Air Traffic Controller's backs in the 1980s.  And I remember clearly that the public cheered Reagan's actions against those who put air navigation in harm's way and halted public travel - well, all except for the local AFL-CIO and all their Congressional con-artists who could do little but watch the Unions crumble as constituents cheered on the President.

Amid the hysteria in Wisconsin, we can see that its absolutely true that the Wisconsin's Teachers Union - a branch of what my friend, Joe Visconti adeptly calls The Education Cartel neither gets it, nor wants to get it.  Wisconsin is a lot like Connecticut, in that its incredibly broke.  The reasons are very similar to Connecticut's - run away spending, anti-business climate, and greedy public sector unions demanding even more and more where none can be found.

There is plenty of blame to go around, I'm sure.  Democrats spending, and Republicans showing little or no backbone to stand-up to the onslaught.  Yet, Republican Governor Scott Walker is doing exactly what the public expects him to do - standing up for what is right, and stopping the run-away train! For that, we are proud of Gov. Walker (at least so far), in that he is not bowing to angry mob rhetoric, or special interests, and is standing up for ALL taxpayers by just saying We've had enough, public sector unions are not going to take advantage of the public any longer.

What prompted me to write this essay was neither the televised madness of the last few weeks, or the comparisons being made between Wisconsin and Connecticut's budget crisises, but rather the talk by local teachers, who have opted to weigh in with their opinions on the matter, playing the martyr role as they often do on the part of the national teachers union (the NEA: National Education Association, and ATA: American Teachers Association aka NEA-ATA).  Frankly, I'm sick of unions.  And I'm sick of these so-called education professionals playing their union games, and using our children as human shields to advance their agenda.  This isn't a matter of life or death, its about public employees threatening the public with doom and gloom scenarios; claiming that lining their pockets with cold hard cash, pension money, and lopsided benefits (the likes that that none of us will ever see) is the MOST important thing in the world. Well its not.

I wanted to spend the rest of this entry exploring the commonly heard rhetoric used by teachers when they engage the public in building sympathy for their self-serving cause.  And provide you with a nice little retort for each line.  So here goes:

Teacher:  We are deserving of a equitable pay and benefits just like people in the private sector.
You:  Teachers work on average about 160 days out of a 365 day year.  Yet your salaries are comparable to those of us in the public sector who work 330 days a year.  Your starting wage without experience is usually much higher than would be found in the private sector, and would take a private sector employee a long as five years to reach.  Your benefits include summers off, generous health benefits with an outdated minute co-pay for office visits and drugs no longer available to 90% of private sector employees.  You always get the major holidays off without having to compete for them against co-workers as we do in the private sector.

Teacher: We take home work from school. Correcting papers, reading essays, grading reports, and preparing our daily plans. I make after school calls to parents and have conferences after hours.
You:  Hooray for you. I'm expected to put in a minimum of 50 hours a week and up to 70 hours during some weeks because there is simply no such thing as a 40 hour work week in the private sector.  I'm required to take home my laptop and stay connected to work.  I make conference calls at all hours, draft reports, emails, and work weekends too.  If I don't work, I may not get paid. I have no contract or union rep to hide behind. I'd love to trade correcting papers for drafting analysis reports.  Or sleeping in on a snow day like you do, in the private sector companies no longer close down when there are three inches of snow because employees are expected to work from home.

Teacher:  Our jobs are noble; we teach your children eight hours a day, five days a week. We mold them for their future - that is our calling.
You:  If you are a teacher because its a noble occupation; good for you.  Then do much and expect little. Its disappointing that based on the actions by your union masters that its quite clear that amassing wealth via the almighty dollar has replaced teaching as a noble occupation in the 21st century.  The idea of being noble is to do something not out of want for material compensation but because you feel its important for society.  Teachers used to expect to make less than private sector employees, yet today's education crowd has thrown the noble aspect out of the window. It's about getting what you can, and as much as you can at any cause.  The teaching and the kids are secondary.

Teacher: I teach your child to be creative and independent.  I teach your child to think, and make good, morale choices.  I teach your child to be conscious of the world around him.
You:  Excuse me.  You are employed to teach our children the subject matter as mandated by the local Board of Education in conjunction with State and Federal Standards.  These plans are often predetermined by these boards, with quarterly or monthly expectations.  It is not your place to set moral standards for my children. That is my job.  If anything, teachers have drifted from academics to installing their own cynical social values.  This is wrong.  It is the parents job to be parents and instill morals and values, not the school.

Teacher: Teaching is hard.  You don't understand.  We have to be socialists, psychologists, mentors, babysitters, and policeman.  We need to be compensated for this work.
You:  You are not paid to be any of these roles.  If you are having trouble with an individual student or set of students - dismiss them from the classroom and get back to teaching the majority.  If your principal doesn't support you, contact the Board of Education for support.  If something is happening in your classroom that is illegal, you have the obligation to call the police.  No one assigned you as a mediator, or to play Dr. Phil.  If you doing this, you probably should be fired for not doing the job you've been hired by your district to do.

Teacher:  You are cold hearted.  I care for my students.
You:  That's nice.  I care about my child's education.  If you are wasting my son/daughter's valuable learning time playing social engineering games, you should be terminated for not doing your job.  If a student has psychological problems send them to the office or to the guidance counselor and get back to teaching.

Teacher:  You hate teachers.
You:  No. I don't hate teachers.  I hate what teachers have become: Political operatives of the Democrat Party.  This is well documented by your labor union's (NEA-ATA) unyielding commitment to the Democrat National Committee, and its candidates; the NEA-ATA has endorsed only Democrats since its inception in 1912. The NEA-ATA has also fought for bilingual education, and same sex marriage and education. It also funds (or has funded) extreme left wing groups ACORN, Amnesty International, Media Matters, Gay and Lesbian Alliance, Jesse Jackson's rainbow Push, La Raza, and Center for American Progress. Why is your labor union involved in such UN-American organizations and their agendas?

Teacher: I put my students ahead of my own personal needs and desires.
You: On the whole that is not true of teachers. If it were, teachers would not put politics and personal gain over students. Why does 80% of your funds go toward the DNC? Why are you protesting and causing outrageous public disturbances (riots) demanding salary increases when you are fully capable of reading the newspapers, and budget documents of states and local governments which are suffering from financial crisis.  Why are teachers ignoring the common issue and demanding raises, no layoffs, and arguing against any form of benefit conciliation?   What is noble about putting  yourself above the public interest?

Teacher:  We deserve raises just like people in the private sector.
You:  I don't know what part of the world you live in but the private sector is cutting jobs, not giving merit increases or bonuses, and consolidating entire departments to keep from going under.  Of anything, you are less deserving of bonuses because you support organizations and politicians who create policies that are counterproductive to job creation and capitalistic pro-growth economic policies.  In essence, the dues you pay and the affiliations you fund are a part of the root cause for  recession, and ongoing budget crisis among states.  Maybe you should rethink the cause and effect of your own actions, instead of demanding more from the public or government which you undermine.

This original blog post can be found at

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