Good teachers should cross picket lines to teach kids
I’m a newly retired elementary school teacher. I taught for more than 30 years. I served on my local school board. I sat on committees and performed other extracurricular duties. I sued my teachers’ union in 2016 with a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court, so I can add plaintiff to my resume. My reputation in my school district was stellar, despite rocking the boat with that awkward suing situation.
My only regret is that I never got to be a scab. I’m an accomplished, educated woman, and yet I never achieved the high honor of crossing a picket line.
But first a little context. Before COVID, teachers were actually expected to teach in order to earn their salaries. We taught, then we got paid. Good teachers worked extra hours at home and spent their own money for classroom supplies and rewards. During COVID, union bosses, for some mysterious reason, worked hard to keep schools closed, creating learning loss, isolation and depression among many children. Despite that, the education mafia kicked into high gear, using the pandemic as an excuse to flex their collective muscle and create as much mayhem as possible, all at the expense of our precious students.
Now that COVID is endemic and the “crisis” is over, the teachers unions need some way to keep the mayhem going. Strikes are the cause du jour, and they’re happening all over the country.
Why would a teacher, who cares about his or her students, strike? The reasons are myriad. Some teachers really do want to strike. They work for money and care nothing about their calling as an educator and their influence on their students. I take that back; they do care about their influence. Stories abound lately about progressive teachers who are using their platforms to raise up mini-me activists, all in the name of furthering left-wing causes. The unions protect these teachers, and they continue indoctrinating our kids year after year.
Most teachers who strike, however, are afraid. The pressure to conform is intense. The mob gets worked up by the union bosses and if a teacher questions or refuses to go along, the consequences are immediate and severe. Teachers have been ostracized. Some have had phony accusations filed against them and then the union conveniently decides not to offer legal help. One friend who defied orders to strike had his car vandalized as he tried to enter the school parking lot. It takes a strong soul to stand firm against the pressure.
Other teachers are told lies. The education mafia has its talking points, but the fact-checkers are nowhere to be seen. Perhaps they’re busy censoring speech on social media. Teachers are told to vote “yes” on the strike, pick up a sign, and get moving. But most have no idea what’s gone on behind the closed doors of the union office. They just do what they’re told. A couple of weeks ago, one union in Columbus, Ohio, had the complete audacity to give their marching minions signs that read, “On strike for the schools our students deserve.” And all this while the students were not actually attending school – at all.
Here’s the bottom line: I (and scores like me) became a teacher to positively impact the next generation. We didn’t sign up to get involved in education politics. We didn’t sign up to teach controversial topics best left to parents. And we certainly didn’t sign up to strike. Teaching is a great vocation until the union folks get involved. Then it’s sheer misery.
The good news, though, is that fairly recent Supreme Court decisions have made it so teachers are no longer bound to endless union membership. Sadly, not all teachers know this. Good teachers need to exit the unions en masse and move America one step closer to ending the education mafia’s grip on our schools.
But back to my scab-less career. Thankfully, not once in 30-plus years did my union initiate a strike. Seriously, this is good news. Our students never suffered through that. However, and this is where it gets sad for me: I never once got to cross a picket line.
I say that with tongue-in-cheek, and this is not about me. However, as I hear about strikes happening around the country, I wonder what these unions are thinking by stripping kids of their back-to-school excitement. I mourn for the stress put on families as union-focused teachers put their own interests over those of their students. And I so wish I could show up and walk through the picket line, shaking my head at their ironic signs and silly chants, and go inside and teach some kids.