Tag Archives: Teachers’ Unions

Free the kids… by Ron Paul

In the name of safety children have been prevented from socializing and learning, which is how they grow up. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has “recommended” that children wear masks while playing. Her offered reason is to ensure Covid is not spread by “heavy breathing” of children near each other while around a soccer ball.

Dr. Walensky’s recommendation is one more example of Covid authoritarians’ refusal to “listen to the science.” The science says no to lockdowns and masks. The masks are not blocking the very small viruses in “heavy breathing.” Dr. Walensky also ignores the science showing that wearing a mask while exercising or playing sports has negative health effects.

Dr. Walensky’s most outrageous disregard of science is ignoring the fact that children are statistically unlikely to be at risk of either spreading Covid or becoming very sick from it.

Dr. Walensky’s recommendation is one of many examples of how children are harmed by the overreaction to coronavirus. Many children have had their physical and mental health damaged because they cannot go to school, play with their friends, or even have a birthday party because of the lockdowns.

Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, the two major teachers’ unions — the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) — have stood in the way of reopening schools. Teachers’ union leaders have claimed it is too dangerous for teachers to resume in-person instruction, even though adults are at little or no risk of getting Covid from children. Sadly, teachers’ unions are disregarding the interest of children. Recently released emails show the CDC disregarded the science in favor of the AFT’s restrictive guidance when developing recommendations concerning reopening schools.

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But They’re Experts on Critical Race Theory

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

Public Schools Refuse to Open. Give the Taxpayers Their Money Back, by Ryan McMaken

It’s galling enough that people who don’t have children in public education have to pay for people who do. What’s downright infuriating is when everyone pays for education while schools remain on lockdown due to teachers’ unions’ intransigence. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

In many school districts across the nation, public school teachers still don’t want to go back to work. Private sector workers have long been hard at work in kitchens, at construction sites, and in hardware and grocery stores. Meanwhile, from Seattle, to Los Angeles, and to Berkeley, California, Teachers’ Union representatives insist they simply can’t be expected to perform the on-site work in the expensive facilities that the taxpayers have long been paying for.

This week, for example, some schoolteachers in Colorado’s Jefferson County turned out to protest the district’s plan to return to limited in-person learning later this month. These protestors still insist it’s unsafe, even though the very institutions these people have long parroted in favor of endless lockdowns—the CDC and the World Health Organization, for instance—say reopening schools should be a “top priority.” Moreover, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine have concluded “The lower risk of transmission of the virus by younger children and reported milder or moderate illness in this age group suggest the appropriateness of in-person instruction for primary and elementary grades.”

But that’s not good enough for public school teachers. So, in many cases, parents who actually want or need to send their students to an in-person school must go to the private sector instead. The government schools in these places can’t be bothered, but the private schools are racing to serve the public.

The most absurd aspect of all this is that even when public schools effectively tell parents and students to “get lost,” taxpayers still have to pony up the cash to pay for the public schools. If any private sector industry tried to function this way, it would be denounced in no uncertain terms. But it doesn’t happen this way because in the private sector—unlike the public schools—business owners and employees don’t get paid if they refuse to work. In other words, the customers can take their money and leave.

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Baltimore Student Who Failed All But Three Classes In Four Years Was Ranked In Top Half Of His Class, by Jonathan Turley

One thing is certain about the coronavirus response: it’s left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths about public education, its bureaucracy, its teachers, and their unions. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

As teacher unions fight to keep schools closed, the true cost is being felt by students who are racking up failing gradesdropping out of virtual classesincreasing drug use, and, in rising numbers, committing suicide.  In response, some union officials like the President of the Los Angeles Teacher’s Union has labelled calls to return to class examples of white privilege despite overwhelming science supporting resumption of classes. However, for minority students, this shutdown has taken a dire situation and turned into a freefall disaster. The pandemic led to the closure of an already failing public school system, as evident in a shocking story out of Baltimore. As recently reported, a high school student almost graduated near the top half of his class after failing every class but three in four years. He has a 0.13 GPA.  His mother finally went public in exasperation with the failures in the public schools.

Tiffany France is understandably upset. She is a mother of three who works three jobs to support her family. She was never told that her son failed 22 classes and was late or absent 272 days over his first three years of high school. She was called for only one teacher-student meeting and that meeting never occurred at Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts.

France ultimately had to pull her son out of the school and enrolled him in an accelerated program to allow him to graduate in 2023.

For decades, we have spent huge amounts of money in school districts like Washington, D.C. and Baltimore as these cities and their leaders have failed to address these failures. We have had a lost generation of kids who have neither the education nor the trained skills to succeed in society. Yet, there is no accountability for the political and educational leaders in these cities.

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Biden School Reopening Faces Uphill Battle As Teachers Threaten Strike Over In-Person Classes, by Tyler Durden

Biden’s buddies in the teachers’ unions aren’t doing him any favors. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen schools in his first 100 days is about to hit a major snag; overwhelmingly liberal educators who are terrified of catching COVID-19 are refusing to return to work, and their unions feel the same way.

In Chicago, the nation’s third-largest school district has until Saturday to vote on a collective union action on whether to effectively go on strike and refuse to return to classrooms on Monday – and would instead continuing to reach remotely. Over 80% of Chicago Teachers Union delegates support the resolution against the district’s reopening plan, which requires elementary school teachers to begin working in person Monday for the first time since March. Approximately 70,000 students in kindergarten through eighth grade are preparing to return to school, while the union estimates around 10,000 educators are affected.

If the school district starts locking out staff who refuse to teach in-person classes, as they already have, the resolution authorizes a strike until a deal can be reached. That means all CPS staff, including high school teachers who have not been called back yet, would not log into their virtual classroom.

“Our members are resolved to continue working, teaching their students and doing so safely,” CTU President Sharkey said in a statement. “Only the mayor can force a strike, and if it comes to that, that’s her choice. We choose safety.” –WBEZ

Both the Chicago Sun Times editorial board and a Chicago Tribune Op-Ed from acclaimed Liberty Justice Center attorney Jeffrey Schwab vehemently oppose the Chicago Teachers Union resolution – with Schwab calling it “likely illegal.

After nearly a full academic year without students receiving in-person learning drawn out by CTU’s threats of illegal strikes — on top of 11 missed days of school in 2019 — it has become clear that kids are collateral damage for the union’s political and financial leverage. CPS leadership should hold fast in the face of these threats because they are illegal. Parents, meanwhile, need to let CTU know that they refuse to let their kids become victims to CTU’s unlawful tactics. -Jeffrey Schwab, via the Chicago Tribune

Elsewhere, teachers and their unions are questioning the overall plan, or lack thereof.

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Will Students Return to Public Schools After the Pandemic? by Will Flanders and Cori Petersen

Public school wasn’t much before the pandemic, and they’re even worse now. Many parents will pursue alternatives after they reopen, if the teachers’ unions ever let them reopen. From Will Flanders and Cori Peterson and realcleareducation.com:

“She’s a happy kid, a good student, and the virtual learning was a disaster for us,” said Erin Haroldson of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, whose eight-year-old daughter was receiving virtual education from her local public school last spring. When it looked like schools would go virtual again this fall, Haroldson asked her daughter if she would rather continue at Mount Horeb or start in person at a new school, where she would need to make new friends. When her daughter responded “Mom, I want to go to a new school,” the Haroldsons enrolled her in High Point Christian School in Madison.

The Haroldsons are not alone. According to a new Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) study, the state’s public schools saw an unprecedented enrollment decline this fall, and the school districts that started virtual learning at the outset of the school year lost the most students. Across the Badger State, the average district saw an enrollment decline of 2.67%. Districts that went fully virtual drove this decline, seeing an average 3% decline in enrollment.  

These numbers may seem small, but they represent a meaningful number of kids. In Madison, enrollment declined by 995 students; in Milwaukee, by 2,335 students. These drop-offs were driven in part by smaller pre-kindergarten and kindergarten enrollment. 

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Charter Schools and Their Enemies, by Walter Williams

One way impoverished minority children can catch a break is by enrolling in charter schools. Sadly, the demand far exceeds the supply. From Walter Williams at theburningplatform.com:

Charter Schools and Their Enemies

Dr. Thomas Sowell has just published “Charter Schools and Their Enemies.” He presents actual test scores of students in traditional public schools and charter schools on New York State Education Department’s annual English Language Arts test and its Mathematics test. Sowell gives the results of student tests in charter schools such as KIPP, Success Academy, Explore Schools, Uncommon Schools, Achievement First as well as the traditional New York City public schools.

On the English Language Arts test, a majority of charter school students, most of whom were black or Hispanic, tested proficient or above. Their achievement ratio was nearly 5 to 1. On the Mathematics test 68 percent of charter schools’ 161 grade levels had a majority of students testing proficient. In the traditional public schools, 177 grade levels, just 10 percent had a majority of their student testing proficient.

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30,000 Six-Figure Illinois Educators Cost Taxpayers $3.7 Billion, by Adam Andrzejewski

Ever wonder why Illinois is going bankrupt? From Adam Andrzejewski at forbes.com:

We mapped the exclusive club of 30,000 Illinois educators with either salaries or pension payouts greater than $100,000 costing taxpayers $3.7 billion annually.

Illinois teachers are starting their three-month summer break. But when it comes to teacher salaries, there’s no break for taxpayers. Last week, the Illinois legislature passed a new mandate requiring base pay of $40,000 for Illinois educators. (Cue the teacher’s union cheering.)

Yet, lawmakers refuse to cap the payouts for the most highly compensated public employees who burden the system with unsustainable salary and pension costs. The payouts are so large, by our calculation, the equivalent of $1 out of every $3 in individual income tax is paid out to retired teachers.

For 30,000 Illinois educators, the new “minimum wage” is $100,000+. Nearly 20,000 of these employees are currently working, while the other 11,766 are retired – pulling down six-figure pensions.

Thanks to an interactive tool we’ve built at our government transparency web site, OpenTheBooks.com, every taxpayer in Illinois and across the country can search the $100,000 Club at the teachers’ retirement system by zip code. Want to see who in your backyard makes a $150,000 salary for teaching drivers ed or PE classes? What about the retired art teacher with a $100,000+ lifetime pension annuity?

It’s a game the whole taxpaying family can play! Use it and be amazed – and also help out reform-minded legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner’s team identify waste. Click here to access the map below.


Search the $100,000+ Salary & Pension Club 2017 (Teachers’ Retirement System, TRS)

Using our interactive mapping tool, quickly review (by zip code) the 30,000 Illinois educators who make more than $100,000 – either from a salary or public pension. Just zoom in, click a pin (zip code) and scroll down to see the results rendered in the chart beneath the map.

Here’s how it breaks down in just three of 850 school districts:

  • In Township HSD 214 in Arlington Heights, 617 working educators made $100,000 or more in addition to 578 retirees receiving six-figure annual pension payouts.
  • In Palatine Township HS 211, there were 594 educators pulling down six-figure salaries and 533 retirees receiving six-figure lifetime pensions. Read the superintendent’s response here.
  • In Naperville CSD 203, there were 374 educators making $100,000 or more while another 278 retirees received six-figure pension payouts.

To continue reading: 30,000 Six-Figure Illinois Educators Cost Taxpayers $3.7 Billion

Betsy DeVos Confirmed as Education Secretary: Enjoy the Delicious Tears of Teachers Unions, by Robby Soave

A proponent of school choice—charter schools and voucher plans—is now the Secretary of Education. SLL would prefer full-on privatization, but it’s a start. From Robby Soave at reason.com:

With Vice President Mike Pence formally casting the vote to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate, Betsy DeVos has been confirmed as the next Secretary of Education.

DeVos, whose vigorous enthusiasm for school choice and presumed support of Title IX reform make her one of Trump’s better Cabinet picks, encountered furious opposition from Democrats. Indeed, the left fought DeVos harder than they fought Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Attorney General pick. Sessions opposes criminal justice reform, asset forfeiture reform, and immigration reform, but knocking out DeVos was a higher priority for liberals.

That’s due to the all-consuming influence of public teachers unions, which remain one of the most powerful political forces in the Democratic Party and a constant obstacle to education reform. If DeVos can do anything to diminish the teachers unions’ ability to thwart change in the education system, her nomination will have been well worth the fight.

Needless to say, enemies of education reform are freaking out.

Randi Weingarten called DeVos’s confirmation “a sad day for children.”

Here was Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson in a since-deleted tweet:

Not an exaggeration in any sense.

The Women’s March tweeted an anti-DeVos statement as well—undermining the idea that the movement is grounded in opposition to mistreatment of women:

Here was Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani:

But it was the Dems who voted strictly along party lines: two Republicans actually voted against DeVos. And no one deserves as much criticism for using children as pawns as union leadership does. The unions claim to be serving the interests of kids and families, but their job is to protect bad teachers from accountability and use membership fees to fund left-wing causes.

To continue reading: Betsy DeVos Confirmed as Education Secretary: Enjoy the Delicious Tears of Teachers Unions

Education at a Crossroads, by Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell argues why it’s important to have someone like nominee Betsy DeVos, who is not part of the “education establishment” as the Secretary of Education. From Sowell on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

In just a matter of days — perhaps Monday — a decision will be made in Washington affecting the futures of millions of children in low-income communities, and in the very troubled area of race relations in America.

An opportunity has arisen — belatedly — that may not come again in this generation. That is an opportunity to greatly expand the kinds of schools that have successfully educated, to a high level, inner-city youngsters whom the great bulk of public schools fail to educate to even minimally adequate levels.

What may seem on the surface to be merely a matter of whether the U.S. Senate confirms or rejects the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be head of the U.S. Department of Education involves far bigger stakes.

The teachers’ unions and the education establishment in general know how big those stakes are, and have mounted an all-out smear campaign to prevent her from being confirmed.

What makes Mrs. DeVos seem so threatening to the teachers’ unions and their political allies?

She has, for more than 20 years, been promoting programs, laws and policies that enable parents to choose which schools their children will attend — whether these are charter schools, voucher schools or parochial schools.

Some of these charter schools — especially those in the chain of the Success Academy schools and the chain of the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) schools — operate in low-income, minority neighborhoods in the inner-cities, and turn out graduates who can match the educational performances of students in affluent suburbs. What is even more remarkable, these charter schools are often housed in the very same buildings, in the very same ghettoes, where students in the regular public schools fail to learn even the basics in English or math.

To continue reading: Education at a Crossroads