By Edward B. Driscoll, Jr.
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Teachers are the heart of the public education system and deserve the admiration of students, parents and taxpayers alike. They plant seeds of knowledge in young minds and help inspire the innovators and leaders of tomorrow to greatness.
But labor unions like the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association do not often bring out the better angels in teachers. When they start thinking and behaving collectively, focusing on their personal interests rather than those of their students, things can get ugly very quickly.
Paula Bolyard exposes that ugliness in detail in the e-book "Homeschooling: Fighting for My Children's Future." A collection of 26 essays from PJ Media, the tome includes four pieces on the threat that teachers pose to America's K-12 schools.
"Parents rightly admire and appreciate their children's teachers, but they don't always understand the radical labor organizations running the plays behind the scenes in negotiations with their local school boards," Bolyard said. "Unfortunately, beloved teachers sometimes get caught up in the guerrilla tactics."
Here are seven ways that teachers misbehave in the name of their unions:
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- They hurl vulgarities and engage in violence. Members of the Strongsville Education Association in Ohio did that while on strike in 2013. The school system called in substitute teachers to oversee the high-stakes testing that students had to take, but the striking teachers would have none of that. "I'm embarrassed that these are the people that are teaching my children," one of the substitute teachers said.
- They invade the privacy of their critics. The union in Strongsville posted pictures of the "scabs" who replaced them to a "wall of shame" on Facebook. They also sent copies of the photos, negative captions included, to students in order to frighten them, and they blanketed the neighborhoods of the substitute teachers with flyers identifying them.
- They threaten to report immigrants who challenge them. This happened in California, one of the few states with a "parent empowerment" trigger that lets citizens take control of low-performing schools. One such school forced parents to verify their petition signatures with photo identification and hinted that immigrants could be deported.
- They fund misinformation campaigns. Democracy "is a loaded word in union circles," Bolyard said, because unions push state referendums to overturn legislative actions that impose union reforms. Once they get an issue on the ballot, they spend millions of dollars on "emotional ad buys" and manipulate a compliant media into pushing their destructive agenda.
- They pressure school boards to gain political advantage. One tactic, as defined by Saul Alinsky in his 1971 book "Rules for Radicals," is to convince the board not to hire a person to negotiate "against teachers" in labor talks but to spend that money on educating children instead. Without a trained lawyer on their side, the board is then vulnerable to a union that has almost unlimited resources through the NEA.
- They mislead their fellow teachers. Union leaders have an incentive to dupe their own members – the less they know, the more likely they are to vote for a strike, even it is against their interests to do so. "Only mention the board's proposals that, with editorial descriptions, will keep feelings high (or low)," the NEA tells its members.
- They frighten the community and the board. Striking teachers in Strongsville sent a letter home to parents warning that substitute teachers are not trained to deal with school shooters and might not know about children's food allergies. "Such reckless recommendations and fear-mongering from professional educators are breathtaking," Bolyard said, "but they are par for the Alinsky course."
With corrupt influences like that so prevalent in public education, no wonder more parents are turning to homeschooling.