Tag Archives: NEA

TEACHERS’ UNIONS – OPPRESSOR OF BLACKS AND OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR

The failure of public schools to properly educate American students, particularly nonwhite minorities, can be attributed largely to the policies and priorities of teachers’ unions. This is according to the website, discoverthenetworks.org.

The largest teachers’ unions in America today include the 3.2 million member National Education Association (NEA) and the 1.5 million member America Federation of Teachers (AFT). Devoted to promoting all manner of left-sing political agendas, these organizations rank among the most powerful political forces in the United States today. Forbes magazine routinely ranks the NEA among the top 15 in its “Washington’s Power 25” list of organizations that wield the greatest political influence in the American legislative system. The Association has earned that rating, for the most part, by making almost $31 million in campaign contributions to political candidates since the early 1990s. The AFT has given more than $28 million to its own favored candidates. Furthermore, these figures do not include expenditures on such politically oriented initiatives as television ads or “get out the vote” efforts.

If the $59 million in combined NEA and AFT campaign donations, more than $56 million has gone to Democrats. This imbalance reflects only the political leanings of the union leaders, not the rank and file school teachers. Surprisingly, just 45% of public school teachers are registered Democrats, and more NEA members identify themselves as conservatives (27%) than liberals (21%).

The NEA derives most of its operating funds from the member dues that, in almost every state, are deducted automatically from teachers’ salaries. Because member dues constitute the very lifeblood of the teachers’ unions, the latter strive mightily to avoid losing any of those members regardless of their professional competence or lack thereof. Even in school districts where students perform far below the academic norm for their grade levels, and where dropout rates are astronomically high, scarcely one in a thousand teachers is ever dismissed in any given year.

In most states, teachers are automatically awarded tenure after only a few years on the job. Once tenured, even the most ineffective and incompetent instructors can have long and relatively lucrative careers in the classroom if they wish to stay in the field of education. For example, between 1995 and 2005, just 112 of the 43,000 tenured teachers in Los Angeles lost their jobs, even though 49% of the students in their school district failed to graduate from high school. The story has been much the same elsewhere.

In addition to aggressively defending the rights of incompetent instructors, the teachers’ unions have likewise objected to merit pay proposals that would reward good teachers and punish bad ones. When Florida legislators in 2009 called for a merit pay system, the head of the state teachers’ union accused the lawmakers of punishing and scapegoating teachers and creating more chaos in Florida public schools. When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie suggested a similar arrangement for his state in 2010, the teachers’ unions asserted that his effort was intentionally designed to demean and defund public education. In Chicago, union officials have argued that merit pay programs can narrow curricula by encouraging teachers to focus on testing.

Teachers’ unions also oppose voucher programs that would enable the parents of children who attend failing inner-city public schools to send their youngsters, instead, to private schools where they would have a better chance to succeed academically.

While progressive democrat politicians, who receive much financial support from teachers’ unions, are opposed to school voucher programs, they continue to send their kids to expensive private schools.  When former Vice President, Al Gore, who was asked why he opposed school vouchers for black children, while sending his own son to a private school, he said, “If I had a child in an inner-city school, I would probably be for vouchers too.”

Everyone reading this article probably has one or more friends who are public school teachers and members of one or more teachers’ unions. Low pay appears to be the major gripe of public school teachers, and here in Alabama, teachers do have a reputations of being only concerned with pay and not concerned with teaching our children. They agree that there are problems in the states’ public schools that need to be fixed, with their solution being just give us raises and we’ll fix the problems. Most of us who work in the private sector have to perform adequately before we are given raises by our employers.

I have observed over the years that public school teachers are very inflexible when it comes to new and innovative ideas for improving the quality of education. As indicated above, they are against a voucher system which would allow students who would, because of residence, have to attend failing schools, be given vouchers to attend private schools. Furthermore, public school teachers are against any type of home schooling, even though home schooling has been proven to be successful.

The only method of teaching they appear to advocate is that which occurs in a school room where there is one teacher and possibly an aid teaching a small group of students. During the technological revolution (1989 to 2005), the teachers I knew were adverse to any kind of modern technology and resisted any kind of change to their methods of operation.

Those of us who have been in the workplace for years know that “ways of doing things” are constantly changing. Think back to that first job you had out of college then fast-forward to today. Wow!

Like Social Security, certain parts of teacher compensation packages are considered “sacred cows.” Don’t you dare even whisper about changing them. If you suggest making changes or that changes might be coming, you’re automatically accused of being against public education and hating school teachers. Sound familiar?

In many states across the nation, including in my state, Alabama, it has been suggested by private financiers that fully funded retirement systems might not be able to sustain themselves. For those currently drawing retirement benefits, those benefits won’t change. But for younger state employees, retirement funding might have to change. Public school teachers, including union leaders, have demonized anyone who suggested that changes might be needed in the future.

Most public school teachers I know vote Democrat and hate Republicans. They vote Democrat because Democrats promise to procure higher salaries and better benefits for them. It’s been this way for decades and nothing for teachers seems to have improved.

While towing the liberal line along with having an inflexible attitude toward change by members of teachers’ unions, is most certainly oppressing blacks and people of color, because so many who are falling into these groups do not have the means to send their children to private schools or the time to home school their children.

Have the leaders of teachers’ unions, along with the rank and file members, ever thought about listening to what private enterprise is suggesting for improvements. Maybe if they did, both sides could use their expertise and influence to create a robust public education environment. Sadly, though, I’m not holding my breath.

Note: Much of the information provided for this article was taken from discoverthenetworks.org.

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PUBLIC EDUCATION’S RESISTANCE TO CHANGE

Since I created this blog, I’ve written on many political topics: the economy, foreign policy, business, ideology, liberal v. conservative, etc. However, I have written very little on the state of public education.

While I’m not an expert on public education, I have observed many things over the years and I hate to say it, but I feel like there’s a lot that’s negative about public education. I do have a lot of friends who are teachers in various public school systems, most of them elementary and secondary. Most of them are liberal; most, but not all. Of course, I have more differences with my teacher friends who are liberal.

I had a teacher friend, a couple of years ago, to comment that teachers were hated by so many people. I told my friend that the word hate was a strong word and I don’t know that people hate teachers, but I do know that many people do have some problems with today’s school teachers. I further indicated to my friend that there were two main reasons why teachers might not be liked among the outside world.

1. Teachers’ Unions: Alabama is not a union-friendly state and a lot of folks just don’t like the AEA, the NEA, or other teachers’ unions. They have a bad perception of them.
2. All teachers do is gripe. Every teacher I know gripes about how much work he or she has to do. I know it’s a lot of work and a lot of responsibility, but so are our jobs. I’ve worked very hard throughout my career, still do, and don’t see any end in sight. I do get tired of the attitude that school teachers are the only ones who ever had to hit a lick at a snake.

I was right, my teacher friend didn’t like what I had to say at all. In fact, she pouted about it.

A number of years ago, another teacher friend of mine and I went to the beach for a weekend. This was in the summertime, so my friend wasn’t working, but I was. On the drive home, she said to me, “Nancy, you have a perfect job, don’t you?” I was driving and almost wrecked the car. Then I unloaded on her for about thirty minutes about the problems I had at work.

She replied, “I had no idea how you felt. You never say anything.” Then she asked me if I had someone that I called at night and shared my day with.
“Not only no, but HELL NO! Why would I want to re-hash my day and why would anyone in their right mind want to listen to me?”
After that, she toned down her griping about her job.

Every time a new innovation is education is implemented, public school teachers gripe about it and say it’s not good and they do site some points. They’re against home schooling, charter schools, school vouchers, and just about anything that deviates from the old standard of a teacher with a class of students.

I can appreciate that. No one likes change, especially in their job. When you’re told that there will be changes in your company, changes in your department, changes in management, changes in employee evaluation methods, you cringe. I cringe. Most of the time, we’re not going to like the change and we’re not going to come out for the better. Again, I can see why teachers resist alternative education methods. They’re human, they don’t like change, any more than I do.

A bill that would allow charter schools in Alabama has just been signed into law by Alabama’s governor. Of course the public school teachers are out there squawking. There is a provision in the law that would allow someone without a teacher’s certificate to come in and teach. If I had taken all those courses and was certified, I wouldn’t like someone coming in who was not certified. I’ve had to deal with similar situations in my career and it can be humiliating.

I’ve also heard public school teachers say that charter schools are just an avenue for the members of the chartering organization to make money. Of course, that’s typical for a liberal to say, since most school teachers are liberals and liberals don’t want any of us to make money.
To the public school teachers out there; if you’re a proponent of the “one size fits all” type of school; that’s changing. And you’re going to have to accept that things are changing. We’ve all had to do it. There have been times when I’ve “sucked it up” and dealt with the change. However, most recently, I decided that I couldn’t endure the changes and left my company and started my own business. Remember the old one room school? What if the teachers had said “no” way back when?

As one gets older, it’s harder to adapt to change. I can remember when I was younger and those much older than me resisted change, particularly when it came to computers taking over everything. I heard so much griping and teeth-gnashing that I made a vow not to sound like an old fogey when I started getting older and things were changing that I didn’t like. Have I done what I said I was going to do? Most of the time; yes. Although, I do catch myself sometimes complaining. And when I do, I try to pull back.

Many school teachers began their careers when they are in their early twenties and remain a teacher until they choose to retire. In Alabama, you can retire after twenty-five years. There is no job that doesn’t change in that period of time. Even ditch digging and janitorial jobs are subject to change over long periods of time.

While people should speak up when they don’t like something, if you’re constantly dissing changes and new ideas, you’re going to be labeled an old fogey. If you start getting shrill and emotional, accusing people who don’t agree with you that they don’t care about education, you’re doing what all liberals do when conservatives are attempting to have a discussion with you. In fact, you’re doing what typical liberals do. So, I guess there’s no point in trying to have a discussion with you about anything.

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