Tag Archives: public schools

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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CHANGES IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

In my lifetime, there have been many, many changes in the United States of America. A lot good and a lot bad. Women and minorities have the right to vote and at one time they didn’t. Up until the sixties or maybe even the early seventies, women couldn’t apply for credit, take out a loan, purchase a house, etc. An unmarried woman was looked down upon as one who was not capable of finding a husband, while divorced women were looked upon as incapable of holding on to their man. If you were divorced, you were considered used goods and if you had children, finding a man to marry you was almost impossible. And it wasn’t until the seventies that it began to become commonplace for women to seek careers as doctors, attorneys, and engineers. These are all good changes, and there have been many others.

When we talk about bad changes, the first thing that comes to my mind are the Supreme Court rulings that took prayer out of the public schools.

There have also been bad changes; and when we talk about bad changes, the first thing that comes to my mind are the Supreme Court rulings that took prayer out of the public schools. In two decisions, Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington school district v. Schempp (1963), the Supreme Court established what is now the current prohibition on state-sponsored prayer in U.S. Schools. The Engel decision held that promulgation of an official state-school prayer stood in violation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause. Abington held that Bible readings and other public school-sponsored religious activities were prohibited.

In an article by Penny Starr of cnsnews.com, dated August 15, 2014, entitled “Education Expert: Removing Bible, Prayer from Public Schools has Caused Decline,” Ms. Starr took the following quote from William Jeynes, a professor at California State College in Long Beach. “One can argue, and some have, that the decision by the Supreme Court – in a series of three decisions back in 1962 and 1963 – to remove Bible and prayer from our public schools, may be the most spiritually significant event in our nation’s history over the course of the last 55 years.”

According to this article, Professor Jeynes said that there have been five negative developments in the nation’s public schools.

  • Academic achievement has plummeted, including SAT scores
  • Increased rate of out-of-wedlock births
  • Increase in illegal drug use
  • Increase in juvenile crime
  • Deterioration of school behavior

The article also included a comparison between the top five complaints of teachers from 1940 to 1962 (talking, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, and getting out of turn in line) with the top complaints from teachers from 1963 to the present (rape, robbery, assault, burglary, and arson). This should speak for itself. Removing prayer in public schools has caused decline.

Currently Ten states have passed a law or resolution to bring the Bible as literature in public schools statewide. However, this is secular in nature with the Bible being taught as literature rather than as the word of God. In 2013, Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant, signed into a law requiring public schools to develop policies that will allow students to pray over school intercoms, at assemblies, and at sporting events. While not allowing school-sanctioned prayer, the law permits students to offer public prayers with a disclaimer by the school administration. However, in July 2013, the Rankin County, Mississippi school district could no longer hold prayer during school assemblies or distribute Bibles after a Humanist group lawsuit. This particular school district was later fined $7,500 after a minister delivered a prayer during a district wide honors ceremony, according to washingtontines.com. It doesn’t look we’ll get prayer back in the public schools anytime soon.

Since taking prayer out of public schools, church attendance appears to have diminished. When I was growing up, just about everyone went to church. Now it’s not that way. While I can’t give an estimate of the percentage of people who don’t go to church as compared with the percentage of people who do, it sure seems that church going has lessened since the seventies and eighties.

The “bullying” of school students has been brought to the forefront in the last ten or so years. While bullying has been taking places for centuries, the actual acts committed against the victims have increased in number and have become more severe in nature. Could it be that young people, who were forced to listen to Bible readings and participate in prayer, still bullied, but the exposure to the Bible and prayer kept them from going too far.

Since taking prayer out of the public schools, atheist organizations such as Freedom from Religion have sprung up and seek to stamp out any evidence of Christianity, such as a nativity scene display, in public places. Lawsuits are filed, fines are levied, and people and businesses are destroyed for believing in God.

The phrase, “you can’t legislate morality,” was bantered about by those who favored abortion rights.

And we can’t leave out the 1974 decision, Row v. Wade, which entitled abortion rights to women. At this point the value of life had greatly diminished, morals had gone out the window, and having to take responsibility for sex when a pregnancy was undesirable was negated. If you got pregnant, you could simply get an abortion. The phrase, “you can’t legislate morality,” was bantered about by those who favored abortion rights. Little did most people know that this phrase was used by Barry Goldwater in his 1964 presidential campaign. The senator from Arizona felt that discrimination and bigotry would only end when people ended it in their hearts. Thus he was not in favor of civil rights legislation.

Fast forward to day: Christians are being blamed for the Orlando mass shooting that took place in a downtown gay bar. The current president of the United States, on occasions, has denigrated Christianity, accusing Christians of clinging to their guns and Bibles; while extoling the virtues of the Islamic faith, a faith that has led to the deaths of many Americans, including, but not limited to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the 9/11/2001 hijacking of planes and flying those planes into businesses, and the recent Orlando shooting. The fact that we would re-elect the current president in 2012 stems, in my opinion, from the 1960s cases taking prayer out of the public schools.

There’s no doubt that President Barak Obama has turned our culture upside down where what used to be good is now bad and what used to be bad is now good, but it seems that the groundwork for his actions appear to have been laid decades ago.

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