What in the world does this have to do with teachers?

One of my main bases for hostility to teacher’s unions is that increasingly have nothing to do with their original goal, which was ensuring a living wage and decent working conditions for teachers.  (Not that they were always that effective at serving their original union mandate.  My father was a teacher and he did belong to a union.  In terms of his needs, what it should have done was given him a living wage, which it did not.  For most of my childhood, we were just above the poverty line on his salary.)  In the old days, they mostly focused on wage and workplace issues, although they periodically slid into policy issues such as ebonics (which, unsurprisingly the unions supported despite, or maybe because of, the fact that ebonics education ensures   that blacks never leave the ghetto).

These small forays in policy, which used to be a subset of the teachers unions’ function, have now become overriding goals. The perfect example of this is the NEA’s wholehearted, almost obsesssive commitment to same-sex marriage.  Whether you support same-sex marriage or not, you have to task yourself — what in the world does this have to do with teachers’ salaries and workplace conditions?

I dislike strongly that my classroom teachers are being indoctrinated by an organization the purports to serve them in maintaining livable working conditions.  I’d have exactly the same response if the NEA obsessively opposed same-sex marriage.  This is not an issue that should be on the table for the teachers unions and, to the extent it is and to the extent it guides what goes on in classrooms, I bitterly resent it.

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Comments

  1. suek says

    Heh. I still have my mother’s letter of termination from the job she held as a teacher in an all girls school. It included a very nice recommendation, and noted that the only reason she was being let go was due to the fact that she was soon to be married, and therefore no longer suitable to be teaching young ladies.

    Honest.

  2. Charles Martel says

    the only reason she was being let go was due to the fact that she was soon to be married, and therefore no longer suitable to be teaching young ladies.”

    Actually, come to think of it, in today’s sexed-up schools they would probably fire a teacher about to get married because she might give girls the wrong idea about the wonderfulness of promiscuous sex and the need for wymyn to be free of patriarchal constraints like wedlock.

  3. Gringo says

    suek:
    My parents were long time friends with a couple whom they met in grad school. The couple had taught in public high schools in the Midwest in the 1930s and 1940s. They had to keep their marriage secret because the wife would have been fired from her teaching job for being married. IIRC, policies changed while they were teaching school, and they were able to go public with their marriage while still remaining school teachers- until they went to grad school and later became professors.

  4. 11B40 says

    Greetings:

    In a similar vein but different:

    I live in the San Francisco Bay area. During the last couple of weeks, AFSCME, a multilevel government employee union, has been airing TV spots encouraging voters to encourage our US Senator Feinstein to support President Obama’s healthcare initiative. What strikes me as unusual is that, as government employees, these guys must already have pretty decent medical insurance and yet their union finds it a good use of their dues money to advertise for the socialization of the healthcare industry.

    So, I wonder if this is some kind of a kickback to the Obama-ists or an expectation of the expansion of the union’s workforce when Obama succeeds or…Is there a Door Number 3?

  5. suek says

    Good question – and are they going to be covered under the plan they have presently, or will they be covered under the Government plan? Do they know? Do they have guarantees? I suppose that if their plans are better, there won’t be a problem…

  6. says

    which, unsurprisingly the unions supported despite, or maybe because of, the fact that ebonics education ensures that blacks never leave the ghetto).

    I am curious, Book. When did you arrive at this thought, or even suspicion of it?

    I didn’t realize such things until well after 9/11.

  7. says

    My Dad taught me the thought about ebonics (although back in the mid-70s, it didn’t have that “official” name). He grew up in a ghetto in Berlin and understood better than all those middle and working class whites at the union meeting how important quality speech is to entering the mainstream. The only person who backed him up was a little old black lady teacher, who shouted down all the people trying to call my dad a racist.

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