My dad was a California teacher and a member of the teachers’ union. He’d also been a communist in his youth in Weimar Germany and socialist Israel, so you’d think a union would have been a comfortable fit (although he was a Democrat by this time). In fact, he loathed the union.
He had two reasons for doing so: First, union management was in bed with school administration, so the teacher’s got pay raises that were about half the rise in costs due to inflation, while the union leadership ensured that both they and the administrators kept up with inflation. The result, for us, was a barely living wage. Already then, back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the system was rigged.
Second, even then, the union had nothing to do with education, and everything to do with Leftist politics. The big fight I remember was over bilingualism.
The union wanted to teach Hispanic students only in Spanish because it was unfair and imperialist to force them to speak English. My dad, who spoke English (and exquisite English it was) as his third language, stood up in a union meeting and spoke out against this misguided policy. He was booed down as a racist. The only person who stood up in his defense was a teeny old black lady who roundly castigated the crowd for consigning a generation of students to the ghettos. No one had the courage to call her a racist, but she too was booed down.
Teaching can be an honorable profession. Many teachers are deeply committed to their students and to the greater cause of a true education. But the teachers’ unions are a cancer that has nothing to do with education, and everything to do with advancing Leftist ideology. The only thing that’s changed since my father’s day is that the teachers, too many of whom now cater to a distinctly Leftist slate, get a living wage.
And with that introduction, I suggest you read Zombie’s latest about the protests teachers staged in California last month.
UPDATE: More on teachers’ unions and their unsavory friends.