Reforming Education: Chasing the Wrong Rabbit

Schools closed. Children abandoned. Parents told to pound sand.

Is a repeat defeat for students and parents in the works for this coming school year?

It seems so. What’s not in doubt is it will be another big win for teacher unions. The Los Angeles union demanded a rich array of gimmes before it would consider any return to classrooms, reports Lee Chanian for the Hoover Institution. These included defunding police, shutting down competing charter schools, a 1% wealth tax, and a 3% income surtax on successful people, to name but a few. Is this dedication? For sure. But not to students.

Given the reach and power of teacher unions, it’s no reach to think that in the spring of 2020 union bosses pushed governors to close schools. Then, in the fall of 2020, after governors shifted decision-making to school boards, teacher unions pressured local boards not to open with full in-person instruction. It worked once, so, same play again for school year 2021-2022?

How did our public schools sink to this?

We let them. Parents of all hues and politicians of all stripes allowed teacher unions and many teachers to extort taxpayers for salaries, health insurance, and pension contributions for… not showing up. Too many teachers danced to the tune their unions called, not to the calling of a once dignified profession.

Because we demand so very little of our public schools, so very little is what we get. It’s an equilibrium of shameful surrender to selfish sophistry.

What’s the damage done, beyond devastating families and fracturing communities? Emma Dorn, et al., of McKinsey & Co., found “[s]tudents who move on to the next grade unprepared are missing key building blocks of knowledge that are necessary for success, while students who repeat a year are much less likely to complete high school and move on to college.” This harm will be with our children and America for a generation.

While teachers have been complicit in what they’ve allowed their unions to become, the teachers’ epidemic desertion of duty forces us to see more clearly what has only been winked at: the teachers are the unions, and the unions are (when push comes to shove-it) foremost about the welfare of adults in the system, not children trapped in the system.

This blunt truth tees up the question: If teachers refused to report to their duty stations to teach children during the epidemic, while, in striking contrast, grocery clerks and nurses and police officers reported every day to their duty stations, why would we think teacher unions and teachers will of their own hand now change their priorities from self-service to public service? Why would we think the fifty-year on-again, off-again barren battle to reform public education is anything other than a fool’s errand?

RELATED: “We Do Not Consent!”: San Diego Resident Goes Viral After Sharp Tongued Speech At Board Of Supervisors Meeting

Written by Greg Moo for American Thinker – August 19, 2021

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