The Teachers’ union is clear: since dues are paid by teachers, not by kids or parents, the union’s job is to protect and increase teachers’ salaries and seniority. I love good teachers. I come from a family of teachers. My life has been crucially enriched by teachers. I teach.
But I won’t support the teachers’ unions focus only on salary and seniority. There’s something simple the union can do to protect its own members and to get my support.
There’s a war going on in schools and in legislatures right now over bullying. Should we take strong steps to stop taunting, teasing, harassment, bullying and abuse despite problems in writing good laws, in developing strong policies, in promoting effective programs and in protecting strong principals from law suits by the bullying parents of bullies?
I’m calling out union officials and leaders who have wrung their hands in despair because no one is protecting teachers. What percent of your lobbying dollars have gone into promoting laws, policies and programs to stop bullies? How come the union doesn’t organize teachers to picket at legislatures that are considering laws to stop bullying? Have you see teachers parading with signs saying, “Protect students and teachers. We need laws to stop bullies”? How many television ads and letter writing campaigns have the union funded to promote clear action by legislators and school districts; and to remove ones that tolerate bullies? How many more murders and suicides will it take to convince the teachers’ union that its best interests lie in fighting for strong laws?
If I was a teacher in the union, I wouldn’t pay dues to an organization that supposedly represents my best interests but leaves me out to dry because there are no laws or policies to protect me when I challenge bullies and their protective parents.
It’s that simple for me. When the union takes on the bullies and their parents, I’ll support the union in its other efforts. I’m in good company.