The Union Way: Cheat Kids, Get Award, by Bob Parks

parks_smMy father was a teacher, so I know that teaching can be an all-consuming profession. Nonetheless, it’s the job that my father chose — as do today’s educators. There’s no involuntary draft.

When I watch or hear some of today’s teaching professionals whine about their rights and wages (while sprinkling into their tirades about how it’s really all about the children), I could go off on a tangent that would be unprintable in this particular venue.

There are unionized public school teachers who make taxpayers — and the lawmakers who are the guardians of their hard-earned tax dollars — the guilty parties for allegedly not wanting to give teachers the relaxed standards and increased pay and benefits they demand. Again, they claim it’s all really for the children.

Some of these teachers have taken unauthorized leave from their jobs to protest and harass their targets. In doing so, they have left thousands of children to fend for themselves for the daily duration.

What’s even worse is that some organizers/teachers are even being publicly rewarded for coordinating hookey-playing teachers’ unauthorized activism.

As reported by the “Michigan Capitol Confidential” web site of the Mackinac Center:

On Dec[ember] 11, the Taylor School District closed because so many of its teachers skipped school to go to Lansing to protest right-to-work legislation. As a result, about 7,500 students in Taylor were forced to miss classes that day.

It was part of a larger “sick out” that plagued three school districts and forced around 26,000 Michigan kids to miss school. That meant countless working families had to scramble to find childcare (or left the kids at home with the remote control as a babysitter) with little advance notice.

This is a problem that President Obama is citing as an unacceptable consequence of the federal budget sequester. But the inconvenience is apparently not a crisis when the goal is a liberal priority.

In fact, as “Michigan Capitol Confidential” further reported, cancelling a scheduled day of school was something to be honored:

For organizing that “sick out” protest, the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan gave Taylor teachers’ union president Linda Moore an award for “outstanding organizing.”

Public Act 112 in Michigan makes public school employees strikes and/or lockouts illegal.

Moore reportedly spends half of her time organizing and half teaching and earns a salary of close to $90,000 a year. The Taylor School District is burdened with a $6 million deficit.

For her “outstanding organizing” that closed down schools for the day, however, the state union gave Moore an award? Gimme a break!

Teachers selfishly put their students at risk when they didn’t show up for work. And, despite what they did being against the law, they will likely never be disciplined and will be paid for their day of rage against the law-abiding taxpayer.

Let me take something partially back. In some cases, students are not left unsupervised while their teachers protest. Some teachers actually exploit their students by having them join in on their rabble-rousing.

Last year in Wisconsin, a 4th grade teacher brought his class to participate in a protest at the state capitol in Madison against Governor Scott Walker. I bet parents were thrilled.

I may have a faulty memory when it comes to these matters, but I don’t recall teachers taking to the streets when their students are lacking in school supplies. These teachers seem to take to the streets only when an issue directly affects them. They get the most excited when they aren’t willing to sacrifice like the rest of us, aren’t willing to have their job performance more vigorously evaluated and when they demand we pay more for their salaries despite a national trend of declining education results.

And let’s not forget how ballistic they get when anyone threatens to give job-seekers the right to choose not to join a union and have dues confiscated.

Very few of us can just decide to skip work whenever we want to protest our compensation. Certainly the ringleader isn’t exalted — but we are talking about public-sector unions and the governments that regularly give in to their demands.

Little wonder why many of our public schools continue to fail.

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Bob Parks is a member of the national advisory council for the Project 21 black leadership network and operates the Black and Right web site ( Comments may be sent to [email protected].

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