(The opinions expressed in guest op-eds are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.)
Teachers’ union bosses have declared war on public school parents.
What we’re now seeing in school districts across the country is a punitive reaction by political educators against parents who discovered while their kids were home during the COVID school closures what had been going on behind their backs for years.
To cite just a few examples:
- In school districts across the country, Fridays are now online-only school days for the foreseeable future.
- Meanwhile, in December the Los Angeles Unified School District announced that 34,000 students will be barred from campuses for the second semester starting in January because they haven’t complied with the vaccine mandate to simply attend class.
- The same month, Chicago Public Schools announced it was eliminating gender-specific restrooms, right after Loudoun County, Va., made national headlines when the school board was found to have covered up the assault of two girls in two different high school bathrooms by the same alleged offender.
- Even as the weather grows colder, kindergartners in Portland, Ore., are forced to eat lunch outside, seated on socially distanced buckets.
The union bosses are fighting back because, as labor leaders, they naturally resist any attempt to hold their members responsible for anything. But even more fundamentally, teachers’ union leaders are first and foremost dyed-in-the-wool Marxists who see schools not as institutions for learning but indoctrination centers in which the next generation of radical minds can be inculcated.
For them, the curriculum should be all about unlearning the values taught at home, not reinforcing them.
They realize they overplayed their hand. The unions’ politically motivated school closures in some cases won them a few workplace or agenda-driven benefits they couldn’t otherwise have won in collective bargaining sessions, but it came at a heavy price.
Parents, for the first time, got a good look on their computer screens at what they were being taught, and they didn’t like what they saw.
Beginning in mid-2020, parents across the country began rising up in a classically organic movement to defend their children against radical left-wing propaganda disguised as “education.”
School board meetings, at which unions had come to expect their demands would be rubber-stamped in front of a few diehards at most, became standing-room-only events, and outraged parents made their voices heard loud and clear.
These parents of all political, socio-economic, and racial backgrounds wanted their kids back in the classroom to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic rather than ideological hogwash that won’t pay the bills later in life.
But rather than taking the parents’ concerns seriously and making changes accordingly, teachers’ union bosses and the school board members bought and paid for with teacher dues money dug in their heels.
Even as school board meetings became national news headlines, the political educators kept firm on school closures, even going so far as to lobby the White House and the Centers for Disease Control to delay school re-openings.
When parents protested that Critical Race Theory (CRT) taught their children to judge one another by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character, the political educators told them they didn’t know what they were talking about and lied about how it was only taught in law schools.
Following a mountain of evidence that CRT is, in a variety of ways, being taught in K-12 classrooms, the unions and their apologists in the media responded by accusing the parents of racism — even though the complaints came from parents of all races.
The National School Board Association (NSBA) then did what was previously unthinkable: In September 2021, it submitted a letter to the president (apparently written by a White House staff member) calling for federal intervention against outspoken parents, likening them to domestic terrorists.
But the union leaders overlooked a harsh reality: Parents don’t react well when their kids are screwed with.
Parents relentlessly pushed back and went over the head of the education establishment to their state lawmakers. And now, more than half of the country’s state legislatures have taken action to ban CRT in K-12 classrooms, and many of those same states’ school boards have distanced themselves from the national group.
By November 2021, school board members across the country were either retiring or facing challengers to their seats that they wouldn’t be able to overcome.
All of which should have caused the political educators to re-evaluate their methods, but self-awareness has never been a defining quality for the left in general or public-sector union leaders in particular.
School board members know their actions are in direct conflict with the parents’ preferences and desires, and that’s exactly why they’re putting these policies in place.
It’s a power-hungry message to the parents that the political educators do not care what parents want for their children. The political educators are in charge, and they will make your life more difficult if you threaten their power structure.
It’s long past time to break the stranglehold teachers’ unions (and by extension, the school boards they control) have over the public education system.