Kira Davis: No More Dancing Around...It's Time to End Teachers Unions

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

When I first started in school choice activism, the recommended approach was to never criticize the teachers unions. The union PR machine has been so effective over the decades that just to mention the roadblocks they routinely throw up in front of education progress was a third rail. It would earn you the label “union buster” among the very people you were trying to persuade. School choice is a bipartisan issue with plenty of Democrats in favor of it, but it was hard to enlist those Democrats to team up in the fight when it might seem like you’re asking them to denigrate the union system.

So we stayed away from it and made our arguments in other ways. There’s too much money and not enough accountability; stats show choice works; poor minority students benefit most from school choice; school choice creates competition which drives public schools to up their game. There’s a long list of persuasive arguments and in the interest of not creating an unnecessary divide in delicate alliances, we tiptoed around the union issue.

But I can no longer deny the biggest issue facing the success of our students. I can no longer pretend that the number one roadblock to providing the education our communities need is just a “side issue.” I can no longer be a party to the perpetuation of greed in the name of “coming together.” What has happened to our children during COVID has stripped away the last of my tolerance.

Teachers unions are a scourge and it is time to end them.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a student of history and I understand the power of collective bargaining and how it changed our society for the better during the industrial age. The wealthy and entrepreneurial industrialists pushed us into the era of American dominance and that is a good thing. There is no doubt that without being forced into accountability, many would have continued to abuse and overwork desperate employees and their children. Unionizing forced that accountability.

Power and greed are not exclusive to any one economic set, and unfortunately as unions began to increase in influence and dues money, they also increased their greed. Which is fine when a private company is negotiating with union bullies. That’s a transactional relationship and companies can be held accountable for their own terrible negotiations. I don’t like it, but it’s private business. Everyone can do what they want.

Public school teachers are paid by the taxpayers. When they unionize they do not do so against a large corporation like Ford or GE. They are necessarily unionizing against the taxpayer. Except the taxpayers have no say in negotiations. It’s a one-sided relationship, with unions having all the power and their bosses (we, the taxpayers) having no choice but to pray they negotiate themselves into actually serving our children.

So far they have failed miserably. It should be no surprise, given that they are unions for teachers, not students. It’s right there in the name. But it is shameful that people like Randi Weingarten keep using our children as shields for their greed, pretending that everything they do is for the students. Nothing they do is for children and I might not even mind that if they were honest about it.

The Weingartens of the world have no interest in making better opportunities for our children. The greedy underbelly of their noble exterior has been stripped away by COVID. While parents helplessly watched their children sink into isolation and depression and lose over a year of vital skills work, the teachers unions bullied local schools boards and muscled their way into the CDC – of all places – to enforce their desires on the COVID language coming out of the nation’s health entities.

It was supremely evil.

It is even more evil that Randi Weingarten – president of America’s most powerful teachers union and the head of the lone stumbling block preventing schools from returning to education – has been trying to gaslight Americans into believing that she’s been advocating to get kids back to school this whole time.

She is asking us to believe that while private schools have been able to operate safely and completely, somehow public schools are immune to solutions.

The devil is a liar and lying liars lie all the lying time.

While we parents wept for our children, unions called us selfish, cruel, even murderers. For varying reasons they wanted to stay home and stay paid while the people they supposedly served either had to go unpaid to stay home or abandon their children to their own devices during the day in order to put food on the table. When we complained more, they accused us of just wanting a glorified babysitting service.

No. We want the education you people set up as not only our “human right”, but the narrow path to success.

Public schools soak up more and more of our tax dollars every year while delivering less and less on their promises. When we dare question the results, we’re told they just need more money and less competition.

Teachers unions have thwarted the progress of our children around every corner. They have delayed their lives in service of their own whims. If America’s teachers are so frightened of a virus they’ve now all been vaccinated for, they need to quit. They are not entitled to their jobs if they aren’t willing to give our kids what they are entitled to – a decent public education.

Unions have destroyed education in the inner cities, gutted the graduation rates of minority students, and bribed our politicians to actively work against their employers – the people. They are no longer a service, they are a drain. They are evil and they have allowed the most vile, selfish, greedy among them to rise to the top and grow fat on the suffering of the students they claim to love.

It is time to disband the teachers unions. They are outdated. We no longer live in a world without protections for workers and even if we did, a public union is and always will be the antithesis of taxpayer representation. The horse and buggy was an incredibly needed invention, but when it was no longer needed America moved onward and upward and it has been a roaring success. Where would we be now if horse and buggy unions had succeeded in delaying the development of the combustible engine and demanded American taxpayers pay for their whips and wheels and medical care instead of investing in progressive solutions to travel?

The teachers unions have no interest in students. Our kids are dollar signs to them. They are not only useless, they are dangerous and if we have any hope of salvaging public education in America, we must end them.

Full. Stop.

Note: Did you know teachers don’t have to be in a union to work? The Supreme Court ruled it so in 2018.  If you need help resisting your union dues or leaving, head to the California Policy Center for information and support.