.Back when Silent Calvin Coolidge was Governor of Massachusetts, his response when much of the Boston Police Department went on strike in 1919 was to draw a line in the metaphorical sand that has stiffened the spine of many executives since, notably Ronald Reagan when the air traffic controllers tried to extort the nation. Responding to labor leader Samuel Gompers, who asserted that the police were in the right, Coolidge responded via telegram on September 14, 1919 , “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anyone, anywhere, any time.”
Public unions are an ethics abomination, permitting employees to essentially hold the public hostage. The current conduct of teachers unions, flexing their muscles and attempting to use their leverage over children to push an ideological agenda largely unrelated to education, may not be endangering public safety in the strict terms of Coolidge’s day, but we need a new Calvin to expand his principle to hold that there is no right to strike against the public welfare.
For the nation to reopen the economy successfully it is essential to reopen the schools. Sensing that they have their knees on the public’s neck, teachers unions in various states are refusing to go back to work, claiming peril that is dubious at best. There is scant evidence that children spread the Wuhan virus. Grocery store workers have been taking greater risks since the beginning of the pandemic, because people have to eat. Children also have to think, and parents have to be able to earn money to feed them.
Protocols could be enacted to allow teachers without health issues who are not in the high-risk demographics resume teaching without unreasonable risk. Among other measures, classes could be held outside. But across the country, teachers unions are abusing their power to harm their communities and the nation, working families, and children for their own ends.
As you can see in those photos above, the Milwaukee teachers union hit a new low even for their profession by erecting fake tombstones explicitly to frighten children. Nice. The union has union joined others, and the Democratic Socialists of America—what a coincidence!—in demanding:
• A ban on new charter schools
• A ban on private school choice
•A ban standardized tests
• Police-free schools
• But more federal funding, of course. We should be paying the people more to teach our kids, when they think that tombstone stunt is responsible .
Fire them. Give them a deadline as communities line up qualified volunteers, and tell any teachers who can’t show they are at special risk to look for another way to earn a living. As we can see from the riots in our streets and the incoherent babbling of our rising generations to explain what they are protesting, too many teachers think their job is indoctrination anyway, and critical thinking as an objective has gone the way of geography and diagramming sentences. The teachers unions should be dissolved.
Unfortunately, we romanticize a teaching profession that has long ago abandoned the profession’s ideals, and as I have pointed out here previously, it has no ethics standards. They need to have standards imposed on them, since they refuse to police themselves.
A good place to start is requiring them to do their jobs.
[Notice of correction: Originally, the post started with an inexcusable misquote from “Those Were The Days,” The “All in the Family” song, not Mary Hopkin’s hit. I removed it, I’m embarrassed, and let us never speak of it again.]