I’ve been away from blogging for a while. I have a good reason: school started! Whew. The last six weeks are a blur, and parent/teacher conferences are on the horizon.
After a year away from the classroom, I feared my ability to teach would not snap back like riding a bicycle. It’s been rough, but I do still remember “how to ride”.
I also feared backlash from colleagues, all of them acutely aware I took my restored right to free speech and free association, and did NOT become a union member. (Never have been, but the union always took the money out of my paycheck anyway.)
I still fear retribution of some kind from the teacher’s union, because I’m sticking my neck out to educate teachers about what their union is really doing.
My worst fear, however, is that teachers are so steeped in union rhetoric that they will not do what they push students to do everyday: think critically. For themselves.
Isn’t it odd that unions are against school choice? Isn’t it odd that unions push parents away from schools? Isn’t it odd that unions never ask teachers their opinion of all the politic stances their own union takes on political issues? Isn’t it odd that the union prefers keeping teachers in their jobs just because they have their jobs, instead of keeping the ones who are doing their best? Isn’t it odd the union is prodding teachers to become social movement activists? Isn’t it odd that teachers keep paying and paying and paying, but never taking the time to really understand their union?
I’m very afraid teachers will just keep going forward without realizing it is the state and national teachers’ unions damaging students, parents and teachers in the education system. I’m very afraid teachers will think myself and others trying to reach them with the truth are just crazy.
Teachers: Wouldn’t you tell your students to understand all sides of an issue? To gain a perspective and understanding of all points of view? To put themselves in another’s shoes, and walk a mile? To understand why millions of dollars are being spent and valiant efforts are being made to get a message to YOU – YOU teachers who are trapped on the “inside” of union rhetoric and messaging?
Don’t let fear of your very own union keep you from really and truly understanding the message those of us on the “outside” are trying to get to you. If you listen to lines such as American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten put in her recent Labor Day email to members: “Everything we’ve fought for and have attained is on the line right now–labor rights, civil rights, voting rights. . .“, without batting an eyelash; you’re trapped on the inside.
Stop and think critically: Are your civil rights about to be abolished? Seriously? This from the same source who would tell you straight-faced that the Janus decision was an attack on worker freedom. Did you believe that, too? Janus restored workers’ freedom of speech and association. Your union isn’t telling you that, because your union wants your money.
Yes, fear. The union is fomenting fear in you; just as an abuser strikes fear in the heart of its victim.
Be afraid. Be afraid of not thinking critically for yourself about the truth of your union’s doings.
But do not fear the truth. Let it come to light, cast light, and light your way out of union abuse.