Who’s Driving Public Education?

“She’s a teacher,” my friend said as we whizzed down Colfax Avenue in Denver, headed to City Park Jazz. It will be great to meet her, I thought.  Then my mind raced with questions: Is she a union member? Does she understand the union, or will I find she’s unaware, like two-thirds of the teachers I’d interviewed? Did she participate in the Colorado “walk-out” last year?

We parked and joined the other smiling throngs of people with their picnic dinners, blankets and lawn chairs.  Everyone and their dog seemed to have a dog. I guarded my food and sighed as conversation was punctuated with the needs of the four-legged critters.

She’s so sweet, I mused, as I conversed with my friend’s teacher-friend. At an appropriate point in the conversation, I asked her if she knew anything about Rebecca Friedrichs, the California teacher who’d taken her case against teachers’ unions to the US Supreme Court(SCOTUS). She hadn’t. Nor had she heard of the Janus vs. AFSCME case, decided in SCOTUS in June 2018.

Of course not, I groaned inwardly. When will teachers start being the first to know about major changes that directly affect their work? Colorado was already right-to-work before Janus, so perhaps the impact was less felt, but nonetheless, it was yet another colleague unaware of the teachers’ unions power hanging over their job.  My resolve to walk alongside and inform teachers always deepened after these conversations.

I made sure she knew about the website, For Kids and Country.

I encourage all educators to become more informed about who is in the driver’s seat of public education. It should alarm them that it’s NOT parents, students or teachers, as it should be.



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