Uncivil, Union-Dominated U.S. Public Education
I love teachers. I really do. And I'm sure that most are overworked and underpaid. Certainly, no one is getting rich from teaching kids. I applaud the hardworking teachers across this land.
But, as has happened in Wisconsin, when teachers unions muscle legislators like the Mafia and Democrats abandon their voting posts because they don't like projected outcomes, haven't we abandoned the very foundational principles of our republic? Where were the "be civil" mainstream media police last Friday morning, when union demonstrators screamed at legislators on the floor of the Wisconsin Assembly while they voted?
More proof of union dominance and monopoly came out Feb. 22, when Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board released a report that disclosed the top 10 lobbying groups in the state. Look who is at the top of the list:
1) Wisconsin Education Association Council, 7,239 hours, $1,511,272
2) Wisconsin Insurance Alliance, 1,427 hours, $777,430
3) Forest County Potawatomi Community, 1,492 hours, $756,512
4) Altria Client Services Inc., 1,321 hours, $755,733
5) Wisconsin Hospital Association, 5,126 hours, $605,033
6) Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, 1,379 hours, $560,544
7) Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, 4,967 hours, $508,023
8) RAI Services Co., 186 hours, $466,253
9) Wisconsin Independent Businesses Inc., 7,939 hours, $458,414
10) Wisconsin Energy Corp., 1,547 hours, $387,222
The Wisconsin Education Association Council leads the pack of lobbyists, spending two times as much and five times the amount of time as its closest lobbying competitor in order to buy, bribe and bamboozle legislators to do as it wants.
What also chaps my hide is that a gigantic chunk of the WEAC's gangster money and time is used to lobby against alternative choices in schools (including charter schools) and against tuition tax credit programs, which aid parents in sending their children to private schools.
The fact is that teachers union-sponsored protests spreading the land are not primarily about the teachers or the students. They are about the unions and feds maintaining their Mafia-style rule over education and our kids and preventing people from choosing educational alternatives.
Or are we naive enough to believe that Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, is stopping by the White House repeatedly for just tea and crumpets even though he admitted this past week: "I'm at the White House a couple times a week. ... I have conversations every day with someone in the White House or in the administration"?
It brings me back to that bully educational manifesto of President Barack Obama's secretary of education, Arne Duncan, who explained in an NPR interview, "I'm a big believer in choice and competition, but I think we can do that within the public-school framework."
There's something that the U.S. government and unions don't want you to know. And it came out a short time ago in a Heritage Foundation report on education. It conveys the general public's increasing dissatisfaction with public education and tells of the rising number of people opting for private education.
The report explains that during the 2007 and 2008 legislative sessions, 44 states introduced school-choice legislation. Forty-four states! And in 2008, choices for private school were enacted into law or expanded in Arizona, Utah, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. And as of 2009, 14 states and Washington, D.C., offered voucher or education tax credit programs.
Despite the growing public preference for private education, however, Congress last year canceled the District of Columbia's Opportunity Scholarship Program, created in 2004 to offer students from low-income families in the nation's capital an opportunity to join the school voucher community. The law provided $14 million in scholarships to help pay tuition at private schools of their choosing. But no longer.
And why did Congress nix the program, especially when studies had shown that students receiving vouchers since the program's inception were academically 18.9 months ahead of their peers? (All of Thurgood Marshall Academy's charter graduates are accepted to colleges.) Why would Congress phase out a program that cost $7,500 per student annually, compared with the $15,000 it costs in Washington's public schools to educate a child?
There's only one reason Congress canceled the program. It's the same reason at the heart of the teachers unions' battle in Wisconsin. It comes down to this: control and educational indoctrination.
I wrote in the paperback expansion of my New York Times best-seller "Black Belt Patriotism: How To Reawaken America": "The reason that government ... (is) cracking down on private instruction has more to do with suppressing alternative education than assuring educational standards. The rationale is quite simple, though rarely if ever stated: control future generations and you control the future. So rather than letting parents be the primary educators of their children — either directly or by educating their children in the private schools of their choice — (government wants) to deny parental rights, establish an educational monopoly run by the state, and limit private education options. It is so simple any socialist can understand it. As Joseph Stalin once stated, 'Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.'"
Parents deserve educational choices. Choice is what this country was founded upon.
Want to better U.S. public education? Feed the competition!
To find out more about Chuck Norris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.