For the Kids

April 9th, 2018 by Ken

By Dale Cooper

Washington State property taxes are set to skyrocket … and you can thank a teacher for it.

Recently I heard a “Teacher of the Year” defending “public schools.” It’s become a tired, over-used trope and a predictable political talking point.

“Who could be against public schools?” I wondered … and I honestly couldn’t think of anyone. Of course this prize-winning teacher was railing against educational innovation, such as “charter schools” and “vouchers,” that introduce that most salutary of commodities into the school marketplace … competition.

This thought spurred me to continue with my musing, “Hmmm, isn’t the real issue the delivery of public education?” which led me to wonder, “Why is it school teachers always talk about this issue? Shouldn’t they be focused on education, not politics? Seems like they used to be. I wonder when things changed?

“Was it when their union taught teachers how to speak with a shrill voice to level political accusations and threats at all who opposed them? Was it when they discovered if they filled the campaign coffers of their union’s political friends, union friendly legislation would inevitably follow? Or was it when they realized they could control school boards by simply electing three or 4 of its board members.

“Or was it when they discovered how well sympathy sells, especially when it comes to kids? After all, using kids as props can hide any number of outrageous demands by telling us it’s – for the kids.”

And that’s when the teachers started feasting on the public purse. That’s when schools became union shops, closed to non-union teachers. That’s why they’ll fight any threat to their union’s monopoly with insults, character assassinations and smears. They call charter school and voucher proposals predatory and dangerous while they crow how they’re the noble, selfless defenders of “public schools” … which is to say “union schools.”

I think it’s time we stopped talking about “public schools” and started to talk about “public education” instead. Maybe we could look past the union’s deflections, politicking and name-calling, and started to look at educational outcomes. And if we find those outcomes deficient perhaps we should try something new, something that will offer students a better chance for a quality education.

Shouldn’t that be our goal? If so, we need the political will and moral courage to remind teachers that they work for parents … not for their union. We need to put the “public” back in charge of “Public Education” by giving parents real choices, not feel-good banal clichés, political corruption and educational mediocrity.

Now that would be something truly worthwhile “for the Kids!”

Posted in Government, Local Politics, The Real News

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