Concerned about the astonishing low student proficiency in Re-2, parents expect teachers to be refining their educational effectiveness and keeping students focused on essential content. Yet on March 1, twenty-five Re-2 teachers instead plotted to inflict Re-2 with a day of educational chaos by walking-out — thus depriving their students an entire precious day of instruction. The lesson provided students that day was how a frenzied minority of workers can organize a spiteful act of civil disobedience to sabotage an administration and a Board they have unilaterally declared to be unfair. Rather than celebrating the fact that Re-2’s declining enrollment crisis has been resolved by the attraction of Merit Academy, these malcontents instead protested against the minor inconveniences that must occur in accommodating the hundreds of students flooding back to Re-2’s half-empty buildings. Such unprofessional union tactics are poisonous to Re-2’s culture and learning environment.
Preceding the teachers’ March 1 insurrection, the three teachers’ unions of our region (WPEA, PPEA and CSEA) met secretly in an Re-2 facility not to discuss how to improve student achievement nor how to best manage the substantially increasing enrollment in Re-2. No, these union activists gathered to do what all government labor unions do: singularly promote the careers (and ideological) interests of their members (teachers) above the interests of their customers and employers (parents, students and taxpayers). The union operatives attending the meeting identified charter school competition and curricular transparency as the greatest threats to the interests of the Union. As competition threatens union monopoly of the education industry, unions methodically conspire to deny parents the freedom to choose alternative educational options like Merit.
Union officials despise educational choice and the fact that Merit has returned hundreds of local students back into the half empty facilities of Re-2 and is scheduled to bring hundreds more next year. Union leadership abhors charter school ability to offer teachers higher compensation based on field of expertise, individual talent and unique abilities (like securing grants) rather than rigidly adhering to union preferred standardized pay schedules based uniformly on years of employment and college credit hours. Charters also offer broader diversity in academic content often not available in smaller school districts. Merit for example offers Latin, a comparative anatomy course (in which students prepare and assemble the full skeletons of large mammals) and a multi-year aviation program that prepares students to become pilots — perhaps even astronauts. Re-2 has been enriched by charter innovations — much to the consternation of union command.
Union brass also doesn’t like pesky parents and elected board members evaluating the appropriateness of instructional content. Recently adopted curricular guidelines like American Birthright interfere with Union opportunity to inflame the student body with delusional (and hate-filled) charges of social injustice.
The silent majority of students, parents and teachers (who recently received an 8.5% pay increase) welcome school choice and support this astute Board — thus provoking the noxious union hysteria, the failed recalls, the infantile board meeting outbursts, and the walk-outs.