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Letter of the day: The plight of the conservative public school teacher

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By Michelle Malkin  •  February 24, 2011 12:55 AM

Yesterday, I posted on public school teachers speaking truth to prog power — a topic I’ve been reporting on since the late-1990s, when I covered the battle of brave dissident educators who challenged the Washington Education Association’s misuse and abuse of forced dues for Democrat politics.

Tonight, another public school teacher shared his thoughts with me. When Big Labor goons chant “WE ARE ONE,” read and re-read this letter, which tells you all you need to know about the code of silence enforced by the teachers’ union racket.

Hello Michelle,

I wanted to share some of my own thoughts and frustrations with being a teacher in public education. Unfortunately, I am unable to do this openly for fear of reprisal from the very union that is supposedly in place to protect me.

Let me begin by saying that there are a lot of good teachers in my district and throughout the country whose top priority is the education of students. Sadly from my own experiences in the day to day life of being an educator there are an awful lot of teachers who are focused on anything but education.

As events have unfolded in Wisconsin, I have been reflecting on my nearly 10 years in public education. My parents were both teachers and I greatly admired the work they did with their own students. I began with that same passion for teaching that they instilled in me, but am finding it more and more difficult to keep that flame alive.

The hold that unions have over the public educational system is nothing short of toxic. Year after year, I have a lot of money taken out of my paychecks for union dues. What do I get for my money? I am bombarded with emails and flyers “urging” us to vote for candidates that coincidentally always have the letter (D) after them. I get to be lectured to by union reps about the evil Republican candidates are and why they know what is best for me.

Now I am being hit with email after email “urging” me to stand with the teachers of Wisconsin. One teacher who is very tight with our union replied to our district making fun of Republicans directly. You might ask why I don’t forward this to human resources, but the repercussions would be brutal.

The truth is that any teacher who does not hold down the talking points of the unions, DNC or Obama White House needs to keep quiet to keep their job. The vitriol I heard over the Bush years was deafening but acceptable and expected. I can hardly remember a week that went by where teachers, sometimes in front of students, were not making fun of Republicans. I’ve personally been the subject of much ridicule and scorn from fellow teachers and will continue to be as long as I am in public education. I believe in what I am doing in my own classroom by focusing on educating students, but as time goes by it is becoming more and more likely that I will leave education all together. Not because of students, but because of the unions and the teachers that support them.

Frustrated in Minnesota

***

Remember the words of former NEA top lawyer Bob Chanin, which I posted here in 2009 and which have been circulating again this week. It is NOT about the children:

Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.

And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.

…This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary. These are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay.

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Categories: Education, Feature Story, Unions

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