Teachers’ unions are supposed to be there to advocate for their teachers. They are to protect teachers’ rights, support teacher professionalism and check administrative power. If a union truly cares about its members, teachers, than it would make sense to go a step further and say that by caring about teachers, they are by extension, caring for kids.
Often times one will find that a teachers’ union will use dues it collects from its members to support certain political candidates who are on the side of teachers’ unions and will make sure that teachers receive the pay they sorely deserve.
Don’t get me wrong; teachers deserve all of the salary they get and probably a lot more. However, some teachers’ unions are not really representing the true ideas and needs of their own members.
Several teachers are sorely disappointed that the very large teacher unions, National Education Association and the Federation of Teachers have decided to take a stand on something that is a side issue and most teachers in America are not going to be dealing directly with.
With the policies being pushed forward by the Department of Education, namely the Common Core, wherein teachers are being turned into facilitators and will be teaching to the test more than ever before. Add in that the Common Core will severely cripple their creativity and force students and teachers alike into a one size fits all box, a person would certainly believe the unions would have better things to lend their voice to like truly protecting their members from political plays and top down reformation.
What, you may ask, are the NEA and AFT advocating for right now? Well, it’s like Groundhog’s Day, the movie with Bill Murray, where he wakes up in the same day over and over. The Zimmerman trial is resurfacing again. This is the circus that will not pack up and go home. The unions have decided to get involved with this nightmare.
In a letter recently sent to its 3.2 million members, the president of the National Education Association Dennis Van Roekel says:
“To the NEA family, Trayvon Martin was a teenage boy with a full life ahead of him. Our job as educators is to nurture our students, to give them a sense of safety and normalcy, to provide a foundation of knowledge and never-ending inspiration to each and every child. We teach our students about perseverance. We tell them not to give up on their dreams. We as a society must not give up; we must respect the rule of law and never abandon the search for truth. While the criminal trial of George Zimmerman has concluded, our search for the truth must continue. NEA stands with the NAACP in calling for a full investigation by the Department of Justice. A full federal civil rights investigation is essential. As educators, it is our responsibility to our students to set the example by acting to seek justice, to teach fairness, and to provide comfort to students and families who grieve.”
Furthermore, Randy Weingarten, president of Federation of Teachers sent a similar letter to the organizations nearly 1 million members:
“Last night, a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman, a man who killed an unarmed teenager in cold blood. While we believe in the rule of law and while the jury has spoken, the implications of the acquittal are profound. It is disappointing that a racially profiled, unarmed African-American young man can be shot dead with no consequences for the perpetrator.
Urge Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Justice Department to continue their investigation.
This case reminds us that the path to racial justice is still a long one, and that our legal and moral systems do not always mesh.”
These organizations are not so much for representing their members’ interests anymore. They are for their own particular brand of social justice. They seem to have forgotten that teachers are there to teach reading, writing, grammar, history, science and math, just to name a few. It is not a teachers’ job to teach social justice. It is not a teachers’ job to pick apart the acquittal.
It sounds as though on one hand they want to teach the justice system and how it works, but more importantly, they want to teach that the social justice ramifications and consequences of this single trial needs to be held up as an example in the classroom to further propagate the ideology that they want to see moved forward. The leaders of these unions are not for teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. They want teach social justice. Social justice is absolutely not in the fundamentals of education, following the traditional role of education in America.
Apparently these organizations have long forgotten what their jobs really are. To speak for their members and to care more about what is going on in their members’ classrooms and careers than to insert themselves into an ugly political storm surrounding complicated trial that should have nothing to do with the federal government. I will venture to say that the majority of the teachers that are in this union are not represented by the leaders.
Of course, AFT is no stranger to civil rights issues so it would make more sense for them to be involved in the Zimmerman verdict than not. In 1963, the AFT (unlike many other unions) actively supported the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom organized by civil rights leaders, at which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Busloads of AFT members came to the nation’s capital for the event.
They were also the first to demand equal pay and equal representation for African American teachers. This is all good. African American teachers deserve just as much as their Caucasian or other race colleagues.
They need to imagine that they are on the side of the people who believe that the law has spoken and we need to drop it. Continuing this discussion is only causing more harm to society and more division. How would they feel if those teachers who believe that were in the classroom preaching to children that racism was not an issue in this case? Some people fully believe that and I support them in their belief.
An intelligent person knows that racism exists. And it is important to talk about Martin Luther King Jr and it is important for children to learn that we need to respect each other regardless of color. However, urging the federal government to get involved coupled with teaching your brand of social justice, which is to not to just make us equal, but to elevate minorities, or anyone over another, is ridiculous.
Teaching children that our justice system is broken is not the way to go. They need to teach the children how our system works and they are smart enough to come to their own conclusions as to what cases are just and what cases may be lacking in justice. By teaching a child that Americas’ justice system is broken and not blind to color they are saying that perhaps the kids need to stand up and go with the teachers’ vision of a utopian society, and, hey, if it takes a couple revenge crimes on some white people, then that’s okay. Yes, that’s extreme, but I have no qualms with believing something like that could happen with the hatred I see around just the social networking sites, alone.
Social justice is just one of many topics that need to be taught at home. Yes, there are some negligent parents out there that will not teach this properly, but why take the “one size fits all” approach on this issue and teach it to all children, thereby assuming all parents are negligent?
Maybe this is the reason that the unions have not come out strongly against the Common Core. Perhaps “one size fits all” is exactly what they are hoping for?
They will then have a generation of social justice spewing, reverse racist drones that will ultimately create the very society they want. Discriminating against certain groups of people in their endeavor to end discrimination is okay, isn’t it? As long as they are discriminating against the right people, the people who don’t agree with their ideals, all’s fair.
Shaping a child’s vision to your specific idea when the other side isn’t presented and no moral discussion other than your morals are involved, that’s indoctrination.
No, it’s very disappointing to see that such powerful forces behind education would waste their time on something like the Zimmerman trial. There are much bigger fish to fry.
One of those fish being particularly ugly is the Common Core. The teachers who will fight the Common Core are the regular teachers in small towns and districts all over the country. The teachers who will fight the Common Core are the ones that know that social justice, if it has a place in the classroom at all, needs to take the very farthest back seat possible right now, so that we focus on what’s important.
I’m pretty sure social justice should go in the bowels of the school, near the left over tuna casserole that nobody ate for lunch.
The real teachers will stand. The ones that are concerned with the children in front of them, the ones they reach every day. Not this sensationalist case that continues to brew because the media will not let it die.