The teachers unions’ radical agenda alienates them from the American mainstream.
As I mentioned in last week’s post, during the week of May 9th, the California Teachers Association and many local unions, like the United Teachers of Los Angeles, will be taking to the streets in an attempt to convince legislators and citizens that cuts to education will not be tolerated by the unions. In other times this would be a winning strategy, but as shown by recent polls, the teachers unions are not the darlings of the public that they used to be.
While unionistas all over the country lament this loss of favor, they only need to look in their collective mirrors to understand why. They have managed to alienate too many Americans who previously had held them in a better light. The unions’ insistence on things like tenure and seniority privileges, which serve to protect only the bad apples, has begun to grate on the public. Additionally, the fact that they are tolerant of, and give outright support to extremist political causes is another reason the public is turning against them.
An example of the unions turn toward extremist politics took place last year in Los Angeles. Santee High School teacher and UTLA union rep Jose Lara took his students to Arizona on a “field trip” to protest Arizona’s new immigration law. In a YouTube video, Lara is seen standing in front of a wall-to-wall mural featuring a who’s who of murderous revolutionaries, including Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, while proudly displaying the motto Patria o Muerte, Venceremos!!! (Fatherland or Death, We Shall Overcome!!!). UTLA, while not a sponsor of the Memorial Day weekend trip, had no comment on Mr. Lara’s attempt to turn his students into an army of radical activists.
Ron Gochez, another radical teacher at Santee made an incendiary video in which he referred to Americans as “frail, racist, white people” and to California as “stolen, occupied Mexico.” This video produced calls from outraged citizens to the Los Angeles Unified School District, but they fell on deaf ears. After receiving many complaints, the district referred to the union contract and issued a statement which says, in effect, that Gochez committed no crime. So get over it.
Sarah Knopp, also a LA high school teacher, union rep and member of the International Socialist Organization is on record as a militant socialist who is not shy about pushing her collectivist credo onto her students. Additionally, Ms. Knopp has used UTLA offices to advocate for class warfare. After a trip to Wisconsin to protest the elimination of some collective bargaining rights for teachers, she proclaimed, “We cannot let public-sector workers and unions be scapegoats for an economic crisis caused by banks and billionaires!”
In these instances of teachers and proud union members using students to promote their activist agenda, we see the union as a passive observer, neither taking a position nor issuing a statement about some pretty egregious comments and activities. However, when the unions feel like inserting themselves into political-social issues that have nothing to do with teachers or education, they are not so taciturn.
For example, in 2008 the California Teachers Association contributed $1.25 million in a failed attempt to kill Prop. 8, which keeps marriage in its traditional form – between a man and a woman. That same year they also spent almost a half a million more to successfully defeat Prop. 4, which would have required parental notification before abortions are performed on minors. So then as now, a girl can be released from a public school to get an abortion and no parental notification is necessary.
Just last month, the California Federation of Teachers drew up a resolution at its yearly convention to “support and demand that the courts consider the evidence of innocence of Mumia Abu-Jamal.” Almost 30 years ago, Mr. Jamal was convicted of murdering Danny Faulkner, a white policeman. Mr. Jamal, who escaped the death penalty, is still trying to weasel his way out of prison, though a battery of lawyers can’t seem to convince anyone that he should have a retrial.
Outraged over the union’s action, the slain cop’s widow called CFT boss Marty Hittelman and asked how the teachers union could support a convicted cop killer. Caught off guard, Hittelman refused to directly address the issue and tried to change the subject by asking “How did you find out about this?” (A tech savvy five year old could have found out with a few mouse clicks by going here and scrolling down to Resolution 19.) Mrs. Faulkner said the conversation ended when Hittelman hung up on her.
Just three weeks ago in California, the members of the Oakland Education Association decided that they would shut down a local bank because they thought that 700 teachers would lose their jobs come September. Enlisting the help of the International Bolshevik Tendency, a Communist organization, they managed their mission, shutting down the Bank of America branch in downtown Oakland for two hours with signs that said, “Bail out schools, not banks.” Turns out that just 35 teachers at most will actually be laid off.
And then there is Wisconsin where there have been some boisterous demonstrations aimed at Governor Scott Walker and Republican legislators. Teachers and others were angry about the curtailing of teachers collective bargaining “rights.” While the demonstrators were a mix of teachers and rent-a-thugs, it was a teacher who committed some rather serious crimes. Kate Windels, a 26 year old pre-school teacher and union activist has been accused of two misdemeanor counts of making threats over a computer and two felony counts of making bomb threats. Apparently, Ms. Windels sent an email that threatened Republican legislators and their families with a miserable death by bombing and by “putting a nice little bullet in your head.”
Interestingly, there has been no word of approval or condemnation for Ms. Windels’ extra-curricular activities by the Wisconsin Education Association. But considering that their brethren in California think nothing of supporting a convicted cop killer, Ms. Windels’ actions probably raised few union eyebrows.
So what have we learned here?
The teachers unions
• either support or turn a blind eye to radical Chicano racist-separatists and teachers who indoctrinate their students into the ideology of universal socialism.
• have no comment when a union activist sends death threats to legislators and their families.
• want children released from school to get an abortion while keeping it a secret from their parents.
• contributed $1,250,000 of teachers’ dues for legislation that would have fundamentally changed the course of human history by redefining marriage.
• are lobbying for a convicted cop killer to be released from prison.
• collude with Communists to shut down a bank in an attempt to promote class warfare.
If the teachers unions continue down this path, the months and years to come will see them more and more marginalized from American life. These unions and their acolytes have moved so far from Main Street that they can’t even see it. The citizenry, becoming well aware of their radical antics, will undoubtedly become increasingly active in combating them.
About the author: Larry Sand is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.