by Jan Greenhawk – Editor, Radio Free Oxford
This Myth is Destroying Education in the United States
Look at this Tweet:
This is from the National Education Association. If you’ll remember, this is the Teachers’ Union that has hundreds of millions in assets and spends 91% of those assets on activities other than teacher labor issues or education of children. But, hey, they care.
If you are a parent and you have read this tweet, I hope you are angry about it. The National Education Association claims that a public employee knows more and cares more about your child than you do.
I taught for thirty years. And for most of those years, almost every faculty meeting was spent talking about how to get parents more involved in their child’s education. It was about partnering with parents, honoring their values, etc. Teachers know the importance of parents in educating children and that parents are a child’s best advocate and, in many cases, teacher.
I guess that’s over.
Why is that?
In 2020 something happened that changed the way that parents saw their child’s education. The pandemic forced schools into virtual mode and suddenly parents saw what was going on in the classroom. They were not happy. Not only did they see that some teachers had no clue about content or how to teach, but they were spending time indoctrinating students into political, sexual, and racist ideology. They also saw that the Teachers’ Unions were the ones who wanted schools kept closed.
So, thinking that the schools, administrations, and Boards of Education cared about their opinions, the parents spoke out in principal’s and superintendent’s offices and at school board meetings. They demanded access to instructional materials and lessons. For the most part, they were ignored.
Some of them ran for School Board and other public office. Others formed groups like Moms for Liberty and No Left Turn in Education.
The Unions didn’t like that. You may wonder why.
The Teachers Unions are not about helping teachers or students. They are about power and political influence. They have hundreds of millions in assets and yet spend less than 10 cents per dollar on their stated mission. They spend the other part of each dollar on donations to politicians, lobbying, eliciting business for companies they get kickbacks from, perks and high salaries for their top tier employees.
Until parents start paying membership dues, the Teachers Unions have no need to court them. Instead, they lobby the Department of Education and State Departments of Education for district budgets to get so bloated that more teachers and other affiliated classroom personnel can be hired. Remember, Unions get money from many different school employees, not just teachers. So, if they can get more school psychologists, counselors, classroom aides, etc. they can increase their war chest even more. Involved, outspoken parents and taxpayers just get in the way of this.
If they are going to make money, they have to convince the general public that the only experts on educating children are their members.
They are doing a great job with that message. They even have willing partners to help them spread it. At a recent county council forum, one of the candidates said, “We must trust the experts, the teachers, with the education of our children.” He is a parent with children in school. I wonder if he would agree with that statement if one of those “experts” taught his child something he violently disagreed with? Would he trust them then? I doubt it.
So, he spreads the union message and people lap it up like milk. (He was also endorsed by them.)
I think most teachers are excellent at what they do. As a career teacher who watched others teach, I saw those who were artful in their craft and those who were not. Funny thing, the best teachers would tell you how important parents are and how much respect they have for them. Only a weak teacher wants to denigrate parents or claim that a teacher is the only “expert” in how to teach any child. Only a weak teacher is afraid of transparency and parental involvement.
We shouldn’t be surprised about the NEA stance since they went along with other government “experts” who were so good at creating the illusion of six feet social distancing, masking for safety from germs, and a vaccine that is untested but somehow effective and safe, even when it isn’t. All one needs to do is go to the local grocery store to see the leftover disciples of that myth. Remember, the Unions wanted schools closed.
So, when parents, many of them trained over decades to believe that teaching is rocket science, believe that their child’s teacher somehow became an expert on the learning needs and capacities of every kid in the class from day one of the school year, we can’t be shocked. The Unions have put a lot of time and money into that message.
Despite all the propaganda from the unions and the Progressives, people are waking up. If the lessons in a class are good for the children, are not offensive, then why should they be hidden? If a teacher can easily send plans and materials out via technology, then why can’t a parent see them? And shouldn’t that parent speak up if the content and values being taught their child are in opposition to what they believe? Or if something serious about their child’s mental and physical health is being kept from them by schools?
According to two members of the public who spoke at our local school board meeting last night, the answer is “no.” Parents should just sit down and shut up. One speaker was a parent heavily involved with GLSEN and PFLAG in our area. If you don’t know what GLSEN and PFLAG are, go to glsen.org and pflag.org. This parent was speaking about someone who spoke at a previous Board meeting about her distress that her child’s teacher was calling her child by a different gender name than the child’s actual name and gender. That parent was upset and shared her dismay with the Board because NO ONE let her know what was going on with her child.
The GLSEN parent read a statement from the local GLSEN Board shaming that parent for “outing her child in a public forum.” (I thought public shaming was bad. I guess if you agree with the purpose of the shaming, it’s okay.) The speaker went on to say that this parent had no right to know if her child was in school claiming to be transgender. And, apparently, no right to speak about it.
I wonder what would happen if the roles were reversed. The GLSEN/PFLAG speaker talked about her transgender child. Would it be okay if that child was in school telling guidance counselors that he/she was using dangerous drugs, and no one contacted the parent? Or if that transgender child was telling counselors he/she felt he/she was no longer transgender and didn’t want to be on hormone therapy anymore and no one notified the parent? I don’t think the parent would be happy.
This speaker was followed by a woman who heads a “Safe Spaces” program at Salisbury University. She had the same speech prepared about how parents should have information about their children hidden from them. She made the statement,” Transgender children know exactly who they are,” implying that they know at a very young age and that is that. If they know, shouldn’t someone let the parent know?
I guess she considers herself one of those “experts” who knows better than parents. By the way, she had a mask on, one of those big beak-like masks. She definitely listens to “experts.”
She also shamed the parent who spoke in October for “outing her child to the public.” I guess there are no safe spaces for parents who want to know what is going on with their kids and want to speak out in public.
Parents are waking up. Despite what the Unions say, or the activists promote, or the government mandates, parents are beginning to understand that this is just one big power grab and an attempt to subvert their rights and separate their children from them. They are taking their kids out of public schools to private schools, or they are homeschooling.
Parents are experts. They are experts in their children. When you live with, love, and raise someone from birth and/or an early age, you know that child better than yourself. And most parents would rather give their right arm than let something bad happen to their child. Are all parents great? Are all parents’ experts? No. But not all teachers are great and experts either. But the Unions want to excuse that fact.
Many homeschooling parents ARE experts. When a parent commits to the time and effort that goes into homeschooling, that should be respected, not demeaned by Union wonks. Parents have gone through the same K-12 schooling as every teacher in the public schools. Many of them have college degrees (some advanced) and even if they don’t, they have life experience at a job or in owning a business. Are they all experts in all contents? No. But what they don’t know, many can learn online. If they are in a homeschooling group, they can trade their expertise with the expertise of other homeschool parents. By the way, there’s no guarantee that a teacher is an expert in content either. Many aren’t.
And let’s not forget the one thing parents have that NO teacher can have, the love of a parent for their own child.
So, am I saying that homeschooling is the only way children should be educated? No. It doesn’t work for everyone. Every family has to make the decision that is best for them. It’s their right to do so. Even if the Unions and activist groups don’t like it.
That extends into the classroom as well. Regardless of the power that unions use to get people to believe that they hold the golden ticket, parents can fight back. Ask questions. Go to back-to-school nights. Attend Board meetings. I had three people with me at that Board meeting last night. I wish I had three times that. We need parents to understand that if ONE parent’s rights are being denied, all parents’ rights are being denied. Even if your school system seems to be okay, it is a strong possibility that it won’t be in the future and YOUR kid will be the one who loses.
If you forget that, look at that tweet I shared at the beginning of this post. And, watch the video below. It is 19 minutes that will change how you view schools and unions:
And always remember, you ARE an expert, an expert on your own child!
-Jan Greenhawk is the editor and writer of Radio Free Oxford. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org