Thursday, August 4, 2011

Teachers’ Union Fights Parents’ Rights

The American Federation of Teachers, the teacher’s union, recently posted on its web site an internal document bragging about how it successfully undermines parental power in education.

In 2010, California voters passed into law a right of parents to hold petition drives to force reform in failing public schools. Under California law, a 51% majority of parents can shake up a failing school’s administration or invite a charter operator to take over a school. This law is commonly referred to as the “parent trigger.” The merit and utility of this law became obvious; and earlier this year parents in the state of Connecticut tried to institute an identical measure for the parents of that state.

AFT published the name of their effort on their web site—it was called “How Connecticut Diffused The Parent Trigger.” AFT began an intensive lobbying campaign to defeat the measure; and they succeeded by use of the subterfuge which they called “engaging the opposition.” They called together groups of legislators who were particularly vulnerable to union pressures and created a system of “school governance councils” to mediate the school problems instead of granting petition rights to parent groups. Interestingly, their conferences did not include any parent groups interested in promoting the petition process.

The AFT document on the web bragged that the name of the councils is “a misnomer: they are advisory and do not have true governing authority.”

It is obvious that the AFT does not want parental interference in their teaching and indoctrination activities in the public schools—never mind the quality of the education they are handing out.

Many are sympathetic with teachers because teachers are thought to be so underpaid. But according to the Department of Education statistics for 2007-2008, the average public school teacher brought in over $53,000 plus health insurance and retirement benefits. The Census Bureau reports that for 2008, the mean household income in the United States was $52,000.

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