Kyle Olson

I was deeply troubled when video surfaced last week of striking Strongsville, Ohio teachers heckling substitute teachers who were applying to be their temporary replacements.

Over 300 teachers are on strike because the school board is refusing to give them automatic raises, and the school board undercut their mass temper tantrum by hiring substitutes to keep schools open.

The substitutes, complete with police escorts, had to endure heckling and jeering by the strikers. The unionists often followed alongside the substitutes, berating them and yelling in their faces as they headed to the local police department for mandatory background checks.

The entire scene had that 1957 Little Rock/school integration “walk of shame” feel to it.

Ironically, one striker yelled at a black substitute, “Rosa Parks would be ashamed!” (See the video here.)

Perhaps, but her shame probably would have been aimed at the obnoxious striker.

It marked a bottom-of-the-barrel moment for me as a five-year education reform activist. Are these people on the picket lines steel workers or degreed professionals? The irony of the American Federation of Teachers’ slogan – “A Union of Professionals” – could not be more profound.

Sadly, many of today’s public school teachers have embraced a hard-core mentality and defiant attitude toward anyone who disagrees with their demands or tactics. They have the influence of their union leaders to blame for that.

The unions carefully arrange adversarial environments, pitting teachers against administrators. They constantly remind everyone that teacher “morale is low,” and complain that realistic salary offers from cash-strapped school boards are a sign that teachers aren’t “valued.”

That often leads to childish behavior, like having “votes of no-confidence” on a superintendent or school board, picketing outside board members’ homes and workplaces, or wearing all black clothing to school to display their displeasure.

Grow up. Let the kids be the kids. You be the adults.

Sadly, unionized teachers throughout the nation have made sure the debate over public schools is centered on their desires rather than student needs. Does anyone really think the striking Strongsville teachers were yelling at the substitutes on behalf of the students?

Collective bullying

But asking the adults to act like adults may be too much. The examples of teacher union pettiness and intimidation – dare I say bullying – are all too frequent.

Kyle Olson

Kyle is founder of Education Action Group and, a news service dedicated to education reform and school spending research, reporting, analysis and commentary.

He is co-author of Glenn Beck’s “Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education,” available at

Kyle is a contributor to

He has made appearances on the Fox News Channel, The Blaze, Fox Business Network, NPR and MSNBC. Kyle has given scores of interviews on talk radio programs coast to coast.

Kyle likes talking about his family, as well as his favorite music. Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, Neil Young and Johnny Cash are at the top of the list. He has attended 25 Bob Dylan shows.

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