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 bullyingBut 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.