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OPINION

Milwaukee Union President Weeps for Lost Power

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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When the leftist educator Bob Peterson, president of the Milwaukee teachers union, addressed his “comrades” at the Save our Schools conference in July, he couldn’t contain his emotions. He openly shed tears over the fact that Madison teachers walked away from their jobs during the February protests, leaving their students behind. According to footage obtained exclusively by EAGtv.com, Peterson told attendees:

“When things came down in Wisconsin – the Madison teachers…I’m getting emotional…the Madison teachers (Bob drinks water)…went out four days straight. It’s illegal to strike in Wisconsin. It’s illegal to strike. It wasn’t a strike. They called in absent. They exercised their political – their right to free speech. They weren’t striking against their employer. They were striking, really, against state power. They inspired the rest of us. The school I’m at – the first day, 87% of us teachers at Fratney [Elementary School] called in sick and went to Madison. We couldn’t shut down. We had a phone bank at Rethinking Schools the previous night trying to call enough teachers in Milwaukee to close down, we didn’t succeed. Our principal, though, said ‘go to it. If I have to have 400 kids in the gym, I’ll take care of it for you.’” (applause)

Peterson told his audience that a school administrator participated in a union plot to abuse sick leave policies and close schools. I stand corrected in my belief that the teachers unions were the only ones ignoring student needs while looking out for the selfish interests of adult employees. Fratney Principal Rita Tenorio is allegedly guilty, too.

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Peterson told the audience that power comes from money and people. “We don’t have as much money as our enemies, so we have to organize ourselves.”

“We also have to name the enemy. We have to name it accurately. In Wisconsin, for instance, there’s a whole section of the ruling class – say, the GE company, the GE foundation – that doesn’t like Walker. They only support public schools.”

It’s virtually impossible to verify that statement. And who in their right mind thinks in terms of the “ruling class?” Only Marxists think like that.

Peterson also told his unionist listeners, “We have to teach our children.” He went on:

“If teacher unions want to be strong and well supported, it is essential that they not only be teacher unionists, but teachers of unionism. We need to create a generation of students who support teachers and the movement for workers rights, oppressed peoples’ rights. That’s our responsibility.”

So Peterson thinks more teachers should devote precious class time to indoctrinating students so they will one day defend the teachers unions. Is it any wonder that Jimmy and Jane can’t read? Is there any doubt that there is a pressing need for sweeping school reform in Wisconsin?

We need teachers who are committed to academics, instead of spreading their radical political beliefs to naïve children.

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