Friday, April 16, 2010

How To Bust a Union

We've all heard of teachers going on strike, but when was the last time you heard of parents going on strike against the teachers? It's going on right now in Oakland: Parents Protest Oakland District Teacher

A group of Oakland parents, frustrated by a nearly two-year battle to remove a reportedly abusive teacher, went on strike Thursday, pulling their children out of school and onto a picket line at the district's downtown headquarters.

Close to 80 percent of Lazear Elementary School's 300 students didn't show up for school Thursday - a loss of almost $9,000 in state funding for the day - and apparently a wake-up call for district and teachers union officials who met with the parents Thursday afternoon to try to resolve the issue.

The boycott was a last resort for the parents, who were tired of the time-consuming and egregious process of getting rid of someone they say is a bad teacher.

The teacher sounds like the teacher from hell:

In nearly two years of teaching at Lazear, the veteran third-grade teacher has repeatedly left his pupils unattended in the classroom and on the schoolyard, physically manhandled students, told children to "shut up," and at one point locked a girl in the classroom because she wasn't moving fast enough, said Olga Galavíz González, a parent organizer at the school.

Students fear him, she said.

The kids at the school mostly come from low-income, Hispanic families. The school is next to a highway (the grim I-880) and is apparently a dumping ground for lousy teachers with tenure. The principal is griping because - get this - you shouldn't be pulling kids out of school a week before standardized testing starts.

The parents, of course, have absolutely the right idea. It's no secret that the school districts and teachers unions would much rather protect bad teachers with endless "procedural steps" that must precede a firing, as opposed to protecting kids from a lousy educator. No wonder these parents were upset.

The social justice crowd demands that we follow their lead and create a more "just" society, yet they are unable to live up to their end of the bargain once social justice is achieved. Having insisted on a educational monopoly, the schools are incapable of policing itself or of getting rid of bad staff members. Instead, the adults act to protect one another, rather than the kids at the school. The result is a great injustice as kids who are already economically vulnerable are deprived of a basic education, all in the name of protecting teacher tenure. If I were one of these parents, I'd be mad too.

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