By Donna Westfall – March 30, 2021
The California Teachers Union started in 1863. These days it’s called the California Teachers Association and it’s the largest and most powerful of the teachers unions in the country having 3100,000+ teachers as members. Originally it was to be the advocate for teachers and public education; improving pay, creating safer working conditions and increasing federal aid to public schools.
They say on their website at www.cta.org that they are passionate advocates for students. Then WHY in the world do our California public students have such lousy proficiency scores. Forget the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, their scores were unacceptable. Why do private schools turn out students that outperform public students? Private schools don’t have teachers that are part of a union. They don’t get federal aid. They also don’t become major contributors to the Democratic Party. Did you know that 10% of the delegates at the Democratic National Convention are comprised of Teacher Union Members? What role does politics have in the classroom? None! Unless it a political science course. They state on their website something about access to quality education. Don’t think so. Dumbing down of our children has gone on long enough.
Parents, grandparents and taxpayer’s are screaming about curriculum primarily because our children are not being taught, they are being brainwashed and indoctrinated. The seemingly stupidity of the leftist political spectrum is talking about gender education in elementary school. Yet according to www.nice.com/k12/d/del-norte-county-unified -school-district-ca/, “Academics: Percent Proficient – Reading 35%.” How about Math ‘ Percent Proficient – Math – 24%” If it isn’t the teachers then it’s the curriculum because with numbers like that, why would any parents want to send their kids to public schools in Del Norte County? By the time middle and high school comes around it seems like teaching gun safety and the importance of the 2nd Amendment would be far more appropriate. Our teachers/administrators are failing our public school students. Our public school students are failing the basics. Will we start to see protests outside the Del Norte County School Administration building in the coming months?
It’s the union’s job to protect teachers which also include due process for incompetent teachers and criminal teachers. On the other hand, the union stands in the way of charter schools for the single reason that charter schools often employ non-union teachers.
What else does the California Teachers Union do? They exert undue Leftist political influence at all levels of government, when they have NO legitimate business being politically involved!
What ever happened to the idea that teachers get rewarded because students are successful? Instead, they’re tied into this archaic thinking that by teaching year after year, they should be rewarded with higher compensation automatically. Did you know that $12,717 is spent per student? Did you know that the student to teacher ratio is 22:1? Did you know that average Teachers Salary in Del Norte County (February 26, 2021) is $58,190? WHY not tie their pay into the performance of their students instead?
Certainly teachers have legitimate gripes. Students that are disruptive, or defiant are granted leeway that just creates a less than conducive classroom environment. In 2019, Gov. Newsom signed a law that disrupting classroom activities or defying school authorities, would no longer result in suspension for elementary and middle school public school students. When I was in public schools in Los Angeles, some teachers would whack your knuckles if you were disruptive. Another would make you write, “Standards” 100 times on the blackboard during recess. That was elementary school. In junior high, boys would get paddled with a wooden paddle. Corporal punishment was banned in California public schools in 1986.
Did you know that our own Governor Newsom facing recall has his four children in private schools.
In searching the internet and extracting comments by teachers on Teachers Unions; here are some suggestions and comments on eliminating and reducing the reach of the Teachers Union. The main reason being that public education has deteriorated over the last 50 years. Indoctrination is not education. Parents are waking up to the fact that there are better choices for their children as a result of home schooling and looking at charter and private schools over the past year due to the pandemic. One parent comments, “Education choice and innovation during the pandemic will loosen the clutch of the powerful teachers unions and their progressive agenda.”
In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31 (AFSCME) that teachers do not have to pay “agency” or “fair share” fees if they’re not union members that teachers no longer have to join the union. if teachers think that the union no longer represents their views, they can opt out.*
1.) The fastest way to eliminate teacher’s unions and/or organized collective bargaining would be for each state to amend their constitutions to ban collective bargaining agreements with teachers. This is probably the most difficult route due to the need for broad public support, voter approval, and the generally difficult process of amendment to most state constitutions.
2.) Opt-out of the CTA. Dues are $916/year. ($196 to National Education Association the nation’s largest labor union and the largest white collar representative in the United States. It represents public school teachers and other support personnel, faculty and staffers at colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become teachers. $720 to the CTA. Combined $916.). NOTE: An SFGATE analysis of the California Teachers Association’s political contributions found that the union has donated over $2.2 million to political candidates — almost exclusively Democrats — across the state over the past four years. Feb 8, 2021.
3.) By vote of the teachers. If members want to get rid of their union, they can “decertify” (RD) the union. The process is started by collecting signatures of 30% of the membership. Then if the majority of the members vote to end the union, the outcome to decertify is won.
4.) A longer term, but more practical approach is to place increasing restrictions on collective bargaining, eventually making it illegal for unions to perform collective bargaining on behalf of their members. In parallel, states would also need to repeal any laws forcing collective bargaining or holding non-members to the same collective bargaining agreement as the union-members. Once non-union employees are allowed to have separate, individual employment terms, school districts would need to offer alternative, but non-discriminatory compensation packages that would encourage employees to reject the collectively-bargained compensation package. One way to do this would be to offer a defined contribution plan instead of a defined benefit plan (i.e. a 403b/401k vs a pension) combined with a higher salary to offset the reduced retirement benefit value.
Once you can make the non-union compensation packages more appealing, union membership should gradually decrease. If the public can be convinced that the non-union compensation packages are better for teachers than the collectively-bargained packages, then public support for unions and collective bargaining will deteriorate further.
BREAKING NEWS: From the Daily Wire, March 30, 2021 – Parents Defending Education (PDE) aims to build a “large nonpartisan network of parents committed to de-politicizing the classroom.” Specifically, the group will teach parents how to document “abuses and extremism” in their schools and how they can “begin exercising influence and oversight with their school.”
*Refer to Wikipedia: On June 27, 2018, the Court ruled in a 5–4 decision that the application of public sector union fees to non-members is a violation of the First Amendment, ruling against AFSCME. Justice Alito wrote for the Court, joined by Justices Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Gorsuch. Alito wrote that agency-shop agreements violate “the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.” Alito recognized that losing these fees would put a financial burden on the public sector unions, who would continue to have to represent nonmembers even without their agency fees, but stated that “we must weigh these disadvantages against the considerable windfall that unions have received.” In the decision, the Court held that the conclusion reached by Abood was inconsistent with the First Amendment and thus overruled that decision.
Justice Elena Kagan wrote a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor. Kagan criticized the majority opinion as one that “overthrows a decision [Abood] entrenched in this nation’s law — and in its economic life — for over 40 years.