Local persons under the auspices of the National Education Association, or state and local associations, who represent union bosses in local teacher contract negotiations, often omit the word union from their title. The contracts upheld by the judiciary imply that teachers have the authority to determine what is taught. Implied authority encourages the few tenured radicals to disrupt the school, or do whatever it takes to keep the teacher majority and school administrator in submission.
Collective bargaining statutes, enabling union authority to impose teacher employment guarantees, victimize taxpayer parents, students, and our nation.
The trend away from local citizen control began with the move away from local schools to regional school consolidation. That would have worked, if the change had been limited to regional centers for advanced instruction in the hard sciences—mathematics, chemistry, physics laboratories, etc. (That is now working quite well—home schooled students can go to public schools part-time to access advanced studies and laboratory resources).
This writer’s father, R. C. Norris, was a good educator who dedicated his life to the work of a county school superintendent. When I was a boy, my father took me to a school district potluck, where school board members later separated themselves and held a meeting. When I asked him about the board meeting, he told me there were allegations of moral impropriety by a teacher. The board investigated, found the gossip to be only hearsay, and voted to keep the teacher. Most government schools are now too large for this approach, but the importance of the principle remains—citizen control over the impact of education through the administrator.
Milton and Rose Friedman pointed out in their book, Free to Choose, published in 1980, that the starting point for the secular authoritarian’s war against local citizen control began with very harsh criticism of what was then good education. Secular militants promised to improve education; but, of course, the more dysfunctional it has become, the more reasons for them to recycle their harmful dialog.
The Friedmans quoted Walter Lippmann who diagnosed the problem as “the sickness of an over-governed society,… the exercise of unlimited power by men with limited minds and self-regarding prejudices is soon oppressive, reactionary, and corrupt… that there are no limits to a man’s capacity to govern others and that, therefore, no limits ought to be imposed upon government… For schools, this has taken the form of denying many parents control over the kind of schooling their children receive.”
Citizens will take action when they learn the truth. The vast majority of school administrators and teachers respect life, family, health, and civil society. They are a treasure. They do not want the kind of tenure guarantees that empower secular advocates to interrupt and twist the education of our youth.
~ D. Norris