Are Teachers Unions Evil?

Are Teachers Unions Evil?
People talk before the start of a rally against critical race theory (CRT) being taught in schools, at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Va., on June 12, 2021. (Andrew Cballlero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)
Philip Carl Salzman

America has faced great challenges during the past year and a half: the CCP virus, deep political division, and the aggression of communist China. How have our teachers unions responded to these challenges?

During the pandemic, front-line workers such as doctors, nurses, and other hospital workers, dealt directly with sick and contagious patients, while other front-line workers, such as grocery store clerks and truck drivers, kept the material necessities of life available for all citizens. Many other workers retreated to their homes to work at a distance, while yet others lost their jobs and had to make do without an income.

Not the teachers. Public school teachers unions refused to return even when religious and private school teachers were back in class. The evidence quickly showed that distance learning was an abject failure. Public school unions didn’t care what harm was being done to the children they’re supposed to serve. These unions decided to serve the preferences of their dues-paying teachers, who chose to stay at home and get paid for doing so. No one could accuse public school teachers of rushing to the front lines.

While the teachers refused to go to class, they nonetheless demanded vast sums of additional money for schools and for their own benefits. It wasn’t exactly blackmail, but it was shameless. However, the unions didn’t stop there. They meddled in domestic politics.

The United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) demanded, as a condition of returning to the classroom, that Los Angeles defund the police. According to a Freedom Foundation report about a teacher suing the UTLA:
“Defunding the police was one of several informal conditions UTLA claimed the school district would have to meet before its members would agree to resume in-school instruction. And like the union’s demand that charter schools be abolished, it had nothing whatsoever to do with making teachers safe during the COVID pandemic. ... The union wasn’t asking for better wages, benefits or working conditions. Instead, it had prioritized the radical liberal agenda of its leaders above the legitimate workplace concerns of its members—and was willing to hold the parents hostage until it got what it wanted.”
Not satisfied with making demands on domestic political policy, the teachers unions now wish to determine foreign policy.
The United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) have adopted an anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions policy within a broader “Resolution in Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” Perhaps the UESF would like to join Hamas in lobbing thousands of rockets at Israeli citizens. The UESF, as so many on the far left and far right, singles out for condemnation the sole Jewish state in the world; apparently they don’t care about the slaughter of Syrians, Iranians, Afghans, and Uyghurs that can’t be blamed on Jews. This is reminiscent of the Black Lives Matter movement that cares only about the dozen blacks killed by police but not the thousands killed by other blacks. Selective “morality.”

In response to the clear and hostile division of the two halves of the country, teachers unions have explicitly rejected being a unifying force, choosing to adopt the extremist critical race theory approach in their teaching. Their plan for children is to force them into racial divisions, berating the despised white race as “oppressors,” and enabling blacks and other minorities to write themselves off as “victims” with no hopes, because—you know—“systemic racism.” Second and third-graders are segregated into races and must confess their “privilege” or “victimhood.” This isn’t just anti-American; it’s child abuse.

Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), claims, along with various Democrat media figures, that critical race theory isn’t being taught in schools—“Let’s be clear: critical race theory is not taught in elementary schools or high schools”—but, she warns, the AFT has a ready defense fund to use against anyone who tries to stop teachers from teaching critical race theory.
The National Education Association has dedicated itself not only to teaching critical race theory in all 50 states, but also to crushing any opposition to critical race theory. Note what’s happening here. As the New York Post headline has it, “Embracing critical theory, teacher’s union says they—not parents—control what kids learn.” The teachers unions have gone to war against parents and usurped parental authority over the education of children.
While American teachers are obsessed with race and gender, students’ achievement in reading, math, and science is mediocre. While Chinese students rated best in the world with a combined score of 1,731, U.S. students ranked 26th with a combined score of 1,489, according to the World Population Review. Teachers don’t seem to care that America’s greatest adversary is outstripping the United States in education. They might not be paid by China to undermine their own country, but they might as well be, as far as the results are concerned.

The transfer of raising children from the family to the state and its agencies, in this case, the teachers unions, is a dream of Marxism, a fulfillment of the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” which, in practice, means the dictatorship of the Communist Party. Teachers unions, with their advocacy of racism and their rejection of parents’ rights, are playing a major role in “divide and conquer,” the conquest of America by Democrat socialism.

Philip Carl Salzman is professor emeritus of anthropology at McGill University, senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, fellow at the Middle East Forum, and president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Philip Carl Salzman is professor emeritus of anthropology at McGill University, senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Past President of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.
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