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Unions a detriment to education

The effects of teacher unions on education have been profound, as has been the federal government’s unconstitutional intrusion and meddling. However, as corrupting as the feds are, and the harm they’ve caused our young people, they will never reach the level of devastation that teacher unions have wreaked in the nearly complete collapse of public education.

In earlier times, public education provided a classical education that gave young people a solid foundation for any career. Military, trades, college and business were awaiting them.

In those days, teaching was a noble profession, and teachers were some of the most revered and admired professionals. They eschewed that pedestal on which they stood and chose to walk picket lines during illegal strikes.

They no longer work for children, parents, taxpayers or school systems. Rather, they work for unions.

Last year, teachers thumbed their collective noses at the law with an illegal strike, and only one superintendent took any action. Still, they want no concessions for the good of education.

Here are some of the past performances of Wood County. Other counties perform similarly or worse. Look at these data and consider them as the school system’s finished product in the education industry. What other industry would permit this kind of dismal failure and not take corrective action?

Proficiency in Math:

From 3rd grade to 11th grade — a steady drop from 47 percent to 21 percent.

Going into their senior year, 21 percent of Wood County students are proficient in math after being in the system for 13 years!

Proficiency in Science:

Average proficiency in science, 4th, 6th, and 10th grades is 41 percent

Proficiency in Reading/Language Arts:

Going into their senior year, 51 percent are proficient

Union-demanded tenure is one of the policies that has enabled, if not led directly to the decline of public education. It has allowed incompetent, low performing teachers to remain in the classroom and plunge children into an abyss of ignorance and misinformation.

Additionally, it has culminated in reducing teachers to the lowest common denominator on the road to scripting teaching, and led to some of the best teachers choosing retirement and/or leaving education entirely. Once again, children’s education suffers and we send them into a competitive world without the skills to compete.

For these reasons, I define tenure as the point at which in any job or profession incompetence and ignorance become not only acceptable but also profitable. Excellent teachers are still there — but fading fast.

Teachers and union leaders are deathly afraid of competition by home schools, religious schools and charter schools. As a Morgantown teacher, in a second of unintended truth remarked when commenting about the competition, said, “We don’t want just a fraction of the student population to succeed.” All about the children, huh?

Parents should have the right to choose schools for their children and have their tax money follow the child. What right should bureaucrats have to abscond with your tax money and force your child to attend inferior, substandard schools? Yes, charter schools, private schools, home schools and any for-profit schools should be eligible for public tax money just like public schools. Compare standardized testing results and see where you would send your child, if you wanted to give them the best education and a jumpstart in life.

At present, we are providing children with the best indoctrination our taxpayer dollars can provide.

I talked with West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael last year about the legislature’s passage of a 3 percent clean pay raise for teachers, I related to him my belief that the legislation was rewarding dismal failure by the West Virginia school system and teachers. I expressed my feeling that rewarding failure creates more failure, while rewarding success breeds more success, and that they must demand concessions from the unions in return for a pay raise. He assured me the 2019 version of the Bill would ask for concessions for the betterment of education and focusing on West Virginia’s young people.

Mitch kept his word and has been a driving force for education reform. With yeoman support from Senate Education Chair, Patricia Rucker and others, the senate passed a bill that would improve education in so many ways, but largely by creating competition to the failing education system in West Virginia.

However, the Republican-led House refused to support educating young people and sided with unions.

Naturally, teacher unions hate competition because they never compete. They like the monopoly system we have — failure, ask for more money and then politically targeting opponents using their massive war chest.

Are you for the unions or the children? It’s a simple choice — never give a raise without accountability. That means pulling the unions’ teeth. Demand their acceptance of the original Education Bill.

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Jim Mullen is a politically conservative Parkersburg writer and blogger and is a member of the WV Constitution Advocates.

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