Loosen union grip on public schools

An op-ed by Simon Hargus last Sunday began with, “I don’t like the politics of division. It takes power away from the people and places it into the hands of politicians and special interests. The strategy of political division puts us into camps and then tells each camp not to trust the other one. It’s bad for our community, and it’s bad for our state.”

This critic is trying to make people forget that it’s their end of the education skunk that smells. The establishment, unions, teachers and leftists want to maintain the status quo of total failure to educate, yet receive yearly raises and increased benefits. Everything he says is exactly 180 degrees from facts and the truth.

In an acrobatic twist fitting a high diver, he tries to turn his fabrication into the truth — and then proceeds in a diatribe of his own politics of division and hate. His problems, and those of the teacher unions, are actually an aversion to accountability in the education system. These unions harassed, threatened and intimidated lawmakers last year and received a pay raise for abject failure and incompetence in educating young people. They also learned that an illegal strike suddenly became legal due to inaction by the entire education bureaucracy.

After chewing on the following data from past Wood County standardized test scores, let them digest and then decide if you are on the teacher union’s side or the side of the uneducated children we dump into a competitive world without the ability to compete. Mr. Hargus wants you to take the union side. They have the same tired talking points, but ignore facts while telling taxpayers fairy tales like, “It’s all about the children,”

Proficiency in math:

* From third 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 in fourth, sixth, and tenth grades is 41 percent

Proficiency in reading/language arts:

* Going into their senior year, 51 percent are proficient

The education bill to which the op-ed refers is a very straightforward attempt by the majority in the state senate and others to bring accountability to the failing education system. Unions are furious. They fear competition and any attempt to bring back real education and wrest control from union bullies. Accountability for their failure to teach children is nonexistent. The obvious reason for poor education is the corrupting influence and dead weight of teacher unions. Another, of course, is the deliberate year after year sweetening of politician coffers with millions of payoff money. Along with the money goes a threat to keep voting for our incompetence or we will bury you. They follow through.

Education in Wood County and most counties in West Virginia has sunk to an unforgivable low in the last several years. Historically, every call for accountability is met with derision, hateful rhetoric and the threats which are the points of Mr Hargus’s op-ed. Asking for concessions to union demands is common sense and the only way to fix education. Adding competition to the corrupt government schools and giving parents school choice, education saving accounts and other reforms have the leftists’ heads spinning.

Mr. Hargus said, “Unfortunately, the current extra session and proposed ‘education reform’ is the politics of division at its worst.” Apparently he is suggesting that any attempt at sending young people into a competitive world with the proper skills and education to compete is politics of division at its worst. Clearly, we need reforms to loosen the ironclad grip unions have on education. The only division is along the fault line of rewarding failure or choosing to make changes and rewarding success.

In reality, we have the very best radical leftwing indoctrination system our taxpayer money will buy. Additionally, the year-to-year practice of giving raises and increased benefits is basically rewarding failure by the entire education bureaucracy.

Schools teach that capitalism is evil and Marxism is fair. We see the successful outcome of these teachings by the Marxists elected to congress. In referring to for profit schools, a recent retiree of the Belpre Superintendent of schools warned of all the troubles in the world created by evil profits.

The education bill is an attempt by the majority in the state senate to force some semblance of responsibility for the failures of education. Last year the unions learned their thuggery worked so well that the tactic spread to other states.

However, to uncomplicate everything, demand an education bill that reforms public education by pulling some of the unions’ teeth. If the legislature passes a straight pay raise law, education will continue its republic-crushing plunge to Marxist hell.


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