How Attacks on Teachers and Government Workers Will Impact All Our Lives

occupy lausd

Scene from Occupy LAUSD

In preparation for my course, The Worker in American Life, I am reading about the broad-based assault on industrial labor that took place during the 80’s and 90’s in a broad swath of the United States from New England through the Pacific Northwest.

Plant closings, transfer of family businesses to international conglomerates, union busting, and finally, the destruction of a wage scale and union rules that allowed factory workers to live in comfort and security and have dignity on the job hit the nation with the force of a juggernaut. In industrial cities, and in small towns which depended on industrial production, the results were devastating. These communities where then beset by a host of social ills –  drug epidemics, domestic violence and gang activity, foreclosures, evictions, arson and the erosion of once proud business districts.

The scores of communities where this drama played out eventually achieved a precarious stability, but the prosperity of the post war years never returned, as wage levels lowered to the point where a person had to work two, possibly three jobs, to achieve the income a unionized factory worker once made, or turn to illegal activity to supplement legal income.

Now, an equally comprehensive effort to undermine the bargaining rights of workers dignity and standard of living is underway in the country. On a state and local level, it is being led by Republican politicians who are systematically trying to strip away collective bargaining rights of government workers and to pass “right to work” laws which make the union shop illegal.

Initiatives of the first kind have succeeded in states which were sites of landmark labor conflicts and strong unions, Wisconsin and Ohio, and the second initiative is on the verge of being voted into law in Indiana.

It would be comforting to think that this attack on public workers is coming only from the Republican Party and the political right, but one of the most powerful, and insidious efforts to undermine public worker unionism – the attack on teachers unions – has been driven by foundations and funding sources traditionally associated with the Democratic Party and has been enthusiastically endorsed by the Obama Administration.

Not only did the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan,  and the President praise the firing of union teachers in Central Falls Rhode Island who refused to accept the unilateral revision of union rules by the local Superintendent, they have provided huge financial incentives to states and municipalities to create privately managed, non union charter schools and to adopt procedures for rating teachers based on student test scores which will allow for the mass firing of teachers judged “incompetent” by these criteria. mark naison

Make no mistake about it, the sum effect of these initiatives, if successful,will be strikingly similar to the offensive against industrial unions in the 80’s and 90’s — it will drive down wage levels substantially and erode dignity on the job for those subject to new managerial prerogatives. How this will help the communities in which this large group of workers lose income, self-respect, and in some cases, employment, is hard to imagine.

It will hurt families, businesses, the housing market, and in all probability, lower wage levels in the private sector as a new source of surplus labor is created. What benefits accrue in lower taxes will hardly compensate for the losses.

If you don’t believe me, just visit Buffalo New York, Youngstown Ohio, or Johnstown Pennsylvania (I have spent time in all three) and other once thriving cities where high worker incomes and job security produced thriving neighborhoods of working class homeowners. Now they have huge stretches of the city where every other lot is vacant, where business districts feature groceries, liquor stores, and storefront churches, and where the drug business is the major source of income for a significant group of young men and growing number of young women.

Let me put the matter bluntly. The last wave of union busting left physical and moral damage that we have not fully recovered from. The new wave about to descend on us will add to the destruction and, perhaps push the social fabric to the breaking point. mark naison

There is a phrase “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Unfortunately, the reverse is true as well. If we stand by and let teachers and other government workers have their unions broken, their dignity undermined, and their wage levels shattered by powerful interests who profit from their distress, we will accelerate the transformation of the United States into a plutocracy where the majority of people are living on the edge of poverty while a small elite controls all levels of government and parlays that into unimaginable benefits for themselves.

This is the future that awaits us. Which side are you on?

Mark Naison
With a Brooklyn Accent 

Published by the LA Progressive on January 14, 2012
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Comments

  1. Jack Black says:

    The problem with unions is that they separate haves and have-nots, without taking into account job function and quality. Greediness on the part of unions results in anger against them by those of us on the outside. Public employees have continued to rake in high pay and benefits while those who pay their salaries and expensive retirement plans are suffering. That’s why the union busting in the past couple of years has been so successful. Taxpayers are angry that public employees didn’t have cutbacks in concert with the economic losses experienced across the country. Politicians simply pitted us against them, and won.

    We should move away from the historically selfish model of specific unions that employ rich, politically connected leaders who help only their members and themselves. Today, we need a more broad based model that includes large groups of workers. If we had one big union across the country that represented many professions, we could negotiate fair salaries in many professions. That way we won’t get split up between the public employees and the rest of us. We should also ensure unions are more reasonable and balanced, so that some people can’t take advantage of others. We got minimum pay, child labor laws, work place safety rules and limited work hours by banding together to demand fairness. Now we need to apply those strategies across the board to most jobs. Otherwise, unions are on the way out.

  2. In California, laws were just passed that force schools to teach about “gay history” (whatever that means). To hell with parents. To hell with school boards. To hell with teachers…. the activists are in charge.

    Ryder, the public has always had a say in what teachers teach. How else would we deal with racism and other biases among teachers? In the past, parents concerned about racism worked with school boards to include black history in their school curriculum. Now we’re working to include anti-bullying and LGBT history, specifically to meet the needs of both straight and LGBT students. What’s wrong with that? If teachers were inclusive in their educational approach, we wouldn’t have to pass laws like the one in California.

    BTW, if parents want to teach their kids to hate gays, they’re free to do so. But we’re not going to use public schools to further their perverted biblical fallacies.

  3. Jose Lara says:

    Great article. Only in the MOST progressive of spaces are folks talking about this. Thanks LA progressive for giving this type a voice a home.

  4. I am at least pleased to see folks thinking and talking about all this ! .

    -Nate

  5. Timi Burke says:

    The jury is out, for me, about all the changes being tried in Education to fix a dysfunctional network. Personally, however, I do know that my kids had to sit through two classes, one in our Middle School, one at our High School, where the tenured teachers did little more than reminisce about their lives. And I have read the New York Times articles about the tenured teachers who have been relieved of duty for cause, but who are able to remain on full pay for 12, 18, 24 months, while their union challenges unwind toward eventual disposition. What happened was all unions across the nation became too powerful, and, reveling in their power, demanded more and more unreasonable things, which I personally witnessed when I belonged to a union working in Aerospace.

    I do, however, condemn this author for his florid imagery of Rust Belt manufacturing ruin which he relies upon over-much to bolster his claims about teachers unions. Stick with particulars about teaching, don’t spend half of your words beating the drum of a dubious analogy.

  6. The premise of this entire article is disturbing… starting with the basic notion… that there is something called a “worker”.

    There is in fact no such thing.

    There are only people… in this case, Americas… totally free to expend as much time and effort as they wish and is possible…

    If you are busting butt 50 hours a week on the phone and busy with paperwork and meetings… are you a self employed entrepreneur trying to create a fortune 500 company? Or are you a salesman at a company that makes ball point pens?

    Americans doing work. Not a “worker” in sight.

    Next is the mistaken belief that “rules” allow people to live in comfort. Not so. Only wealth does that (in any given environment).

    If “rules” are set up that cause destruction and chaos… where waste and inefficiencies are increased, wealth MUST go down… If you make a rule that certain people must be *given* wealth taken from others… all you are doing is transferring wealth (and the means to a life of comfort) from one group of people to another… you are not making comfort possible… you are simply moving it around.

    All comfort in civilization comes from productive effort. There is no other source (unless you also believe that God bestows it upon you).

    Demanding more wealth can never work, and never has. Demands (as are made by unions) only shift wealth around… if the demands are met… the wealth is shifted to union members. If the demands are not met, the wealth is shifted, for example, overseas, or to other states and industries that don’t make such demands… but in *every single case*, wealth is only move around… because standing on a hill and yelling “I demand $20 an hour” is not productive, and creates nothing. No creation, no wealth.

    So in the end, this is merely a discussion about how much wealth union members can have transferred from other Americans to themselves by means of the force of law.

    I don’t have any respect for that.

    I respect people that do such good work, that they attract wealth to themselves… like a good artist/musician/carpenter…. whathaveyou.

    When you create something *worth* something… you become wealthier. When you are a failure that can’t create much of anything good, you join a union, and try to OBTAIN wealth by force of numbers.

    I don’t respect that at all.

    • Steve Wider says:

      Ryder’s ludicrous assumptions smell of the wreak of radical Conservative Republican Mentality, which does everything to diminish the importance and value of the individual ordinary person, while applauding any Corporate Business Owner/ CEO, just because they “Are Successful”, therefore they have more value, and rightfully DESERVE more money to live on! That mentality, in fact, is what has been the big problem in destroying America since the 1980′s, and “Reaganism”, and which went into a “High Speed” form of classic “Class Warfare” under G.W. Bush’s Presidency, and which is leaving the Country littered with record Home Foreclosures, 48% of People living on Low Income, or in Poverty.

      Why is it, Ryder, that an average Corporate CEO is “Worth” 400 Times what an average worker makes today? And why is it acceptable to you that the top 400 earners in America make more than the whole bottom 50% of the population? Doesn’t that suggest quite clearly that the Country has turned into one where the rich are so greedy that they now refuse to even allow people to live comfortable lives when they work an average of over 45 hours per week today?

      Let’s face reality: At any given time, there is a fixed amount of money available to be shared amongst the population of people here, being roughly 300+ Million of us. So that means the 400 richest people make as much as 150 Million people’s collective income is, which is unjust, regardless of how “Smart” those 400 people are, or how many hours that they work. NO Human being is worth Billions of dollars annually to Society. Even with the most successful Corporations, the Workers are the ones who’s backs the money is made off of. Without the workers, the CEO’s & Owners of Businesses couldn’t operate, and thus there would be NO Profits, or production, would there?

      Plus, even with all time record incomes being made today, pensions have been eliminated and replaced with unstable 401K’s, Health Insurance has been eliminated for tens of Millions of workers, Education benefits have been drastically cut, and Salaries have gone down since the 1970′s, inflation adjusted. People work harder and longer today, and get way less for it.

      And Mr. Ryder says “The premise of this entire article is disturbing… starting with the basic notion… that there is something called a “worker”.

      There is in fact no such thing. There are only people… in this case, Americas… totally free to expend as much time and effort as they wish and is possible…”

      That’s the most stupid statement that I’ve EVER heard in my Life! Here’s what a Dictionary describes a Worker as
      “1.a. One who works at a particular occupation or activity: an office worker.
      b. One who does manual or industrial labor.
      2. A member of the working class.”

      So, even though Billions of people in the World, including experts in Business & Human Science, call people who perform labor of some sort in exchange for payment/ salary “Workers”, Ryder is so conceited that he/she wants to negate the fact that workers exist at ALL! Maybe because he/she doesn’t work, but just bleeds and sucks off of those of us who do, like the Top 1% all do?

      In the 1970′s, and going back to post WWII, when people worked 40 or more hours, the earned a decent wage that, on average, could originally support a Family. But then, in 1981 and since, the controlling elite class decided that it was threatening to them if the Middle Class was able to live comfortably, to own their own homes and could work only 40 hours per week to do so. And since there is a fixed amount of money in Society at any given time, they decided that the best way to “Control” the masses, while getting rich, was to drastically reduce the Salaries & Benefits of the Middle Class and Poor, and keep it all for themselves! So they began moving factories to China, India, Columbia, Malaysia and dozens of other countries, and paying the workers as little as $4 per day for their work, while putting Americans out of work. And WalMart is obviously one of the biggest examples of this, since they have over 2,000 Overseas Suppliers for their Products. And they force Companies who sell items in their store to GO Overseas, by lowering the prices so that they can’t operate here in the U.S. anymore.

      Until the day comes when our rich, overly greedy and ruthless people running Corporate Business here start to realize that they have a responsibility to respect our workers in the U.S., and to pay them a Living Wage that they can comfortably Survive on, America shall continue to slip further and further towards being a Third World Country, with only Slave Wage Workers, and the Super Rich, and a very small Middle Class in between.

      I really can’t figure out how someone making $20 Million a year can sleep at night knowing that there are over 45 Million People in Poverty in the U.S., rampant Homelessness and over 80 Million People with either no Health Care Insurance, or insufficient coverage.

      Why can’t we evolve towards a System like they have in Norway, where everyone is guaranteed a Job, a Home, Education, Health Care, etc. And there, no one makes more than approximately double what an Engineer makes, yet they live in peace & happiness, and at a higher standard of living than we can afford today.

      And Mr. Lamb, just because ordinary workers had their Pensions & Health Care taken away in the 80′s & 90′s, that does not mean that Government workers shouldn’t have those things. It was unjust and greedy for the rich to take away those things in the first place. And we definitely need Universal Single Payer Health Care, to replace our “Sick Care” which is dismal at best, and leaves over 40 Million People with No Coverage. And the U.S., which spends the most on Health Care is only in 38th Place World Wide for the Quality & Effectiveness of our Health Care, which PROVES that it doesn’t even WORK at All!

  7. Steve Lamb says:

    It is very difficult for me to have concern for teachers and other government workers. As both a former construction professional and as a Town Councilman, I have over twenty five years experience interfacing with government employees on an almost daily basis.

    During that time as small business people were being ruined by burdensome regulation, while private sector unions were being decimated, while productive jobs were shipped overseas, literally hundreds of government employees mocked those suffering private sector members of the economy to my face, and in cases directly to their faces, saying they were stupid for making investments and chosing professions where they did not work for the government.

    Honestly after two and a half decades of having that behavior and level of contempt for private sector employees in my face from public sector employees, after absolutely no worker solidarity coming from that side,after seeing no sympathy, no mercy and no compassion for their fellow American workers from the public sector employees, I can’t have the slightest sympathy.

    Where were they in the 1980′s and 90′s as the rest of us lost our pensions? laughing and maxing out theirs. Where were they during the speed ups of the 1990′s? Laughing and pointing from the sidelines. Where were they as our jobs were being exported and cheap illegal labor imported? Smugly saying their jobs could never leave and seeing vast increases in their pay and benefits as everyone else’s wages were frozen and benefits declining. What they didn’t realize is that while the PRIVATE SECTOR employees were being hollowed out, THEY were threatened., The Chickens are now home to roost. Sorry, but the public employee unions brought this on themselves.

    • Well said.

    • Steve — I hear your pain but the moves to destroy the job base here were not done by the bureaucrats, but by the politicians bought by the lobbiests who allowed big business to do almost anything it wanted: ship jobs and factories overseas, outsource to foreign places work that could be done here but that business didn’t want to pay a living wage for, and on and on. Teachers, postal workers, Police, Firefighters, secretaries, etc did not move the jobs or knock down small business.

      Now, you resent people who made a choice to work in public service because you didn’t, that is not our fault and you have to take responsibility for your choices. Notice that the big corporate executives get much more retirement than the public workers yet where is your complaint about them?

      Wall-Mart and other mega-stores have decimated much of the small and medium size businesses around and not just retailers but the smaller home grown manufacturers who used to have a market but now it is lost to the plants overseas funded by our multinational companies.

      I understand your anger and pain too about the pensions that were lost during the 80′s, 90′s and even now and I took part in demonstrations against corporations like ENRON and other looters — but why is your anger directed against public workers? They didn’t make the decisions that ENRON did, ENRON executives did it: the ENRON executives and others like them at other corporations were the ones who lied to workers about “put your money into the corporation and let us handle it for you for your retirement” and then stole them blind — get your focus where it ought to be and get angry that big business has been allowed to loot our nation, move the gains off shore and fattened the salaries and golden parachutes of the corporate owners and executives.

      It is easy to throw charges at public employees who are just that ‘employees’ and not have the courage to go after the big shots who rip us all off. As a construction professional you should have made good money and I hope some was put into a defined benefit retirement fund so that you have the benefits of your work for your entire life — if someone stole your pension go after them — join the Occupy Wall Street movement and get going about making things better. It is our nation, dammit, and it is up to us to get it back and moving for all the people.

      • Dusty, you are mistaken.

        You say politicians “allowed” businesses to move jobs overseas. That is absolutely untrue.

        In America, people are free. (or that is the idea) They do NOT get their rights from government. You do business with WHOM you wish WHEN you wish, because you are nobodies slave. You are not owned. You do not live, breathe, and walk under the authority of another.

        Land of the free.

        What you are describing is people with political power, rising up, TAKING POWER THEY DO NOT HAVE, and stopping you, or me, or our neighbors from going where we wish, and doing what they wish.

        I want to talk to Canadians. Shall the US government stop me? “We shall not allow you to speak to foreigners!” That is your vision?

        Ok, let’s pretend that in your state controlled world, you “allow” me to talk to Canadians. Thank you very much… So next, I talk to Canadians, and meet some that like to manufacture oh, say, grape picking machines.

        In your state controlled world… will I be “allowed” to talk to Canadians about that topic? Which topics are permitted by the politicians? What happened to freedom of speech? Is this China? N. Korea?

        But in this case, let’s pretend you permit this as well…

        So I talk to them about making grape picking machines for me, from my own designs, and in the end, I sign an agreement with them…

        Oh wait, did my masters in Washington DC approve of me making agreements with other human beings? To associate freely? Stop this, you say?

        6 months later, my American money, and American ingenuity, has put a factory to work in Canada… including JOBS.

        Where in this chain of events did the almighty politicians you speak of, “allow” me to do what I did?

        What must you think of the power of government, and the powerlessness of people… how cheaply you hold freedom… to speak, to assemble and associate, and to act as the architects of their own lives?

        You hold politicians to task for FAILING to be dictators?

        My God, man… what country do you live in?

        • Steve Wider says:

          Ryder,

          Dusty is correct about the Politicians, and you are dead wrong! Ever since the Citizens United decision recently was decided in the Supreme Court, a majority of politicians are now 95% bought and paid for by Corporate Money. And the Politicians make all the Deals & Laws to supply everything for all our Wars, Government Contracts to run all Government Properties & Operations, and who gives out Trillions of dollars in grants and tax breaks. The U.S. Government is the largest Organization in America, and owns a tremendous amount of land, as well.

          But the politicians also make & pass all of the laws which allow Corporations to now do basically almost anything that they want to. If you watch “Collapse” you can see how the Stock market, Banks & Insurance Companies unleashed $700 Trillion worth of “Derivatives” all over the World, with 90% or more of that money unbacked in any real way, which has now mortgaged our Families lives for the next 10 generations!

          What exactly do you THINK that politicians DO? After they’re elected, which is easy for crooked ones now, with unlimited Corporate Funding, they pass bills which control how money is earned & spent by Corporations here. And people are OUT of Power 95%, because Corporations control all of the Money, and it will stay that way for decades, or forever! Your overly Idealistic Ideas that “People” still control the U.S. have not been true now since the 1980′s. If People controlled the Country, there would still be more Jobs here, not Overseas, and the Benefits wouldn’t have been slashed to almost nothing, as well.

          Ryder, move out of La, La Land and see reality as it IS now! You evidently must have a very huge Income, otherwise you’re going to face a BIG Shock when you get to retirement, because there are only a very small amount of people who will be able to retire in comfort in future years. Can’t you see that, or is it that you just Do NOT Care about your fellow Americans who are hurting very badly? Right now 50% of Americans are hurting and going downwards. In ten years that will rise to 70-75%. I guess that you bow to Corporations, right?

  8. Joel Price says:

    I read this article with great interest. South Dakota, the state in which I live, is a right to work state, has always been a right to work state, and always will be a right to work state. Some of the poorest counties in the nation are in South Dakota. South Dakota workers and teachers rank at or slightly above last in the nation for wages. A greater percentage of women with families work in this state than any other, in the realm of 70%.
    Currently the governor has proposed ending continuing contract rights for new teachers while “grandfathering” in those who already hold that contract provision. An overwhelming number of SD residents approve of this choice. There is a lack of math, science, foreign language, computer science, and vocational education teachers in the state’s high schools. In 2010 eighty-two percent of the graduates from the state’s schools of education consisted of elementary teachers. In that same year there were 2 chemistry education grads and fewer than 30 math and science education majors who graduated.
    The governor’s plan is to pay $3500 for any teacher in math or science in grades 7-12 regardless of their experience or ability beginning in 2013. In 2014 teachers who score in the top 20% in their district, based upon test scores, evaluations and district factors will receive $5000 each. No definition yet as to how the evaluations will be conducted except it will follow a model created by Charlotte Danielson. The instrument has not yet been devised. The test to determine proficiency in reading and math has also not yet been devised, tested, normed or examined for statistical reliability. The Common Core of Content Standards is yet to be finalized yet all of these issues are all ready to be signed into law this legislative session.
    K-12 public Education has been the whipping boy in this nation for many years. NCLB merely quantified means by which K-12 education as an instutution, individual school districts, attendance centers, teachers and administrators could be held up as the surrogates and pounded into the dust using the political bully pulpit.
    Can education as an institution improve? Of course it can. Can teachers be trained to become more innovative, reach more students, use more effective methods of instruction and assessment? Of course they can. Should administrators be trained to accurately reflect what is happening in the classroom, intervene where necessary, provide support where needed, and strive for improvement in all curricular areas? Of course they should. Should school boards and communities become more aware of the problems facing their local schools and work together to solve some of the basic problems of low economic status, substance abuse, neglect, child abuse and abandonment, crime and violence that challenge our students on a daily basis? Of course they must.
    However, instead of rectifying these basic needs and addressing them systematically as a state and a nation we are once again applying a band-aid solution to a broken leg problem. What will the solution be in another ten years when the next generation of children troops through our classrooms being weighed and measured constantly but losing out once again on what our country has to offer them?
    Politicians come and politicians go. What stays behind are the institutions that society has in place to promote civil discourse, civic development, cognitive accomplishment, and personal growth and development. If we continue to batter those instututions who will come along and want to become a part of making them better than they are today? I feel very disturbed about the manner and means by which our country and our state governments are handling this proces. When all is said and done much, much more will be said than is ever done.

    • I find this disturbing:

      “Should school boards and communities become more aware of the problems facing their local schools and work together to solve some of the basic problems of low economic status, substance abuse, neglect, child abuse and abandonment, crime and violence that challenge our students on a daily basis? Of course they must.”

      I would strongly counter: “OF COURSE THEY MUST NOT”

      The problems of a society or segment therein are often the result of chaos… of the abuse and misuse of resources.

      When crazy ideas of misusing things meant for one purpose to be put toward another, it is often destructive. One would not take a knife and try to use it as a pen…

      Yet we see here a brazen assumption that those charged with overseeing schools should “of course” instead concern themselves with little matters like… oh… the wages of “workers”, drug abuse, child abuse, etc….

      And we wonder why US public schools are spending more than anyone in the known Universe, and getting unimpressive results.

      Here is a bizzare thought: How about school boards focus on schools and education?

      Radical, I know.

      • School boards do focus on education. That is their mission. However, to blindly ignore the problems outside the classroom is also a misuse of resources. At a time when this country desperately needs well educated, highly motivated, and technically savvy workers there are few to be found. I’m not sure about many things but I am sure about this. In the 80′s and 90′s there were no people that I knew or worked with “laughing and maxing out their pensions”. Nor were there people that I knew or worked with silent while jobs and manufacturing plants were being dismantled in the US and setup abroad.
        I may not be the best to respond since I have, for my entire career, worked in non-union states with little heavy manufacturing. The largest economic downturn came when the Homestake Gold mine closed back in the 90′s due to what was then described as too large a cost to mine what was left. Now it has been turned into a giant physics lab looking for things that only particle physicists understand.
        Unfortunately our society has turned to education as a means to teach all of the things that they do not want to take the time to inculcate into their children. School districts, teachers, school boards and administrators can’t ignore the world outside the classroom walls simply because those walls are seen by society as permeable barriers through which to pass any number of items. Failure to step up and move the ball forward is tantamount to ignoring society.
        I’ve got a better idea. Let school boards, administrators and teachers decide what is critical to teach and leave the rest to society.
        Those who can teach, those who can’t pass laws that hamstring delay and disable those who can.
        Subtle, I realize but glaringly obvious.

        • You say school boards focus on education… yet you present to us a direction that you say is obvious that they should do LESS of that, and divert their attention of matters outside of education.

          I submit to you that this has ALREADY happened… and is why they are far less focused on education than most might think.

          Most of their time is spent on things relating to their own compensation and benefits… the compensation and benefits of teachers and administrators, and when they get around to it, a word or two about the children’s education.

          You rightly complain that qualified young adults are hard to find… yet this is the result AFTER the school boards have embarked on precisely the things you claim they should… that are not directly about education.

          We had better results, more cheaply, when school boards concerned themselves with education exclusively.

          You want nurses taking care of office recycling to address the environment? Cab drivers hauling trash to address dirty streets?

          How much misuse and defocusing of resources do you think civilization can stand?

          The reason civilization works, is that we have specialization… people designated to do certain things, maintain focus, and do them well…

          When we suggest that school boards drop education to do something else, we should not be surprised when education suffers as it has…. even if only partially. To the extent that they pay attention to other things, is the extent to which they will fail at their primary task.

          And the proof is in the pudding.

          In the end, you seem to come around: “Let school boards, administrators and teachers decide what is critical to teach and leave the rest to society.”

          Which is exactly the opposite position you took to begin with, calling for boards to literally turn their heads toward non education issues.

          Our place should be to demand that the boards do their jobs with respect to education, and forcefully take them off all of the distractions they love to occupy themselves with on the public dime… replacing them if necessary.

          In California, laws were just passed that force schools to teach about “gay history” (whatever that means). To hell with parents. To hell with school boards. To hell with teachers…. the activists are in charge. (of course some of those activists are teachers and are on the boards), but here we agree… we meddle with our schools from high places of political power.

          It should be the parents that get to meddle… and demand the education they want for their children, as it is the responsibility of parents to educate their kids.

          Parents need to take back their schools.

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