While public schools are expected to remain neutral in political matters, teachers unions have become a powerful political force. Those in control of state education systems have illustrated their desire to implement a progressive agenda in schools and politics by funneling millions of taxpayer subsidies to campaigns which pledge to make them stronger. In fact, The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, two of the nation’s largest unions, donated almost $40 million dollars in the 2020 election cycle. While there is nothing unethical about donating to a political party, teachers unions receive a plethora of benefits from collective bargaining agreements with state governments which are used in pursuit of political aims. These agreements grant unchecked power to unions which use their position to influence students and politics. To protect the public education system, our focus on education must be moved from the teachers to the students.
In an attempt to persuade the youth toward liberalism at a young age, critical race and gender theory have been infused into classroom lesson plans as early as kindergarten. School districts across the nation have implemented curricula which disparages our nation’s founding in the name of equality.
- In Chicago, public schools were required to teach Nikole Hannah-Jones’ controversial “1619 Project,” which aims to reframe the narrative of American history around slavery. While the article has been criticized for an abundance of mistruths, it was taught as a fact to high schoolers in one of the nation’s largest districts.
- In California, the state mandated curriculum for kindergarteners includes gender identity education. The program does not allow parents to opt their children out providing no recourse for parents who choose not to willingly submit their children to progressive brainwashing. When the curriculum is not woke enough, schools have opted to alter their grading systems.
- Citing inherent racism, the San Diego Unified School district decided to remove penalties for late work and base grades solely on one’s “mastery of the material” rather than a yearly average. While you would expect teachers unions to protect both students and teachers, the goals of these organizations are guided by politics rather than the best interest of the students.
The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent closure of schools highlighted the power held by the teachers unions. Using their political power and legal prowess, unions in Florida, California, and Iowa took to the courts to ensure schools would remain closed. When their demands are not met through legal ramifications, the American Federation of Teachers has called for “safety strikes” nationwide. In Detroit, teachers followed orders and physically blocked school buses from picking up children. Even in districts where schools were ready to be opened, like Chicago and Los Angeles, the lobbying arm of teachers unions influenced state officials to change their minds. Protected by their powerful unions, teachers continue to receive paychecks while their students suffer. As mental health concerns climb and scores fall, a change must be made to the way decisions are made in our education system.
Niv Valdespino is an intern at Accuracy in Academia.