Playing “Chicken” With Public Schools

This week, the National Education Association (NEA, i.e., Teacher’s Union) responded to the coming tide of the elimination of teacher tenure all across the United States. Did they ask for more continuing education for teachers? Did they request additional accountability from School Boards? Did they suggest that they be evaluated by parents every year? No to all of these suggestions.

No, they “drew a line” in the chalk and let everybody know that if such actions against tenure continue they would keep a nationwide teacher strike “on the table”.

Them sounds like fightin’ words!

Governor Chris Christie is leading the way against the abuses perpetrated by teachers’ unions upon taxpayers for decades. Poor performing schools, high dropout rates, increased inner city crime, skyrocketing education costs, and the demand for more money every year have brought education reform to the front burner. 

Numerous states are following his lead as they have to concurrently trim state budget deficits and make substantive changes in their failing education systems.

The fact that the NEA is making a “nationwide” threat just points to the fact that their “nationwide” influence has been the source of the “nationwide” failure of our public schools.

The solution: Take a page out of the Ronald Reagan playbook. Remember the federal air traffic controllers threatened strike early in Reagan’s presidency?  Because their actions would threaten the safety of the traveling public, he let them know in no uncertain terms that those who did not report for work at their assigned times would be fired and never available for re-hire.  Many did not show up, and those who did not show up were summarily fired and chose to find other careers.

Does the abandonment of the education of children seem less of a threat to the republic?

So, let’s see if Governors across the nation will take their cues from “The Gipper” and let teachers know if they do not show up for work, they will be fired and can choose other careers. With unemployment at an effective 20%, I’ll bet there are thousands of retired teachers, moms who have raised their children and remain qualified to teach, and triple-trained and multiple-degreed individuals who have life experiences and discipline to contribute in the classroom.

My advice to the NEA comes from the immortal words of the character Harry Callahan:  “Go ahead; make my day.”


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