How much more abuse are public school educators willing to accept? Where is all of the nation-strangling reform-stopping teacher union power that demagogues rail against at election time?
When is enough enough? How can we expect you to stand between defenseless kids and the madness when you won’t even defend your paycheck, pride, or liberty? Deborah Meier is fond of saying, “Teacher working conditions are student learning conditions.”
America doesn’t need fewer unionized teachers it needs more. We don’t need weaker unions, we need to replace the Vichy leadership and get tough. We needsmore strikes too. How many kids have to die in Philadelphia schools before teachers walk out?
- You want to steal my pension? Shut the sucka down.
- You want to deny me due process rights? I hope you know how to work the ditto machine
- You want to slash the school budget to a dangerous level? The kids and I will be in the street.
- You want me to spend several months each year proctoring standardized tests? I’ll be in my car.
- Want to replace teachers with YouTube videos? I’ll trip over the power cord.
I know, most of you reading this are Americans. Ronald Reagan taught you that going out on strike makes Jesus weep and the evil doers win.
I”ve been working across Australia for decades and have gained a different perspective on teachers and protest. When a state minister of education said something that offended teachers, they shut the system down.
I know. I know. Strikes are “not allowed.” Standing up for what’s right wipe away our patina of martyrdom, However, a wise Aussie colleague of mine said that withholding one’s labor is a fundamental human and civil right. Otherwise, we are just slaves.
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is the author of Twenty Things to Do with a Computer – Forward 50, co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.