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Fighting for education reform, I tend to take a lot of heat. The opponents of school choice and other pro-freedom reforms are usually met with a lot of hostility. Most of the complaints come from the education establishment, who are hell-bent on protecting their power. This group of opponents usually includes older teachers, school administrators, superintendents, and union officials.
The open hostility is not always easy to swallow when attacks get personal. I am puzzled by claims that I am “anti-teacher,” despite being married to an award-winning teacher and being the son of two retired NYC teachers. For me, education reform means a lot more than simply fixing a failing system- it is about protecting children from the system. It is about giving children, and ultimately parents more control over their own education.
This is about the kids, not about any personal vendetta against the education establishment, although we all know where the problem lays.
So when these attacks continue and the severity of them increases, I have only one choice: to continue to point to the facts and fight back.
Some of the vilest attacks of all come from the teachers union. Unions claim to protect the teachers and look out for the best needs of their members; however I find this hard to believe. Union bosses try to smear the school choice movement, claiming that school choice is simply “anti-union” and that without the union, teachers couldn’t teach. Really? If that’s true, then how do you explain this?
A recent article, “Monsters in the Classroom: NYC Teachers Union Reinstates Alleged Molesters,” reveals that a NY Teachers union is supporting a decision to allow alleged child rapists back into the classroom. According to the author, “NYDailyNews.com reports that 16 teachers ‘kept their jobs after being brought up on egregious charges, some sexual, some involving excessive personal familiarity with students.’
The article goes on to highlight some of these alleged abuses, including a teacher who, “was accused of pressing his genitalia against a female student’s leg. Siegel only received a 45-day unpaid suspension, ‘although the arbitrator found that the girl’s charge was likely true’ and that Siegel ‘was previously accused of a similar offense,’ the Daily News writes.”
So let me get this straight, it’s okay for the teachers union to protect rapists, but education reformers are the bad guys? On what planet do the teachers unions live on? Fighting to protect teachers may have been a valid excuse in the years past. But protecting teachers who abuse, hurt, and rape children, where is the line to be drawn?
Opponents of education reform have it all wrong. All we want is a system that allows children to flourish, and if that means school choice, or tenure reform, or charter schools, then that is what we want. The unions aren’t concerned about the kids. They’re concerned with protecting their own, and holding onto their power.