Unions party like it’s 1886

Larry Sand

May Day, which may have had some justification 131 years ago, has become an excuse for unions to spread leftwing propaganda.

As the Communist Party USA website informs us, May 1st is a day for working people to “demonstrate their unity and celebrate those who labor and produce all wealth. But it’s also a day to “protest bad conditions for working people and fight for a better and more just world.”

But over time, unionized workers – especially the public employee variety – have prospered. In fact, they’ve done so well that they are making the rest of us suffer via ultra-generous contracts which include astronomical pension deals that are sending cities into bankruptcy all over the country. So the unions’ May 1st efforts now center on maintaining their hegemony and fighting for their version of a “just” world.

In Washington State, a “Day of Resistance” is being sponsored by Shoreline Community College’s Federation of Teachers, the school’s faculty union. It is asking professors to give students extra credit to attend anti-Trump events and share information about them, and to avoid “assigning work that students cannot make up on May Day if they decide to join the immigrant march downtown.”

In Oregon, the teachers union is celebrating the national day of action by sticking with well-worn clichés like “Invest in our future by fully funding public education” and “Protect our public schools from privatization that drains resources from public school students.”

Moving south, we enter the major league of union stridency. Big Labor in the Golden State, with teachers unions leading the way, is positively giddy over the prospect of parading their self-righteous indignation before the rest of us, who are just hoping to get to May 2nd unscathed.

The California Teachers Association website is chock full of leftwing agitprop that has the faithful in Burlingame frothing with excitement. Ramming its agenda (no matter how many times it has been shown to be wrongheaded) down our collective throats is high priority – universal access to preschool, pouring more and more money into education, smaller class sizes, teaching “social justice,” etc. CTA’s leftist laundry list will make little if any difference in educational quality, but it will harm those of us who are affected by the union’s endless attempts to raise taxes and promote its political ideas.

The California Federation of Teachers is touting a May Day event at 11am in Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park organized by the “Shut it Down LA Coalition.”

11am? But isn’t that when kids are supposed to be in school with their teachers? Well, I guess the kiddos will just have to suffer along with a sub as their regular teachers call in sick, getting paid to proudly flaunt their politics.

Speaking of which, United Teachers of Los Angeles president Alex Caputo-Pearl requested that the school district shut down that day to ensure a big turnout at various events. Swell idea for the union, but not for students and families who are more concerned about education than angry political harangues.

UTLA, which takes itself very seriously, is partnering with a motley coalition of like-minded groups to rail against Trump, school privatization, the horrors of right-to-work litigation and the fight for “LGBTQ rights” and “environmental justice.” (Too bad the union isn’t angry that 25 percent of California’s 6 million students are unable to perform basic reading skills and that 44 percent of students entering Cal State schools need remediation. Promoting that kind of “civil rights” issue would have been much more impressive than pushing the ridiculous “environmental justice” meme.)

Fortunately, LA Superintendent of Schools Michelle King refused to comply with the union’s request to close the schools – fortunate for the union as well, since a general strike could run afoul of the state’s labor laws, and there was a good chance that the off-the-cuff work stoppage could have been halted with a court order.

When pitching the idea of a strike, Caputo-Pearl said, “Students on that day are going to be best with their families, with their communities and hopefully participating.”

I agree with the first third of the statement. Students should be with their families on May 1st… and maybe every other day of the year also. Until education becomes depoliticized and de-radicalized, parents should homeschool their kids. Think about it. You send your kids to school and there is a good chance they will become experts in radical thought and speech rather than learning to read and think. If you do send your kids to school on May 1st – or any other day – I suggest you grill their teachers, the principal and the school board as to what their priorities are.

For example, find out if your school has decided to abandon teaching traditional American history in the 5th grade, which has been done at one Bay Area school. There, the school’s 5th grade teaching team decided to make up their own social studies curriculum. Thinking American citizenship is passé, the teachers insist that the time has come for global citizenry. They teach the Bill of Rights alongside the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child treaty.

While learning world history is essential, it’s already covered in both 6th and 7th grade. The 5th grade standards in California specifically call for teaching American history – you know, the founders, the War of 1812, Abe Lincoln, etc. These teachers should be fired for creating a curriculum that conforms to their political beliefs. They won’t be fired, of course; the unions would never let that happen. So it is up to parents to take action. Go to the principal, the school board, the media and homeschool, if possible, until the rogue educators are brought into line.

Also, find out if EdCamp has a presence at your school. This unseemly group, promoted by the National Education Association, is unabashedly far-left. Leader Gabe Tanglao claims, “It’s time for a revolutionary change in how we perform schooling and teaching.” He then adds, “At the end of the day, our ultimate goal is movement building.”

But even if you receive satisfactory answers to your questions, your job is still not done. You need to check with your kids daily to ensure that your values are being respected, and they are being taught the kinds of things you want them to learn.

May Day is not a one-off. It should serve as a warning to parents and all citizens that many schools have gone way beyond their traditional mission. Parents must be vigilant. We cannot afford to keep losing children to illiteracy and, at the same time, have them indoctrinated with the unions’ and their fellow travelers’ radical agenda.

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.

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