By Kyle Olson
PHILADELPHIA – American Federation of Teachers President Rhonda “Randi” Weingarten’s arrest last week for blocking an entrance to a public meeting was seen as a bold move by those seeking to protect the status quo in education.
Her stunt failed, the Philadelphia district closed 23 schools and Weingarten’s union will lose untold numbers of dues payers.
One union activist, retired Illinois teacher Ken Previti, sees Weingarten’s grandstanding as a bold move for “justice.” But he’s urging more:
The president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Randi Weingarten, was arrested for physically blocking the entrance to a Philadelphia School Reform Committee hearing. Civil Disobedience.
A CHALLENGE: Well, if she can go that far, we must demand that our state and local leaders Jaywalk for Education Justice.
All of us must also do the same. Jaywalk.
The president and board members of the National Education Association (NEA). Jaywalk.
The presidents and board members if the state IEA and NEA. Jaywalk.
Members of state and local teacher unions and associations have complained for years about the too-little-too-late behavior of their leadership, so they must form smaller, local groups to Jaywalk. Jaywalk Groups.
Jaywalk: Teachers. Parents. Official and unofficial, active and retired, scheduled and spontaneous groups all need to Jaywalk with a purpose. Jaywalk.
Jaywalk. School closings? Jaywalk. Teacher pension raiding? Jaywalk. High stakes testing for children? Jaywalk. Unfair teacher accountability methods? Jaywalk. Unfair school funding? Jaywalk for Justice. Jaywalk for Education. Jaywalk for Fairness.
Weingarten called the Committee edicts for school closings immoral. “When the powers that be ignore you and dismiss you, then you don’t have any choice but to try to resort to civil disobedience to try to confront an immoral act,” she clearly states.
If teachers and parents can Jaywalk, why not include ALL the public employees who are having war waged against them, their jobs and their benefits?
We Are One – America? Jaywalk. We Are One Illinois? Jaywalk. We Are One Florida? Jaywalk. We Are One Each and Every State? Jaywalk.
This is far from what Ghandi would do, but it can work if we realize that we are all in this together. If Weingarten sees the futility of being ignored as the powers that be grab more power and abuse us all, then large and small scale Civil Disobedience is a necessary response.
CHALLENGE: WILL YOU JAYWALK FOR EDUCATION JUSTICE?
Dennis Van Roekel: President of the National Association of Teachers
Cinda Klickna: President of the Illinois Education Association
Jim Testerman: President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association
Andy Ford: President of the Florida Education Association
Daniel Montgomery: President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers
Ted Kirsch: President of the American Federation of Teachers – Pennsylvania
and all the rest of the presidents and board members in each state.
Aside: The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in their informational pamphlet, The Rights of Protesters, states, “A protest that blocks vehicular or pedestrian traffic is illegal without a permit.” So, it is up to all of us to see how much Civil Disobedience we wish to engage in. The important thing is to Jaywalk!
As best we can tell, this is not a joke. That’s the saddest part about it. Jaywalking won’t lead to one more child learning how to read. Jaywalking won’t lead to one more student learning how to subtract and multiply. Silly union stunts won’t do anything to balance budgets or make us more competitive.
Will a few union goons potentially flying over the hoods of cars improve graduation or student proficiency rates?
Jaywalking will continue the unions’ campaign of grandstanding while children pay the price. When will the unions be more concerned about the welfare of children than the job security of their dues payers?