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Teacher Unions’ Demands Undercut by New School Choice Initiative

Teachers unions like the NCAE and the Chicago Teachers Union are playing politics with children's education.

Last month, President Trump infuriated teachers groups with an executive order that mandated Federal education dollars follow the student as opposed to funding individual schools that remain closed during COVID lockdowns. The Whitehouse website outlined the executive order citing student’s “deprivation” of in-person learning in many states, such as Illinois, California, and North Carolina. The memo noted “undeniably dire consequences” of extended virtual learning for American children.

While the order is a new option for parents of students whose lives have been put into shambles with school closures (with no end in sight), parents are now blaming teachers’ groups who hold the school systems hostage to their demands.

Groups such as the North Carolina Association of Educators and the Chicago Teachers Union have used their recently bequeathed superhero status to demand benefits, such as Medicare for all and Welfare benefits for illegal immigrants before they’ll come back to school to teach.

Case in point; the Durham Association of Educators, part of the NCAE teachers’ group, issued a statement in the summer of 2020 on the conditions under which they would return to teaching. Along with free healthcare demands, the union demanded the government stop rent and mortgage collection from private property owners.

“There are concrete policies that have permitted other countries to flatten the curve and return to public life: moratoriums on rent and mortgage, universal health care, direct income support regardless of immigration status,” NCAE’s statement read according to The Washington Free Beacon.

Days after the NCAE issued their statement standing against the school district’s reopening plan, Durham Public Schools voted unanimously to hold all classes virtually for at least the first nine weeks of the school year.

Reason reported on other teachers’ attempts to play politics with children’s’ educations, citing more than 10 teachers unions that have joined forces with the Democratic Socialists of America to say that “schools cannot continue in this crisis without the resources our students need and deserve.” Included in their demands is a national ban on evictions, a complete moratorium on charter schools, an end to voucher programs, the abolition of standardized testing and a “massive infusion of federal money” paid for by “taxing billionaires and Wall Street.”

Teachers, backed by powerful unions and other groups, are going so far as to call parents racist if they advocate for their children to continue education in person. Pen & Shield previously reported on one Charlotte teacher who claimed, despite empirical data of the damage virtual learning is inflicting on minority students, that parents who push for schools to remain open are, actually, racist.

In an even more egregious violation of parents’ trust, an Executive Board member of the Chicago Teachers Union was found to be traveling to the Caribbean during the time the union was insisting that it was far too dangerous for schools in the Chicago area to re-open for in-person learning, according to Chicago’s WGN 9. The CTU declined to comment on their vice president’s actions.

Financial help in obtaining school choice options is something that could be life-changing for families who have been harmed without the support system so many desperately need. Thankfully, the new executive order allocates federal dollars be directed to alternative forms of education for students who are being negatively affected by school closures. Included in the examples of alternatives parents could use the funds on was tuition for private schools, the formation of micro-schools/learning-pods or even offsetting the costs of homeschooling. The order even went so far as to suggest the federal grants could be used for special educational services, such as therapies or remedial education and tutoring.

Despite political efforts from the NCAE, the Chicago Teachers Union and others to weaponize a parents’ love for their children to push a socialist agenda, the federal government can put parents in the drivers’ seat of their children’s education; recognizing that who and how you delegate your child’s education is a matter of parental choice. Presently this right is seen as something the government has a right to control, and its being used as a cruel a bargaining chip certainly to push political agendas.

Families in North Carolina, Chicago, and around the country might continue to choose the public school systems to be the “village” that assists them in educating their children, but the very real threat of removing them from the school system will allow them the power to keep teachers accountable.

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