By Steve Gunn
LISBON, Ohio – Would anyone on a public school staff appreciate it two squabbling parents brought their loud argument into the hallways during classes? How about if school board members loudly debated the district budget outside classroom doors?
Students need to focus to learn. Distractions are bad for schools.
Given that, why do we continue to tolerate pre-scheduled collective bargaining disruptions in schools?
Every two or three years, in most districts around the nation, the teacher union collective bargaining agreement expires. And if contract negotiations don’t quickly go their way, union members begin conducting themselves in a very disruptive manner.
They wear armbands and black clothing to work. They sometimes refuse to do any more work than their expired contract specifically states. They picket outside of schools and school board meetings. Students notice and take it hard.
The latest example comes from Beaver Local High School in Lisbon, where about 100 students staged a walkout Monday morning to protest the lack of a new collective bargaining agreement between the teachers union and the school board, according to MorningJournalNews.com
The students went back to class fairly quickly because the teachers had the good sense to ask them to return, the news report said. But the teachers should understand that their union caused the disruption in the first place.
One student said she and a group of friends came up with the idea for the walkout after learning that their teachers staged a “silent protest” at a recent school board meeting. The students said they want a federal mediator who is scheduled to come to the district next week to forge a compromise so a strike can be avoided.
“We care about our teachers,” one student was quoted as saying.
We’re sure most of the teachers return that sentiment, but they have a funny way of showing it.
The Beaver Local Education Association has only been without a contract since August. That’s only seven months. Have they really reached such a crisis point that protests are necessary, particularly when those protests upset students and disrupt the school environment?
Wouldn’t it be better to remove unions and collective bargaining from schools, significantly increase all salaries for teachers, and make K-12 teaching a highly-competitive, high-paying profession that attracts the top graduates from American universities?
It’s time to get these pre-scheduled union-management money wars out of our schools once and for all, so the entire focus can be on learning, all of the time.