By Ben Velderman
AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine Gov. Paul LePage recently tried to deliver a wakeup call to the Maine Education Association – focus on students instead of left-wing politics! – but lawmakers refused to back up the governor’s message.
LePage recently vetoed a bill that financially rewards teachers for successfully achieving National Board Certification.
LePage said he vetoed the bill “because it is a band-aid” to the bigger problem of ensuring that each classroom has an effective teacher.
“Moreover, this bill requires teachers to partially fund the program, while simultaneously paying union dues which are squandered on a host of activities not even remotely related to professional development,” LePage wrote in his veto message, obviously referring to the MEA’s recent announcement that it supports same-sex marriage.
“Over the last year, I have repeatedly challenged the largest organization of teachers in the state – the Maine Education Association – to refocus its efforts on improving teacher effectiveness.
“Instead of looking for new ways to inform teachers on the latest pedagogical techniques, the union is participating in political campaigns and lobbying efforts with nothing to do with education. Instead of working towards ensuring that every Maine student has a quality teacher in front of the classroom, the union is focused on providing golf and skiing discounts.”
But LePage’s wakeup call to the MEA wasn’t supported by lawmakers, who voted to override the veto by large margins.
Union supporters are attacking LePage for his “meanness,” but those criticisms seem misplaced. LePage was simply trying to remind the MEA where its real business lies – public education.
Instead, MEA leaders seem content to become political appendages of the far-left, like their brethren in the Occupy movement. That’s a major reason public support for teachers unions is at an all-time low.
MEA leaders won a victory over LePage, but by exposing themselves as leftists who have little time or concern for students, they are sowing the seeds for their own eventual demise.
Lawmakers buckle to union pressure, override Maine governor’s veto
By Ben Velderman