Tuesday, September 18, 2018

OCPA column: Oklahoma teacher unions oppose Kavanaugh

Oklahoma teacher unions oppose Kavanaugh
by OCPA President Jonathan Small

You would think U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh wants to burn down the school house.

That’s the impression one gets from reading the opposition statements to his nomination from the leading national teacher unions.

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten said Judge Kavanaugh’s past rulings “raise very serious concerns about where he stands on key issues like employees’ right to organize, workplace discrimination, voting rights, marriage equality, access to reproductive healthcare, and corporate responsibility.” The AFT is the parent organization of the local Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers.

The National Education Association (NEA) was similarly agitated, claiming that “Kavanaugh’s nomination threatens students’ opportunities, workers’ right to strong unions, and every American’s access to health care.” The NEA serves as the parent organization to the local and vocal Oklahoma Education Association (OEA). The OEA sends 40 percent of teacher union dues to the NEA.

Fearing “a generational transformation of our government that will entrench laws favoring the wealthy and powerful,” the NEA urges teachers to “email your senators right now and tell them to oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.”

Teacher unions are so serious about stopping President Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh that they brought a union member from one of their key battlegrounds—Oklahoma—to the confirmation hearing to deliver their message.

It’s not just Supreme Court nominees and national politics that have teacher unions up in arms. Make no mistake: they are fixated on Oklahoma politics. During Oklahoma’s primary election season, Bixby Public School administrators allowed school facilities to be used for political activities by the OEA.

In fact, union members met in schools to organize phone calls and door-to-door canvasses targeting what they referred to as a “strategic list” of voters. Asked about these activities, references to the “strategic list” were deleted from social media followed by claims they were just reminding people to vote.

What’s sad is with all the union dominance, children are suffering. Recent media reports now reveal that student performance on assessment tests actually declined due in part to the teacher strike during the testing season.

Think about that. National teacher unions encouraged their Oklahoma affiliates to strike after the teacher pay raise, classroom funding, and the tax increases for them had already passed—and the most vulnerable suffered because of it.

National unions should stop using their local Oklahoma subsidiaries to push their national leftist agenda.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.


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