Wednesday, October 03, 2018

OCPA column: Teacher unions echo far left

Teacher unions echo far left
by Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA)

There are still echoes from last spring’s Oklahoma teacher walkout, not all of them welcome.

Most recently, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, and U. S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts visited Oklahoma City to rally union teachers. Of course, what these figures proposed, a radical grab bag of far-left dogma, has almost nothing to do with teacher pay.

Weingarten, for example, is a vocal proponent of most of the Bernie Sanders-inspired leftist orthodoxy remaining from his 2016 presidential run. She backs “Medicare for all,” code for politician-controlled, government-run health care. She backs sanctuary policies for illegal immigrants. Weingarten even blasted former House Speaker John Boehner for inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress in opposition to the Obama administration’s cash-for-promises deal with Iran.

Weingarten is just as extreme—and out of step—on education. She backed a union contract that retained infamous “rubber rooms” in New York schools that keep inept teachers getting paid to do nothing instead of getting fired. She also backed California policies that protect bad teachers.

“Randi Weingarten would protect a dead body in a classroom,” a Queens school principal said of her antipathy for accountability.

Sen. Warren is just as far to the left. Aside from attacking President Trump for hiring a former Devon Energy lobbyist, she can also be seen in a Michael Moore documentary nodding and agreeing with his description of free markets as “immoral,” and she said of the radical, left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement, “I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do.”

And, after an illegal immigrant from Mexico killed Mollie Tibbetts in Iowa, Warren bizarrely launched a rant against immigration policies that would have kept that killer outside our borders, noting that she would prefer to focus on “where real problems are,” meaning the detention of illegals rather than, well, murder.

Weingarten, who earns at least $500,000 annually from her union job, and Warren, who was earning $429,000 a year from Harvard and living in a $5 million mansion before she was elected to the Senate, are eager to posture as advocates for the poor and to lecture Oklahoma taxpayers about how much more to pony up.

Unfortunately, they made no mention during their Oklahoma City appearance about declines in student test scores that followed the walkout they so enthusiastically promoted. When national, far-left figures come into our state promoting their radical ideology, it is the most vulnerable that suffer.

Figures like Weingarten and Warren bring out the worst in Oklahoma politics.

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


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