There they go again--trying to divide teachers from their union. Do they really think teachers will choose the unfilled promises of a politician over their union? Teachers know New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is no friend of theirs and that the New Jersey Education Association and the National Education Association have been tireless advocates for their interests and the interests of their students.
Listening to Governor Christie deliver his keynote speech to the Republican National Convention was a fairy tale moment. He said, “They (Democrats) believe in teacher unions. We (Republicans) believe in teachers.” As we say in the south, “That dog won’t hunt.”
Governor Christie, diminishing pension benefits does not demonstrate a belief in teachers. Raising class sizes so that the rich can have lower taxes than the middle class--which includes educators--does not benefit teachers. Freezing or, even worse, cutting salaries is not a gift that teachers welcome. Refusing to fund education for our kids and claiming that money does not matter is not a believable argument for teachers. No, Governor Christie, you and your fellow Republicans have not shown the respect for teachers that they deserve.
Teachers are not in the pocket of Democrats. The National Education Association is about 40 percent Democratic, 30 percent Republican, and 30 percent unaffiliated. Republican policies that undermine public education by using public dollars for private schools while starving the public schools of adequate funds turns teachers toward the Democratic Party. If Republicans want teachers to respect them, they must change their policies and change their votes in Congress and state legislatures across the country.
It is obvious that 2012 will not be the year that Republicans show the love and respect for teachers; therefore, teachers must be united in sending their standard message. Our students deserve a world class education with the best teachers, who are well-paid, empowered to teach, and supported by politicians and parents.
Until the Republican Party gets it, teachers will believe in the few Republican politicians who get it, but not in those Republicans who follow a party platform and politicians that disrespect their profession and their right to free association.
The opinions expressed in John Wilson Unleashed are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.