Union Leaders Bullying Teachers Is Not Something We Have to Accept, Either

There’s a lot of talk these days in education about dealing with the perennial problem of school bullies. Not long ago an acclaimed movie was released, and President Obama spoke out against it, while new research suggests that it leads victims to hurt themselves more and special-needs students to suffer from anxiety and depression.

Hey, I can’t imagine if some big, mean kid wanted to come beat me up and take my lunch money because — who knows? — maybe I’m a cute and clever blogging prodigy. But it could conceivably happen. Maybe they’d just want to call me mean and nasty names like “Blog Geek.” I don’t know. But a new Washington Examiner column by Joy Pullmann quite clearly brings home that there’s a whole other kind of school bullying going on:

Earlier this month, the presidents of America’s two largest teachers unions co-hosted a screening of the new documentary “Bully.” The movie, of course, aims to combat bullying of schoolchildren.

But even as they publicly eschew bullying, these unions and their locals across the nation bully teachers and competing organizations to maintain membership and power….

Both Pullmann’s column and her full-length report for School Reform News identify specific examples from several states, including from our own Colorado back yard:

The state AAE affiliate is supporting current legislation that would lengthen the typical two-week-per-year drop period for teachers who wish to end their union membership. Tim Farmer, the membership director for that state’s AAE affiliate, told School Reform News he has received “ten to twelve” emails from teachers in the past month saying they support House Bill 1333, but all are afraid to testify or sign their name to a published opinion article in favor of it, for fear of retribution from the state teachers union. The text of one of those emails appears later in this report, with the teacher’s name omitted at her request.

Even as we learn that the Colorado Education Association has experienced a change in leadership, it’s sad to see that many union officials seem so threatened by teachers wanting more basic fairness and respect in their professional membership options that they go out of their way to make life miserable for those who disagree with them. But it’s also encouraging to see a spotlight shined on the problem.

Because the President is correct on this point: Bullying “is not something we have to accept.”