They really outdid themselves. In Wisconsin and across the nation, public-school employee unions spared no kiddie human shields in their battle against Governor Scott Walker’s budget and pension reforms. Students were the first and last casualties of the ruthless Big Labor war against GOP fiscal discipline.
To kick off the year-long protest festivities, the Wisconsin Education Association Council led a massive “sickout” of educators and other government school personnel. The coordinated truancy action — tantamount to an illegal strike — cost taxpayers an estimated $6 million. Left-wing doctors assisted the campaign by supplying fake medical-excuse notes to teachers who ditched their public-school classrooms to protest Walker’s modest package of belt-tightening measures.
When they weren’t ditching their students, radical teachers steeped in the social-justice ethos of National Education Association–approved community organizer Saul Alinsky were shamelessly using other people’s children as their own political junior lobbyists and pawns. A Milwaukee Fox News affiliate caught one fourth-grade teacher dragging his students on a “field trip” to demonstrate against Walker at the state-capitol building.
The pupils clapped along with a group of “solidarity singers” as they warbled: “Scott Walker will never push us out, this house was made for you and me.”
Hundreds of high-school students from Madison were dragooned into marches. When asked on camera why they had skipped school, one told a reporter from the Wisconsin-based MacIver Institute: “I don’t know. I guess we’re protesting today.” Happy for the supply of warm, young bodies, AFSCME Local 2412 president Gary Mitchell gloated: “The students have been so energized.”
“Energized”? How about educated, enlightened, and intellectually stimulated? Silly parents. Remember: “A” isn’t for academics. It’s for “agitation” and “advocacy.” We must never forget the words of former National Education Association official John Lloyd: “You cannot possibly understand NEA without understanding Saul Alinsky. If you want to understand NEA, go to the library and get Rules for Radicals.”
Against a rising tide of rank-and-file teachers who oppose their leaders’ extremist politics, the national offices of the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers shoveled millions in forced union dues into astroturfed, anti-Walker coffers. According to WisconsinReporter.com, strapped state affiliates also coughed up major sums to beat back Wisconsin’s efforts to bring union workers into the 21st century in line with the rest of the workforce:
The Ohio Education Association made a $58,000 in-kind contribution May 30, followed a day later by a $21,000 contribution from the Pennsylvania State Education Association. New York State United Teachers gave $23,000 on June 1, the Massachusetts Education Association gave $17,000 on May 31, and a group of unions based in Washington, D.C., poured in $922,000 during the past week.
Even the Alaska NEA affiliate pitched in $4,000.