Should every voice matter in public education? No, according to the liberal school boards in 37 of Colorado's larger public school districts.
The liberal school boards in these districts have bargained away to five or so people — the leaders of a teachers' union — the foundational civil right of every American citizen to an equal voice in the decision making over our local public school district.
A teachers' union is a non-elected private corporation. It is at the core of the Democratic Party. In bargaining, the liberal board and the leadership of the private union exclude the voices of 99% of the teachers, 100% of the parents and 100% of the other citizens as the public board bargains away to the private union leadership the right of the people to govern our public school district.
Why are our schools failing? "The Nation's Report Card" of the U.S. Department of Education of 2019 stated that only about one third of U.S. eighth-graders tested "proficient" in reading and only about one third in mathematics.
The reason is twofold:
1. Liberal school boards have bargained away the authority of the people to a private corporation teachers' union in nearly all of America's largest and leading public school districts. The liberal school board endows the private union with special "rights" to control the public district. In my Colorado Springs District 11, one of 65 special "rights" for the private union restricts school principals to 150 minutes per month to hold faculty meetings. This is hardly enough time to lead so complex an organization as a large modern public school.
2. State laws have been heavily influenced by private teachers' unions: Long and tedious evaluations of teachers by the principal steal the time of both and turn the principal from a leader into a passive evaluator who holes up in the principal's office. Never-ending retraining of teachers to achieve "professionalism" mutes teachers' individual professional voices and isolates teachers from the principal and the parents.
The principal no longer leads the teachers and the parents together to know each other and to back school-wide good discipline in which the teachers can teach, the students will want to learn and the parents are helped in their homes to successfully raise their student.
In our public schools, the quality of adulthood itself has been lost.
To reinstate positive adulthood in our schools, Colorado Republican legislators should introduce:
- Resolution: Local public school boards should retain the authority of the people and not bargain it away to a private corporation teachers' union.
- Resolution: The principal should get the parents to the school regularly to lead the teachers and the parents together to decide and uphold good school-wide adult procedures and student rules.
- Bill: To secure independence for the professional voices of educators, and so that instead of being retrained they may focus on educating their students and informing the parents, teacher and principal licenses will be for a lifetime.
- Bill: So that local school boards can make a concise evaluation form on one page, the responsibility for evaluating teachers will be wholly with local school boards.
- Bill: Since unions are private corporations, it is they and liberal school boards who "privatize." Charter schools are public schools, for they answer to a higher public board. Therefore, teacher salaries in charters will be raised as high as salaries in our other public schools.
James Sayler is a retired public high school teacher in Colorado Springs. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.