Allegheny Valley Teacher Strike—The Bad and The Ugly

With apologies to the spaghetti western and Clint, there is no good to be found in a teacher strike.

The Ugly is the disruption imposed on parents, students and the education process for the duration of the strike. Making it even uglier is the fact that during these harsh economic times, teacher unions are unwilling to give an inch of relief to taxpayers, many of whom are hard pressed. The union attitude is; too bad. If you want it as cushy as we have it go to work for government and join a public sector union, especially one where the law requires the customers to show up-at least when the teachers deign to be at work-and the taxpayers must pay whatever the union demands to provide the service.

It gets uglier when one considers that the teachers will lose no pay for missing work. Law requires 180 days of school and teachers will get paid for all 180. It might necessitate keeping kids in class until late June, but what the heck, what do unions care about a little inconvenience for students and their parents?

All this is done to show the school board and the community who holds the power in these negotiations. And this is one of the main reasons Pennsylvania spends so much on education and gets such mediocre results.

The Bad? While classes are cancelled and no learning is taking place-the reason we have and pay through the nose for schools-extracurricular activities will continue. This will include football games. Presumably, faculty members who coach the team or instruct band members are allowed to cross the picket lines. What does this tell us about the priorities of the community and the teachers? Not much that is good-that’s for sure.