by Kyle Olson
Last week, my organization praised the Indiana lawmakers for passing some of the nation’s most significant education reforms. In one of Education Action Group’s weekly newsletters, we said that Indiana’s new voucher program and its decision to lift the cap on charter schools will transform the state’s public education system, to the benefit of all Hoosier families and students. (An EAGtv report that details Indiana’s education reforms can be found here.)
Well, EAG’s audacity in celebrating the idea of school choice generated a number of hateful email responses – from unionized Indiana teachers.
The writers (all with the telltale “k12.in.us” in the email address) accused us of “attacking public education” and “bashing” teachers. One writer blamed us for demoralizing “those of us in the trenches and on the front lines of the classroom.”
Anyone who dares challenge the status quo of Big Education can expect such name calling.
But as unhinged as unionized teachers can become, one Indiana educator stooped to new lows.
An email from a teacher at East Allen County Schools said this:
“Why do you distribute this propaganda? Do you have a conscience? Do you really believe any of this? I am not a union member but feel that Mitch’s agenda is killing Indiana. The education agenda is a holocaust against our children. Please understand I am speaking as a grandson of a Holocaust survivor. This is truly as bad or worse than what was done to the Jewish people only it is happening to innocent young people. It is frightening to me.” (emphasis added)According to this—ahem—educator, allowing children to attend a charter school is “WORSE THAN” placing children in ovens like the Nazis did.
Even more disturbing than this teacher’s irresponsible comments is the fact that he is allowed anywhere near a place of learning. It’s darn near criminal that he’s allowed to shape the minds of Indiana’s youth. (By claiming to be “a grandson of a Holocaust survivor,” this teacher believes he is immune from charges of insensitivity.)
Now, some readers are likely thinking that we’re using the words of one loony teacher to smear all union teachers, but we’re not.
The accomplishments of this new crop of education reform-minded governors (Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Michigan’s Rick Snyder, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, to name a few) have caused unionized teachers to lash out at anyone supporting a reform agenda. We’ve received numerous profanity-laced emails sent from teachers who feel threatened by accountability and choice.
The teacher unions’ public image is one of standing up for the interests of kids. They’re just well-meaning teachers who believe in the value of public education. Right.
In reality, the teacher unions are dominated by a group of angry leftists who care far more about their compensation packages and collective bargaining privileges than they do about educating children.
That might strike some as a harsh conclusion, but we’ve got the emails to prove it.