Colorado’s two main teachers unions want to merge and create a monopolized megaunion to fight for common goals. Leaders of the Colorado Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers Colorado told Chalkbeat what matters to them.

“Improving school funding, addressing racial disparities, ensuring workers are protected during the return to school, elevating educator voices, and electing candidates aligned with their positions,” Chalkbeat Colorado reports.

And this, from AFT Colorado president Kallie Leyba: “We have a formidable enemy in [U.S. Education Secretary] Betsy DeVos, and we’re stronger together.”

Leyba said the unions agree on “99.9% of things.”

This surprises no one. In fact, most people have long considered various brands and chapters of teachers unions a monolithic force with a goal of making schools more about teachers and less about kids.

When they finally formalize into a one-size-fits-all monopoly, good teachers — and there are a lot of good teachers — should organize a competing union that cares about improving outcomes for children.

The stated goals of the merging unions have little to do with students and lots to do with politics and keeping business-as-usual for the old guard traditional educational establishment.

Amid the push for money, racial justice, protection of teachers, the “elevation of teacher voices” and campaigns for union-friendly school boards, we hear nothing — not one word — about improving outcomes for children. Not a word about raising test scores, reading proficiency, or graduation rates.

Instead, they demonize as their common enemy a woman, DeVos, who cares exclusively about ensuring our children learn, graduate and succeed in life. They cite concern about “racial disparities,” even though union-run attendance centers have failed generations of minorities and continue doing so. It is the “enemy” DeVos who works relentlessly to give economically disadvantaged children — a demographic composed of disproportionately high numbers of minorities — the kind of educational options traditionally available only to wealthy kids from mostly white households.

As technically separate organizations, the unions have prided themselves on organizing the @RedforEd teacher protests that shut down school districts throughout Colorado, leaving children and their parents in a lurch. They’ve worked together to recall conservative school board members who advocate programs to give poor children access to better schools.

As we see unions merge and eliminate any semblance of delineation, keep in mind what they have done around the country to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic. A teachers union refused to reopen schools unless California agreed to eliminate charter schools, defund the police, impose a wealth tax, grant Medicare for All, house the homeless and increase financial support for immigrants here illegally.

A North Carolina teachers union demanded universal health care for illegal immigrants. Across the country, teachers unions have thought up every conceivable way to hold children hostage, by depriving them of school, until governments agree to ludicrous demands.

Make no mistake, together or apart the teachers unions run public schools. They control the administration, determine who is on the school board, and therefore what is taught in classrooms. They control a system in which 50% of students — 75% of minority students — cannot read, write add or subtract at grade level.

By all means, teachers unions should merge as one common obstacle to better outcomes for kids. That will leave little confusion. The public will know who to blame when Johnny cannot read as a young adult.

The Gazette Editorial Board


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