Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proving he’s pro-teacher — which isn’t the same as being pro-conglomerate teachers’ union, the bosses of which profit by convincing teachers the school district is out to get them.
When Floridians overwhelmingly re-elected DeSantis in November, they were voting for the candidate who wanted to give parents power back in their children’s classrooms rather than ceding control entirely to union bosses who often have a very different agenda from the teachers themselves.
Contrast that with his Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist, who named as his running mate a state teachers’ union boss who wanted to keep schools closed indefinitely and criticized parents for attending school board meetings to voice their frustration with a sexually explicit and racially divisive curriculum.
Charlie Crist campaigned with American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, who vowed to fight the wildly popular Parental Rights in Education bill and bragged about her $500,000 donation to his campaign, which ultimately was nothing more than buying Miami-Dade teachers’ union president Karla Hernandez’s spot on his ticket.
Florida parents and many of its teachers knew which candidate would prioritize Florida’s education system rather than the teachers’ union, which drains money from education.
And DeSantis’ legislative proposals would empower the teachers, not unions, and prioritize a real education for Florida students.
Teachers’ unions have long enjoyed special privileges because they relied on the natural trust and stereotype of the old-fashioned teacher with the apple on the desk and the alphabet over the chalkboard.
Union bosses squandered that longtime likeability factor when they politicized the COVID pandemic to hold kids and parents hostage to their political agenda as a way of scoring perks they couldn’t have negotiated at a typical bargaining table.
Kids were struggling intellectually, emotionally and physically, and their parents were desperate to get them back to in-person education. Meanwhile, many teachers were frustrated that they couldn’t adequately perform the duties of the profession they love.
The teachers’ unions proved their priority was not helping teachers provide the best education they could by getting children back in the classroom and catching them up on lost time in their educational career.
Consequently, parents and plenty of teachers are fed up.
During the two school years since the closures began, the two largest teachers’ unions in the country have lost more than 141,000 members — and that’s a lot of lost dues revenue.
But there’s more to be done to break apart the teachers’ union stranglehold over state educational systems, because many teachers are either given the runaround when they try to leave or are bullied into handing over a portion of their paychecks year after year.
Ron DeSantis is moving to require teachers’ unions prove they meet a threshold of 60 percent membership in the districts they represent, provide an annual notification of membership costs and obtain a yearly affirmative consent form from each member that they are voluntarily choosing to be part of the union.
Teachers’ unions overplayed their hand when they kept kids out of the classroom and allowed parents to see what their children were being taught, and they’re paying for it now.