Families deserve freedom from teachers union’s relentless strikes

National Education Association president Becky Pringle wants to win “all the things.” She wants the nation’s largest teachers union to win all the power, all the elections, and all the progressive demands that radical union activists desire. 

Unfortunately, Pringle’s union does not seek to “win” a better education system for our nation’s struggling students.

Before the NEA’s staff union shut down the organization’s annual meeting last week, Pringle gave a fervent, bordering-on-maniacal speech calling on NEA delegates to “Do this work! We must do this work! We get to do this work! We will do this work.”

She shouted to the gathering of 7,000 union activists, “NEA, we have to win all the things. All the things, all the things… We must win all the things!” 

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Pringle spoke for almost a half an hour, but somehow didn’t have time to express concern about the harmful lingering effects of COVID-era school closures, including widening achievement gaps, profound learning loss, and a growing chronic absenteeism crisis.

Pringle instead lamented the “poisonous spores of a stacked Supreme Court,” pledged to fight against education freedom (“vouchers”), celebrated union strikes that closed schools, and highlighted legislative victories to keep sexually explicit books in schools. 

She also pledged support for President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the strongest champions “of the labor movement in the history of our nation.” 

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In an ironic twist, Pringle lost the support of her own organization’s union soon after her emotional cry to “win all the things!” 

The National Education Association Staff Organization (NEASO) launched a strike last week, shutting down the NEA’s annual summer gathering. Just after Pringle gave her speech bragging about NEA local affiliates’ strikes, her staff gave her a taste of her own medicine. 

They refused to continue working, a move that canceled the final three days of the annual multimillion-dollar meeting and sent thousands of NEA delegates home. 

President Biden had been scheduled to speak on Sunday, but his campaign team proclaimed that “President Biden is a fierce supporter of unions and he won’t cross a picket line.”

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The NEA’s staff is accusing the union of “wage theft” and failure to provide information about “outsourcing more than $50 million to contractors.” The NEASO also claims that the NEA has “abandoned its union values with its actions at the bargaining table.”

The NEA responded to its staff union’s demands by expressing concern that “misinformation has been shared related to our contract negotiations.” So, one of the nation’s most powerful unions is claiming that the union’s union is pushing misinformation? Honestly, it is kind of fun to watch this unfold.

It isn’t fun – in fact, it’s deeply upsetting – that students in Portland, Oregon, Youngstown, Ohio, and Newton, Massachusetts missed weeks of school last school year due to prolonged teachers union strikes. NEA local affiliates shut down schools with lengthy strikes across the country last year. 

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That’s what unions do: they throw temper tantrums when their over-the-top demands aren’t met and punish everyone they can with work stoppages.

In an ideal world, the NEA would learn its lesson from the NEASO strike and call off plans to strike next year. That won’t happen, though. 

Before the NEA’s annual meeting shut down, union delegates squeezed in a few votes on business items, including plans to ramp up strikes during the upcoming school year. Parents and students should brace themselves for more labor unrest and interrupted learning.

While the NEA’s striking staff members continue their “strike to uphold union values” and local teachers union plot their strike strategies, parents should start researching alternatives to their union-controlled local public schools. 

Fortunately, numerous states have created and expanded school choice programs in recent years. Parents and students deserve freedom from the strike-soaked public K-12 system and should embrace education freedom opportunities in their communities.

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