How many times have we heard “but it’s for the children?” This phrase is usually uttered by parents and community members when trying to pass a levy or bond issue. Well, this time it is definitely not for the children.
Strikes by teachers in Washington state are strictly prohibited. The reasons are obvious. A strike disrupts the school year, places an undue burden on parents, and most of all, harms the students. Of course the teachers union knows this. That’s exactly why they called a strike. The teachers are hoping that parents will put pressure on the school board to give the teachers what they want because, after all, “it’s for the children.”
State law outlines a process for disputes during negotiations and impasse over issues concerning public employees such as teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other essential workers. It’s called binding arbitration where a neutral third party listens to both sides, weighs all the facts, and makes a final “binding” decision on the disputed issues. The process has worked well for many years. Binding arbitration and prohibition against strikes by public employees ensures vital services are not disrupted. When was the last time you saw police officers or firefighters strike? First and foremost, they have a high commitment to the community in which they serve and also a high respect for the rule of law.
No doubt I will get lots of feedback from people who will suggest I come down too hard on the teachers and their union because they are pitting the parents against the school board to force it to give them what they want. Forcing the Ridgefield schools to keep their doors closed and the students locked out. Taking part in an action they know is prohibited by state law.
This strike is simply wrong and can not be justified, period. But hey, “it’s for the children,” right?
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