You Have To Read This Posting To Believe It! The Delusional World of the NEA Teachers’ Union

Nothing is sweeter in a debate than when your opponent makes outlandish statements and hands you an overwhelming rhetorical victory.
This just happened in the East Greenwich teachers’ union contract dispute when NEA union officials made public comments that showed how they live in a delusional world, completely disconnected from any form of reality.
Recent events began about one week ago when I wrote an email to town and school officials as well as to the media, raising concerns about how certain actions by teachers under “work-to-rule” or “contract compliance” working practices were adversely affecting our children. That email included a link to this posting, which highlighted the specific concerns.
There was an initial response to one of my challenges in a ProJo article that is referenced in this subsequent posting, where I also further clarified the questions that remain unanswered.
But nothing prepared me for an article this week in a local newspaper, The East Greenwich Pendulum. The article contained an interview with two union officials, Roger Ferland and Jane Argentieri, who provided specific comments on the issues raised in my initial posting noted above.
You simply have to read the article to believe it! For starters, though, first consider these eight quotes excerpted from the article:

1. “The teachers had to do [contract compliance] to show parents how much extra teachers really do.”
2. “[Work-to-rule] simply means we won’t do anything extra.”
3. [Tutoring (i.e., any form of academic assistance) before or after school] is not part of their job description.”
4. “Teachers have been doing more than what’s required for no money in the past.”
5. “…a majority of East Greenwich residents can afford to hire tutors for their children but have been receiving these services free from public school teachers for years.”
6. “More than 50% of East Greenwich residents have a very high income, $500,000 or over.”
7. “In the private sector no one works overtime without getting paid. And if they’re off the clock at 5 p.m., you can bet they’re out the door at 5.”
8. “…contract compliance is not hurting the children. Not going on a field trip isn’t hurting a child.”

Can you believe these comments? I am still shaking my head in amazement and I bet you are, too. But don’t take my word alone for it; you can read the entire article here.
If you ever wanted to understand why American public education is failing with no prospects for a viable turnaround, consider how our educational system provides union leaders – with the mindset shown above and large amounts of money from coerced dues – the ability to essentially dictate financial and management rights terms to local communities all across the country. And consider how parents and communities have few-to-no options of exiting this government-induced monopoly system wallowing in mediocrity.
American public education will never regain competitive excellence on a global scale until we rid our system of this union mentality with its self-serving focus and active resistance to excellence, performance metrics, and competitive choice.
Sadly, this rhetorical victory – while important – brings no lasting satisfaction, at least for now. There is no gusto in this victory right now because the battle directly involves our children and the price the teachers are forcing them to pay in this contract dispute.
But, once again, the value of this interview is that it smoked out the true beliefs of the teachers’ union and showed how little they know about the real world and how little they care about the well being of both our children and our town residents. May we never forget those lessons.
Union officials should be ashamed of themselves. East Greenwich residents should be furious.
I hope residents will rise up with a fierce response that tells off the NEA and demands compensation terms just like the rest of us, the working families and retirees of East Greenwich who pay their salaries and benefits.

In a nutshell, here is what I think the negotiating position of the East Greenwich School Committee should be on some of the key financial terms of the contract.
In addition to financial issues, management rights are the other big teachers’ union contract issue. “Work-to-rule” or “contract compliance” only can become an issue because of how management rights are defined in union contracts. The best reading on this subject is the recent report by The Education Partnership. It is must reading.
East Greenwich NEA teachers’ union contract negotiations
More Background Information on the East Greenwich NEA Labor Dispute
The NEA’s Disinformation Campaign
East Greenwich Salary & Benefits Data
More Bad Faith Behavior by the NEA
The Debate About Retroactive Pay
Would You Hurt Our Children Just To Win Better Contract Terms?
The Question Remains Open & Unanswered: Are We/They Doing Right By Our Children?
Will The East Greenwich Teachers’ Union Stop Their Attempts to Legally Extort Residents?
So What Else is New? Teachers’ Union Continues Non-Productive Behaviors in East Greenwich Labor Talks
“Bargaining Rights are Civil Rights”
Other Rhode Island public education/union issues
ProJo editorial: Derailing the R.I. gravy train
ProJo editorial: RI public unions work to reduce your family’s quality of life
ProJo editorial: Breaking the taxpayer: How R.I. teachers get 12% pay hikes
Selfish Focus of Teachers Unions: Everything But What Is Good For Our Kids
Tom Coyne – RI Schools: Big Bucks Have Not Brought Good Results
The NEA: There They Go, Again!
A Response: Why Teachers’ Unions (Not Teachers!) Are Bad For Education
“A Girl From The Projects” Gets an Opportunity to Live the American Dream
Doing Right By Our Children in Public Education Requires Thinking Outside The Box
Broader public education issues
The Deep Performance Problems with American Public Education
Freedom, Hard Work & Quality Education: Making The American Dream Possible For ALL Americans
Parents or Government/Unions: Who Should Control Our Children’s Educational Decisions?

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Donald B. Hawthorne
Donald B. Hawthorne
18 years ago

One of my East Greenwich friends wrote me yesterday and said this in response to the NEA teachers’ union officials’ comments:
“If we ALL can afford tutors, why do we need any teachers? Let’s take the $30 million [school budget] and set up a novel tutoring/home school support system.”

Donald B. Hawthorne
Donald B. Hawthorne
18 years ago

In response to this posting, an East Greenwich friend wrote me these words:
“…they are naive if they believe that kids are not hurt by this. Some teachers say thay do not follow ‘work to rule’ and that they are available to kids almost any time–I know of a couple of such cases; however, I have been at [name of restaurant] and witnessed at least one half dozen teachers eating breakfast and ‘clock watching’, timing their departure to meet the actual school opening time. The biggest problem for many children this year other than the ill feelings present in the halls, has been the difficulty in the students scheduling extra help.”

Donald B. Hawthorne
Donald B. Hawthorne
18 years ago

Another East Greenwich friend wrote me, saying this:
“Lots of buzz on the ballfields. I think people are stunned [by the words of the union officials]!!!!

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