The Voices on Either Side
Tiverton School Committee member Jan Bergandy has an excellent letter (which is unfortunately not online) in the current Sakonnet Times:
The bird-flipping spiritual leader of the NEA has not been seen in town recently but I would not be surprised if his teachings inspired the followers. This is what happens when you do not have a mind of your own. You find yourself in a place where you do not want to be and you do not know how you got there. We teach this to kids and teachers cannot get it. This would not happen if you did not lose the compass of professional ethics. For teachers the single most important rule is: “If it can harm a student — do not do it!”
Well, who am I to give advice — just a parent, taxpayer, and a teacher of 30 years. How can my humble voice compete with the great wisdom of 13 “negotiation tactics” published by your spiritual leader, the tactics faithfully followed by the worshiping masses of Tiverton teachers? But for whatever it is worth, here is my advice:
- Break our hearts doing for the kids more than you have ever done before (some teachers are doing just that) instead of telling us what you are not going to do for them.
- Lead, encourage, and inspire young teachers instead of forcing them to “work-to-rule” or making them do your dirty work (publishing the letter).
- Serve as role models for our kids and inspire them by your actions instead of breaking the law by going on strike, making obscene gestures during your demonstrations, planning to picket the hospital, and at your “greatest” attacking a parent using her child as a hostage.
- Teach the kids by example how to behave rationally. Look at the numbers (financial data) before you lead 200 intelligent people to war with their proven allies (Tiverton citizens, superintendent, and school committee) for something that does not exist (money beyond what was offered) using a strategy that can lead to your self-destruction.
Your spiritual leader, just before “flipping the bird,” had the moment of his greatest inspiration. He was heard exclaiming “People (addressing the demonstrating teachers) help me. I am running out of options here!” It is a pity you did not hear him. Maybe he forgot to use his magic horn. After this he left to bless other communities of Rhode Island with his teachings.
As parents we will never forget the great things some of you are doing for our children. But let there be no mistake, as parents and taxpayers we will also never forget the harm you may try to do to even one of our children. This community should stand united to condemn the despicable actions of a group of teachers who planned and executed an attack on a parent using her child as a pawn. Every child in Tiverton is special and every child in this town is our child! Yes, Ms. Mullen, no matter how much damage control you will do in the press there will be no bargaining even one child for a contract!
The one thing that Mr. Bergandy fails to acknowledge, considering his advice, is that, were the teachers to follow it, they’d have no use for a union. If the union can’t get them money beyond what is offered, what good is it? Our awashedness in Democrat shibboleths notwithstanding, it’s about time we stopped pussyfooting around this reality.
Tiverton Town Council member Brian Medeiros insisted, while proposing another resolution to support the school committee, that his action “is not in any way anti-teacher or anti-union,” but on the latter count, it should be. Have we no trust in ourselves to treat teachers fairly if there are no bullhorn-wielding and politically powerful thugs behind them?
Let’s take this ordeal as an opportunity for self-edification. Tiverton NEA President Amy Mullen explained the following to the Providence Journal:
Because of the committee’s adverse reaction to [bird-flipping Assistant Executive Director Patrick] Crowley, however, Mullen said that the Tiverton union has distanced itself from him.
“The School Committee reactions and feelings toward Mr. Crowley made it very difficult for us to get anywhere” in negotiations, she said.
The presence of Mr. Crowley on the scene was only an outward manifestation of the illness within — infecting the entire state. Teaching should not be a unionized profession, because union goals, practices, and priorities are anathematic to those of education.