Semantic Games with Children
How much of life is phrasing? When it comes to the political battle with unions, the spats are like Abbot and Costello skits, which (for the young’ns) often hinged on a semantic misunderstanding. One must read to paragraph six to reach the punchline under the headline “Teachers deny killing science initiative” (emphasis added):
The union has never taken a formal position on the matter, according to the news release that Kandzierski sent out late yesterday afternoon.
“To blame this on the teachers is nothing more than a political cheap shot and a weak attempt to cover up their own inadequacies in communicating this program to teachers,” she said in the statement.
Nobody had suggested that union members sat down and took a formal vote concerning whether science teachers ought to participate in an externally funded program to improve science proficiency in the town. But school officials did notify the relevant teachers and sent them requisite information. So, in effect, the union is pointing its finger at the individual teachers for declining to participate, and of course, the union would defend with its claws any attempt to impart consequences for that decision. (Not to mention “unofficial” suggestions that the union might have made.)
Whatever the case, the situation provides a clear example of the insidious effect that unions have on a professional environment, especially one involving the nexus of children’s education and taxpayer funding.