Based on the official notification to the District 115 Board of Education of intent to strike, a teacher’s walkout on at midnight September 12 is very much a reality.
Why, what has so motivated this Lake Forest Education Association (LFEA) to strike? Is it really money and benefits, or is it a larger agenda in play? After all, is not the LFEA just a local union with the best interest of the District and the students at the core? Well, perhaps not exactly.
For years, many in the District 115 area have been lead to believe that the LFEA was purely a local bargaining unit. It is not, the LFEA is affiliated with the Illinois Education Association, which in turn is part of the National Education Association (NEA).
The NEA is among the most militant of unions and has resisted nearly every innovation and suggested change in our public education system. Among those innovations, vouchers, magnet and charter schools. The NEA has become a political activist organization making massive contributions solely to the Democratic Party and has lobbied loudly and aggressively for status quo in public education. In fact, the Democratic Party is effectively a wholly owned subsidiary of the NEA.
The dues the LFEA members are assessed travel up the chain to the Illinois Education Association and the NEA. The NEA is well aware of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s initiative to diminish collective bargaining by teachers unions of wages and benefits.
The question becomes, who is driving the LFEA to engage in a most unpopular threat of a work stoppage that will be enormously disruptive? Are these actions driven solely by the locals, or is there a larger agenda orchestrated at the state level or the NEA?
Teachers often complain that they are not treated with respect as professionals. Being affiliated with the NEA is hardly professional behavior since it is such a politically driven organization that education remains a distant second in priority.
If teachers wish to be treated with respect, associate with people and organizations that create an environment that earns respect. Any action by teachers that interfere with the education of our student body is unprofessional and unworthy of those who profess to be educators.
Al Boese, Lake Bluff