Governor Scott Walker's victory in the Wisconsin Recall is a vindication of the thesis in Peter Brimelow's other book The Worm in the Apple: How the Teacher Unions Are Destroying American Education. (Still in print, reviews, video etc. here). If you read this—and if not, why didn't you?—you will recall that it concludes with a 24-point plan for fighting back against the power of the NEA, some of which is what Walker has been doing, which has produced this particularly savage reaction from Wisconsin liberals.
A conservative historian blogging the subject explains what was at stake in the election, for Walker, the unions, and the people of Wisconsin;
When I, your Conservative Historian, was young and just leaving college with, of all things, a history degree, I got a job teaching social studies in a Wisconsin High School. There were seven history teachers on the staff. Here is a list of their temperaments at the time:
Why this litany of incompetence and indifference to their roles as teachers? Because when the enrollment dropped and they only needed six teachers, I was the one who lost my job. I will admit to some mistakes that year. Yet when the news was relayed to parents and students, letters were written to the principal, and even some of my students met with him. As one parent told me, “I do not understand this, you are the best teacher my daughter has.” What the parents and students did not understand was that I was dropped not because of merit, but because of the seniority based system put in place by the teacher’s union. Over the past thirty years more money has been spent per student, class sizes are lower, more tools are available and yet the decline continues. In Peter Brimelow’s superb The Worm in the Apple, the author lays out a comprehensive and readable narrative about how the teacher’s unions are destroying American education. Brimelow wrote about it but I lived it. And now because Governor Walker has asked for certain concessions from the teachers, and most importantly taken away automatic union dues deductions, the empire is striking back. [More]
- One was in the midst of a breakdown. He used to sit in the teacher’s lounge and say things such as “they are animals,” and “they cannot be controlled.” Interesting things to share with a 23 year old new on the job and, incidentally, not having discipline problems in my own class
- Another was a 30-year veteran who was suffering from burnout. I learned that he was using the same lesson plan crafted ten years previously
- Another was the basketball coach. Teaching history was essentially his second job. He would turn on videos nearly every day, and work on his basketball plays while the VCR did his work for him
- Yet still another simply did not know anything about social studies. He had started as an English teacher and was placed in Social Studies because he knew even less about English
Well, the empire may have struck back. But it failed.