Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 24
READERS REACT on edweek.org
In a May 16 Commentary, former U.S.
Secretary of Education William J.
Bennett and Karen Nussle, the
president of the Conservative Leaders
for Education, called out teachers who
participated in strikes and walkouts
for putting their personal financial
interests above the needs of their
students. Striking or walking out of
the classroom during the school year
disrupts learning and reflects "the
antithesis of professionalism,"
"damaging" the very students
teachers claim to serve, write Bennett
and Nussle. And, they argue, teachers
fighting for better salaries and
pensions has further eroded public
trust in our nation's schools.
The essay drew more than 50 reader
comments, including many from
educators who pushed back hard on
the authors' analysis and on
Education Week for publishing the
To read the full essay and more reader
responses, please visit:
Do Teachers Strikes
Help, or Hurt,
"In some aspects, Mr. Bennett is correct: 'Teaching time does matter, and
we should be very reluctant to interrupt it.' No teacher, who has been active outside of the classroom over the
past few weeks, has done so lightly.
That is why there have been very few
teacher interruptions over the past
several years. And the idea of statewide strikes or days of action? Relatively unheard of!"
"Just because people have decided to
work helping others doesn't mean they
aren't allowed to protest their treatment.
As for the 'summers off' argument, if
you want teachers to teach more, require more days in the school year. But
'pursuing financial goals' in the summer? Do you think teachers are securing their families and retirements with
two months of minimum wage work? "
"Hopefully, teachers and parents and
the vast majority of voters in Oklahoma,
Arizona, North Carolina, and elsewhere
are going to go to the polls in November
to turn out of office the 'conservative'
elected officials who have created the
crisis in public education that so hurts
students and educators alike." -MARK SIMON
"This article didn't make my blood boil.
It made me sad that EdWeek lowered
itself to the level of tabloid for publishing such an unbalanced, extremist piece
of opinion writing. I'm an educator in
Canada. When I see how so many U.S.
jurisdictions treat their teachers, I'm
not at all surprised why so many of your
schools are failing and why your teachers
are forced to take action." DISQUS_O0E0FEAGOS
"It is only mildly surprising that Republicans would deny the economic law
of supply and demand-the cornerstone
of capitalism-when it comes to paying
public employees. Better pay and benefits simply attract a larger pool of applicants.
"EdWeek did educators no service by
publishing this hate piece directed at
"The strike in Pueblo, Colo., went on
for 4 days. The damage done to children
by extreme class sizes and horrible
buildings that leak or lack heat is certainly worse."
"Talk about using children for the
gains of others, where were the former
secretary of education and Conservative Leaders for Education when education funding cuts required shrinking
public education to 4-days a week in
Oklahoma, or class sizes in the 40's in
North Carolina? Teachers have been, if
anything, too reluctant to engage politically and declare 'enough is enough' on
behalf of their students. It takes some
nerve to write a [Commentary] attacking teachers for finally standing up for
funding for public education, when you
yourselves, as 'conservative' elected
leaders have done nothing." -MARK SIMON
"In what other professional business do we expect employees like accountants, lawyers, or doctors to reach
into their own pockets to pay for the
supplies that clients/patients need?
Educators are at least as valuable as
doctors, lawyers, and accountants. Our
society would not have accountants,
lawyers, and doctors and even secretaries of education if it were not for
"I suspect that Mr. Bennett would
strike too if he had to live on a
teacher's salary and benefit package.
-EDWARD C. KRUG, PH.D.
"It is discouraging at best to see this
undisguised attempt at public shaming of teachers published in Education
Week. The authors are ignoring a corpus
of research on how teacher well-being,
24 | EDUCATION WEEK | May 30, 2018 | www.edweek.org/go/commentary
whether emotional or fiscal, directly
impacts the quality of teaching and
the academic performance of students."
Oklahoma is in, you can take you sanctimonious bloviating somewhere else."
-DR. GIGI DEVAULT
"As a conservative, I am very embarrassed by Mr. Bennett and Ms.
Nussle's statement. They imply that
teachers have an obligation to continue on in an intolerable situation
after years of effort on their part to
address the situation. They characterize the strike actions as using the
children to obtain the living wage
that teachers need. How is that different from garbage men not collecting
trash for weeks or transportation systems paralyzing urban areas to go on
strike? While a long strike (measured
in months) could have an adverse impact on the education of the children,
a short one has little impact, except
upon the parents and guardians that
no longer have free childcare."
"Is this Education Week? I am baffled
by this [Commentary]. We have teachers in this state who can't afford their
basic needs and have to have two jobs
to make ends meet. I am wondering if
the author has tried to live on $44,000?
I doubt it very highly. I am ill after reading this."
"Oklahomans are arguing to restore
a decade of cuts-cuts that were implemented based on a myth that starving
public services of funding will somehow
improve them. This failed ideology goes
all the way back to Mr. Bennett's time in
the Reagan administration. Oklahoma's
brave teachers have lifted the veil on
this myth, and the public wants funding restored."
"So teachers are supposed to lie prostrate and do nothing to help their own
cause? After being taken advantage
of for the better part of a decade since
the housing crisis and Great Recession
pushed us to the brink of economic collapse, teachers in these states (West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona, among
others) have been riding the economic
caboose on a slow-moving train that
has only barely gotten us back to full
"In what other profession is altruism expected as a job description?
Yes, schools are set up to serve students and communities, but they do
not exist in a vacuum. I invite the authors of this article to pursue a career
in education (by this, I mean teaching
in a public school classroom, not as a
consultant or adviser to think tanks,
education companies, and nonprofits)
so that they can model how a teacher
should care for his/her students. It's
ironic that it is written by two people
who have never been public school
teachers. Actually, not a single person's bio at Conservative Leaders for
Education includes a reference to any
public school experience."
"I find your comments that 'no other
professionals have the opportunity to
use their summers to pursue their financial goals' completely out of touch
with reality and insulting. I spend my
summers, like most of my colleagues,
studying, attending professional-development classes, and preparing for the
next school year, using my own money!"
"The state of Oklahoma does control
teacher salaries and school budgets.
The state has cut educational funding by close to 24 percent in the last
10 years. Teachers have not had a pay
raise in 10 years. Teachers have advocated for their students and called/
emailed state legislators to no avail.
Teachers are leaving the state in
droves. College students are choosing
not to enter the education profession.
Our students deserve better. Until you
understand the dire straits the state of
"To strike for better conditions, to win
these better conditions, is a wonderful
service that teachers can and must do
for their students. Mr. Bennett [and Ms.
Nussle], shame on you. EdWeek, what
are you thinking?"
The comments have been edited for length
-COMPILED BY HANNAH SARISOHN
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 30, 2018
Education Week - May 30, 2018
News in Brief
Number of Librarians Plummets in Schools, Data Find
A Growing Vision Problem Is Hidden in Plain Sight
Another School in Anguish
The 10 Lives Lost>
Santa Fe Shooting Sparks Debate on School Design
Heated Comments Highlight Divisions in Wake of School Shooting
Survey of K-3 Teachers Captures Affinity With Pre-K Colleagues
Schools See New Dilemma in Teens Who Cyberbully Themselves
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Gamers Are the New School Athletes: The Rise of Esports
Trump Panel Slammed on Pace Of School Safety Work
DeVos Deflects Criticism At Capitol Hill Hearing
State Restrictions on School Choice Earn Ed. Sec.’s Ire
Jeannine Diddle Uzzi: Math Is a Language. Let’s Teach It That Way
Natalia Kucirkova: Is Silicon Valley Standardizing Learning?
Carolyn R. Hodges & Olga M. Welch: The Face of Leadership
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Michael J. Petrilli: A Fair and Effective Approach to School Discipline
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Education Week - May 30, 2018
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 2
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Contents
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - News in Brief
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Report Roundup
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Number of Librarians Plummets in Schools, Data Find
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 7
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - A Growing Vision Problem Is Hidden in Plain Sight
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 9
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Another School in Anguish
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - The 10 Lives Lost>
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 12
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Santa Fe Shooting Sparks Debate on School Design
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Heated Comments Highlight Divisions in Wake of School Shooting
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Survey of K-3 Teachers Captures Affinity With Pre-K Colleagues
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 16
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 17
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Schools See New Dilemma in Teens Who Cyberbully Themselves
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Gamers Are the New School Athletes: The Rise of Esports
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - DeVos Deflects Criticism At Capitol Hill Hearing
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - State Restrictions on School Choice Earn Ed. Sec.’s Ire
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Natalia Kucirkova: Is Silicon Valley Standardizing Learning?
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Carolyn R. Hodges & Olga M. Welch: The Face of Leadership
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Letters
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 25
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - 27
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - Michael J. Petrilli: A Fair and Effective Approach to School Discipline
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - CW1
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - CW2
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - CW3
Education Week - May 30, 2018 - CW4