Bradford Area Education Association is our local teacher’s union in the Bradford Area School District.
I write this information because I’m not sure many people know that we have a local union, who fight hard for the rights of students and teachers alike, but the article titled “The shame of the teachers unions” by Rich Lowry, published in the August 7th edition of The Bradford Era, would have you believe otherwise.
In this article, Rich Lowry does an excellent job of raising up the professions of Essential Workers (I capitalize with intention because these people are that important), like “grocery store employees, delivery guys, meat-packing workers” who kept our economy going and provided a necessary service for the literal survival of our communities around the country. In subsequent paragraphs however he says that teachers “first and last thought[s have] been of their own interests.” I would argue, Mr. Lowry, that nothing could be further from the truth.
What I witnessed, and quite frankly have done myself, during this spring and summer has been teachers who were given one day’s time to change the way they delivered instruction and whipped together activities, resources, and virtual meetings that were beneficial and important to their students’ academic and social needs. I witnessed teachers who worked and have continued to work late into the night, modifying assignments for a better on-line learning experience for their students and gathering meaningful, age-appropriate content for their students to take in. I witnessed teachers manage their own children’s education while at the same time addressing the needs of younger children in their homes and the needs of their students. I witnessed teachers driving school work to students’ homes who were not able to access on-line assignments. I witnessed teachers driving bags of food to students’ homes, so they would have something to eat during the school closures. I witnessed teachers donating school supplies for over 100 bags of materials for students who may not have had access to these things at home. I witnessed teachers donate $4,108.21 to our local food bank, the Friendship Table, including one teacher who donated the entirety of their stimulus check to this cause. I witnessed teachers who have spent countless hours building courses in a new Learning Management System this summer in preparation for an upcoming school year full of uncertainties.
So, for Mr. Lowry to assert that “the unions have represented institutional laziness and selfishness” during the Covid pandemic is really “diametrically opposed” to all of these examples of teachers doing what teachers do best — taking care of their students, their families, and their communities during times of crisis.