“How Do You Sleep at Night?”

Just fine, thank you.

But some teachers seem determined to disturb the sleep of people who do research they dislike.  When Heritage’s Jason Richwine co-authored a study on teacher pay, he received a message from his child’s second grade teacher asking him, “How do you sleep at night?”

Note that the teacher did not ask him to describe the source of the data analyzed or defend the interpretation of results.  The teacher was just engaged in bullying, a practice that schools say they are trying to discourage.  And part of the bullying is the not so subtle reminder that the teacher has Richwine’s children all day.  Parents are (at least partially) compelled to send their children to the care of adults who may threaten you if you say things they dislike.

Imagine a doctor similarly bullying a patient who advocated for reductions in Medicare reimbursement rates.  I imagine the doctor could face disciplinary action from licensing authorities for unethical conduct.  If teachers want to be treated as professionals, then they have to abide by professional norms of behavior, including separating one’s personal feelings from one’s job.

Most teachers do behave professionally, but these outbursts are not as rare as they should be.  Unfortunately, the teacher unions and their advocates, like Diane Ravitch and Valerie Strauss, encourage strident views and confrontational tactics that make unprofessional behavior far more likely.

Long run, it’s a bad strategy for teachers to get their way in policy disputes by threatening and intimidating parents.  It takes a couple hundred ads about teachers buying school supplies with their own funds to counter one such incident.

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4 Responses to “How Do You Sleep at Night?”

  1. Teachers as bullies who use their students as pawns to get what they want. Interesting thought. I know quite a few teachers who might feel that parents are the bullies, but it is acceptable because they are doing what is best for their child. teachertantrum.com

  2. EBB says:

    Actually, my doctor just informed me that he does not accept Medicare. Problem solved! (for him; not so much for me as I turn 65). Teachers can’t just shove students who aren’t rewarding enough out the door.

  3. No, it’s not ok, but this commentary doesn’t rise to national conversation and neither does it represent a substantive criticism, but rather a way to attack personally those with whom you disagree. Nationally, parents, community members, and taxpayers are demanding an end to expensive, experimental, controversial, and unconstitutional testing regimes, longitudinal databases, and the loss of parent consent on sharing some of the data. The enormous about of dollars coming from non-public entities is alarming. If this is a strident view, then I’ll wear the badge. I have no children in public school, I am not an educator, but I work in the private sector and pay taxes. Who pays? Who benefits?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/education/22gates.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

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