What do the three pictured flags have in common? The first is the flag of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). Estimates are that 40,000,000 to 60,000,000 people lost their lives under the rule of Stalin's iron fist. The third is the Chinese flag. Everyday hard-working people did not fare well in Mao's China either. Anywhere from 49,000,000 to 78,000,000 died under Mao's communist society. In the middle is the flyer that teachers' unions distributed to Colorado teachers with their Walk-Ins tool-kit encouraging Englewood's teachers to protest and walk out of class recently. Additionally, the teachers' unions are organizing teachers all over Colorado to take a flex (paid) day to protest at the state Capitol.
Many of us have friends who immigrated from Russia and China. We treasure those relationships. They came to America to flee the bully tactics of oppression, tyranny and censorship. They immigrated to America to pursue life, liberty and their personal happiness.
It is shocking that the National Education Association, the Colorado Education Association and a variety of local education associations (teachers unions) are mirroring themselves with the above human rights oppressors, Russia and China. Take a moment to let the similarity of these images sink in.
All three of these entities use/used force, manipulation of information and bully tactics to push forward agendas that stifle the creativity, innovation and prosperity of each individual person. While union leaders claim that these walk-ins and outs are organic, make no mistake, these teacher union organized events are pushing forward legislation at the state house and local school board level to limit educational choices and options for families. These teacher union organized walk-ins and outs are pushing forward support for tax increases (possibly even through a Constitutional Amendment). Make no mistake, these teacher union organized walk-ins and outs will further mediocre results in our kids' educations.
Today, many of our students no longer learn cursive writing, simple math, critical thinking or basic life skills such as creating budgets or running a household. The reliance on electronic devices is dumbing our kids down. We can do better!
We agree that we must pay our hard-working teachers more and put education dollars back into the classroom. Where do we find the money?
The first place to look is PERA (Public Employee Retirement Association). While PERA was put in place for teachers' retirement, it has become nothing more than a legalized Ponzi Scheme. Did you know that our school districts are required, each month, to pay PERA an amount representing 20 percent of payroll?
In addition, each teacher pays 8 percent of their own salary to PERA. Together, this is equivalent to a whopping 28 percent of payroll that PERA receives each month. If you find this hard to believe you can verify these numbers on page 164 of PERA's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
These protests are calling for us, everyday hardworking people, to contribute even more to PERA.
If we repurposed half of the enormous taxpayer contribution to PERA we could immediately give our teachers a 10 percent raise. Now we're talking! Per the Colorado Department of Education, the average teachers' salary in the Englewood School District, where Monday's walk-out occurred, is $53,225.00 plus benefits. By repurposing just half of the taxpayer funded money transfer to PERA, we could pay these teachers an additional $5,322.50 per year. This would make a real difference in the pocketbook of every teacher in Colorado.
It is important that we see these teachers' walk-ins and walk-outs for what they really are: (1) veiled agendas to limit family's educational options for their children, (2) taking more money from us to dump into PERA and (3) providing mediocre educational results for many of our students.
We must resist the common thread of the three pictures above and stand for our kids.
Kim Monson is an Americhics Radio co-host, former city councilwoman, wife and mother.