Virginia progressives push teachers’ union clout in district mired in controversy

The embattled Fairfax County School Board ensured more controversy this week when it voted to allow unions to bargain for teachers in Northern Virginia.

The vote comes two years after the state’s…

The embattled Fairfax County School Board ensured more controversy this week when it voted to allow unions to bargain for teachers in Northern Virginia.

The vote comes two years after the state’s General Assembly granted the right to collectively bargain to government employees.

Opponents warned at the time of the vote that there was more than just salaries at stake by allowing collective bargaining for teachers.

“Collective bargaining agreements don’t just govern teacher pay,” said Chris Braunlich, the president of the free-market Thomas Jefferson Institute, when Virginia’s General Assembly approved the plan.

“Those contracts also set the terms for salary increases and discipline, limiting the ability to reward quality teaching … or remove ineffective teachers,” he warned.

And, as was demonstrated recently, the unions, once granted standing in the districts, also try to determine what is being taught in classrooms.

This week the Wall Street Journal reported the state’s largest teacher’s union, the Virginia Education Association (VEA), was caught trying to sneak Critical Race Theory (CRT) lesson plan guides created by Black Lives Matters into the state’s schools.

This despite a statewide ban on teaching CRT through an executive order signed by Virginia’s Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican.

The BLM guide claims to be “working towards a queer-affirming network where heteronormative thinking no longer exists” and “the disruption of Western nuclear family dynamics and a return to the ‘collective village’ that takes care of each other.” 

The VEA stood by its effort to push the BLM agenda.

“Some people, like Governor Youngkin, find this to be an objectionable stance, but we are unapologetic in our support of this goal,” said VEA President James Fedderman in a statement.

That seems to be the same sort of thinking from the school board in Fairfax County in enlisting allies by allowing unions to collectively bargain, as the board has careened from crisis to crisis, pursuing ideological CRT goals in line with the unions.

“Especially in Fairfax County, it’s just political activists helping other political activists,” Braunlich told The Lion about the relationship between teachers’ unions and the progressive Fairfax County School Board.

Last year, the board considered a resolution in support of CRT, but backed down when public outcry forced them to merely pass a resolution in support of staff who “develop and implement antiracist, equity- and justice- based classroom resources and pedagogy.”

Previously, a federal judge ruled that the district admission policies “disproportionately harmed” Asian students who were “deprived of a level playing field in competing for both allocated and unallocated seats” at schools in the district. 

Discrimination against high-performing Asian American students is a common outcome of CRT-inspired policies.

More recently, the district has been mired in a controversy when it failed to notify certain students that they won the prestigious national merit award.

Simultaneously, the district also failed to note honors classes taken at one of the magnet schools, both of which failures adversely affected college admissions applications.

Honors and merit awards are also targets of CRT proponents, who claim that a meritorious system is part of “white supremacy.”

Last week, the chorus of criticism against the Fairfax County Public Schools reached beyond CRT after board member Abrar Omeish said that the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II was “evil” when discussing it on the anniversary of the fight.

Fought near the end of the war, the battle caused nearly 30,000 American and 18,000 Japanese casualties.

“Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) board member Abrar Omeish has sparked outrage among parents in recent years for her comments about capitalism, racism, white supremacy and American history,” noted the New York Post.

With the approval of collective bargaining by unions for teachers, these controversies could very well get worse, as the board seeks active allies in the unions even as the public is outraged by the blatant progressive partisanship in the district.

“It’s not what teachers think it is. Even teachers won’t approve the outcome there,” Braunlich told The Lion about the ultimate result of collective bargaining for teachers in Fairfax County.