RUSH: To Cincinnati. Ron, hello, sir. Glad you called. Nice to have you with us on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Rush, I’ve been a loyal supporter and listener of yours since the late eighties, and so has my wife. Rush, what might be interesting is to know that my wife is a teacher.
CALLER: She’s been a teacher for 35 years. Some of the remarks that you made earlier in the week were disappointing to us both, and we both care enough about you, we both love you enough that I wanted to call you today and I wanted to give you an opportunity to say something that I think you believe in as well, but maybe haven’t had the chance to do it. I know you believe that all professions don’t necessarily walk in lockstep to a political party or a particular point of view, any more than actors are all Democrats and liberals. Some of them are Reaganites and some of them are independents. But early in the week you referred to a troubling study where you said a certain percentage of students graduate not being able to read or write. And we both came away with the impression that you were blaming the teachers.
RUSH: That was a story specifically in Wisconsin that over half of Wisconsin eighth graders had subpar reading levels.
CALLER: Yes. And, well, Rush, the education of a person involves not only a quality teacher, and we all admit to that, but it also involves the interests of the individual student and the discipline he gets from his guardians. Now, I would have ordinarily said parents, but nowadays we say guardians. Moms and dads are something that only exist in half of the households. I just think that this society is dysfunctional enough that we shouldn’t be blaming a particular entire professional group that 90% of which are college educated.
RUSH: What does that have to do with anything, though? That may be one of the problems.
CALLER: (crosstalk) — talking about the disparity of income between themselves and the other private sectors. Most teachers are college educated —
RUSH: Well, my point is what have they learned in college, what have they be taught, how have they been indoctrinated? Look, I have talked to enough parents about some of the drivel that their kids are being taught in school, it is frightening. Some of the stuff I’ve heard about what’s going on down here in south Florida you would not believe.
CALLER: Well, Rush, for 35 years I’ve sat across the table from my wife and we’ve talked about certain things that happened, and I am absolutely convinced that you have a student body today and a parental or guardian group that simply didn’t exist 20 or 30 years ago, and I think that has to at least be considered when you talk about —
RUSH: How? Are we gonna let the inmates run the asylum? I don’t want to lose focus here. What is your, well, beef or complaint? What did I say that bothered you that got you on this?
CALLER: Well, I think you sort of referred to teachers as being all liberals and Democrats, and again, my wife loves you, she’s been listening to you for 20 some odd years. So the profession as a group doesn’t necessarily fall in that category. Many teachers are supporters of yours or independents. So to speak of them sort of as a group that falls lock in step with their union is not necessarily true. I can’t tell you what percentage, Rush, but I can tell you they’re independent thinkers, they’re college graduates, and they should be given credit for not necessarily all falling within that group that you referred to earlier in the week.
RUSH: Yeah, but all of this is in context. The context here is what’s happening in Wisconsin. It was those teachers being discussed, those who have walked off the job, those who are accepting fraudulent medical excuses from fake or fraudulent doctors.
RUSH: What do you mean, wrong?
CALLER: All that is wrong, Rush, and those people should be fired. We both look for the day when merit becomes the rule. I firmly believe if merit were the rule my wife would make more money today than she does and that bad teachers shouldn’t be allowed in the classroom. And I think we’re slowly working our way towards that. She is not interested in being a dues payer member of a state or national local organization, but, Rush, she has to be. If she isn’t a dues paying member of that organization she loses certain rights that are key to protecting her, particularly in terms of liability.
RUSH: Precisely, and that’s been the focus of the discussion this week, not so much teacher incompetence. This has been a discussion this week about the union stranglehold on education, what its real purpose is, which isn’t education. It’s empowerment of the Democrat Party. That’s what this whole discussion’s been about this week. Your wife, look, members of my family are teachers, cousins, they’re teachers. Bad teachers are allowed in the classroom because the unions won’t let ’em be fired. You’re kinda making my point here. The unions are working against the interests of good teachers. Look at what Obama did in Washington. We had this brilliant plan, brilliant voucher program where kids of inner city parents, depth of poverty, were allowed to go to a great private school, and Obama cut the program. He cut it because it was a threat to the teachers unions. He is totally beholden to unions. So my point is that it is the union which is standing in the way of people like your wife prospering because the union is not about education. The NEA guy, the retiring outgoing general counsel for the NEA, we read his going-away statement yesterday. He said, (paraphrasing) ‘We’re not here for the children. Our effectiveness has nothing to do with our merit, our ability. It’s all about the power that we have acquired.’
CALLER: Rush, the good teachers in school are as upset about the bad teachers as you are. And they would like to see some kind of a merit system would they would be gotten rid of. They are as disappointed and upset as anybody. I think the system is changing. It’s going to eventually go to a merit system. Eventually go to a voucher system, and eventually the participation in the union is gonna be something a teacher can opt out of. So I appreciate, though, the things that you’re saying and the points that you’re bringing up, and as you mentioned, Wisconsin being the battleground, Ohio is also a battleground for these issues.
RUSH: Right, but Democrats walking off the job there, too. You’ve got the same thing coming your way.
CALLER: Yes. But earlier in the week, to get back to what was disappointing, was when you sort of said ‘teachers,’ and not so much footnoting saying, ‘Well, a certain segment of the teacher profession.’ I just got the impression that you were talking about the entire profession. And I’m sorry if that was not what you were intending.
RUSH: Well, of course I’m not talking about the entire profession. I’m speaking here of unions, but I will say this to you. The good teachers need to rise up against the union leaders. It’s one thing to be upset with somebody like me when you think I’m lumping everybody together. But, you know, if the teachers union is not representing its membership, then the membership needs to do something about it. Whose fault is it, why don’t the teachers take over their union if they know that horrible teachers are still there only because of the union? The teachers, the good teachers ought to be out on the streets supporting Governor Walker. Where are they? The good teachers such as your wife, the teachers who are upset with what’s happening, where are they? We don’t hear from them. They’re the ones that make it look like they are in solidarity with the unionized teachers, the teachers are responsible for their union.
And look, when you first called you wanted to blame the guardians or the parents. Well, okay. Fine and dandy. But where do the teachers come into this equation? Teachers have to have some responsibility for it. You can’t just say that, ‘Well, we got a different makeup here in the student body. It’s different than it was 20 years ago.’ You can’t say that the teachers are immune here from the faltering performance of the of the students. You can’t say, ‘Well, it’s the union and it’s the parents or it’s the guardians or whatever.’ Good teachers need to stand up for the profession. If the profession is being sullied, if the profession is being impugned and there are teachers who are privy to this and see it, where are they? Where are they standing up for the concept of a decent education and a responsible one? When that doesn’t happen, when the media portrays all teachers as being on one side of this, you’re gonna have to understand that some people are gonna think that all teachers are in unison anti-this governor, anti-anything, they’re just totally pro union, whatever the union wants to do. So the good teachers that you talk about, we never hear from. They might call here and talk about it, but we don’t see ’em in public. What it appears to us as is that they’re all unified, they’re all standing as one in Wisconsin against the governor. Anyway, I gotta take a time-out. I’m glad you called, Ron. Thanks very much.
RUSH: George, South Windsor, Connecticut. Welcome, sir, great to have you on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Yeah, Rush, you know, that one teacher, I don’t think he was a teacher, who was defending his wife who was a teacher who thought that you were blaming all teachers for the lack of reading skills for some of these students. But I find it ironic that the teachers would be the first ones to take credit when SAT scores or CAP scores go up, they want to say it’s all about them, they don’t want to talk about the guardians, I guess that’s the new politically correct term. So they’re willing to take credit when things go well, but when they don’t, they want to pass it off to the guardians. And, you know, there was a study out recently that it’s almost $2,000 more to educate a child, it’s like $10,000 in the public school, where it’s $8,000 in the private schools and for that $2,000 shortfall you get an additional 40 points on your SAT scores. So you think he should be a little less sensitive about this issue and concentrate more on getting rid of the bad teachers and not taking such credit for —
RUSH: Well, you know, it’s interesting, I got a note after that conversation, actually a couple of them. ‘I don’t think you knew what he was saying, Rush. You kept interrupting. What he was trying to say is that the biggest problem is the home and the parents, and if the parents aren’t interested, and if the parents aren’t gonna spend any time with the kids then there’s nothing the teachers can do,’ and I had the same reaction to that that you just had. Well, if it’s all on the parents, then why do we need teachers? By the way, I am not saying that the parents and a good home life and studying and all that are irrelevant. You know that. Don’t misunderstand. But I get the guy’s point here and I’m glad you called, sir. I appreciate it. George in South Windsor, Connecticut, and we gotta go.