by Rich Girard
Published in the Union Leader on November 21, 2021
AS SOMEONE who served on the Manchester Board of School Committee, I’m often dumfounded by the singular ability of teachers unions to be their own worst enemy. The most recent example is the uproar they’re trying to gin up over the creation of a web page that enables parents to file complaints against educators, schools or districts they believe have violated the recently adopted legislation that prevents the teaching of discrimination.
As provided for in the law: “Any person claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of this section, including the attorney general, may initiate a civil action against a school or school district in superior court for legal or equitable relief, or with the New Hampshire commission for human rights as provided in RSA 354-A:34…Violation of this section by an educator shall be considered a violation of the educator code of conduct that justifies disciplinary sanction by the state board of education.”
The unions, particularly the American Federation of Teachers–NH, have condemned Commissioner Frank Edelblut for working with the N.H. Commission for Human Rights to launch this page, saying he’s “declared war on teachers” and demanding he resign because of this “outrageous, obviously politically motivated, harmful effort.”
The AFT-NH claims the launching of this web page could cause “innocent teachers” to “lose their teaching license over claims that are not backed up by any evidence.” Curious. It makes me wonder whether or not AFT-NH President Deb Howes, who made these comments, read the form or the web page that houses it. More to the point, since the law enables complaints to be filed with the NHCHR, one has to wonder just how Howes believes complaints should be filed if not via a form that simply asks for information on the alleged violation and requires that those who file complaints identify themselves.
This bizarre assault on what amounts to little more than an information intake form, comes on the heels of an unequivocal nationwide rejection of Critical Race Theory, especially in the schools. While teacher unions across the nation have piggybacked on the Black Lives Matter movement to demand training that exposes “systemic White supremacy” and push lessons that instill guilt in White children, victimhood in non-White children, and have biracial children wondering if one parent is an oppressed victim and the other an evil oppressor, parents have made themselves known before school boards across the state, demanding this material be removed from their children’s classrooms.
Would Howes rather accused teachers be subjected to angry parents “telling all” at a local school board meeting? Perhaps she’d rather the matter be vetted on social media? Maybe letters to the editor of their local newspapers would do the trick? How about an email campaign to every parent they know? I’m sure there are many other ways aggrieved parents could create and spur an angry mob to tar and feather a potentially innocent teacher who couldn’t possibly defend themselves in such circumstances. Would Howes prefer any of these options?
While Edelblut is bearing the brunt of this assault, it’s really aimed at the law itself. The truth is that Howes and her union comrades don’t want parents to know how they can exercise their rights under the law because they don’t support it. They want to teach what the law bans and that is the idea that any one group is:
“inherently superior or inferior” to another,
“inherently racist, sexist or oppressive either consciously or unconsciously,”
“should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment” or
“should not treat members of other identified groups equally.”
In June, as legislation like that in our state was being introduced in statehouses across the country, nearly 50 New Hampshire teachers signed a petition saying they’d refuse to abide by any such law. Think about that. Nearly 50 state teachers admitted they would violate a law that says you can’t teach that someone, because of their skin color or sex, is inherently superior or inferior!
Add to this the “Whiteness Training” that has been exposed across the state and it’s clear that the unions’ objective is to prevent what they’ve inculcated from being upended by pesky parents who want none of it. That’s the only conclusion I can draw from the shrill and stupid attacks against Edelblut for creating a simple form that actually requires parents provide proof of any such claim before it’s investigated by the independent Commission on Human Rights — not by the DOE or Edelblut — that has been investigating such claims in our state for decades.