The Bargainer's Handbook: New Attitude--New Opportunity

Jack Grubb

Didn't feel the passion of Labor Day? Not to worry. Just pick up the Ohio Education Association's (OEA) new handbook for collective bargainers--complete with the introduction "Prepare for Battle," a rousing call to arms by OEA's own Dr. Strangelove, researcher Patricia A. Turner.

Enlivening an otherwise mundane read, Ms. Turner declares, "Public education is under siege; losing the battle in Ohio is not an option because the stakes are too high!"  The OEA's "enemies" are many: school boards, charter schools, school voucher programs, high-stakes testing, merit pay schemes, and data-driven initiatives.

Luckily, she outlines seven keys to victory including such maxims as "keep the faith," "remain hopeful," and "understand fear." Bargainers are also warned to ignore the weaknesses in public schools because, after all, there are only "good schools and great schools." In fact, critical thinking is discouraged altogether as Turner cautions, "A healthy mind is one that is not wondering or wandering."

Absent from the handbook is what exactly OEA bargainers should be fighting for--except perhaps that public education "should not be expected to meet the huge number of goals expected in today's society." 

This handbook for "victory" begins with its own admission of defeat.

If you're feeling a populist surge right about now, you can download a copy here.