February 18, 2011 10:16AM

I Believe the Children Are My Mealticket…

Not knowing what's in any given person's heart, it's impossible to say this definitively. However, being very familiar with generally self-interested human nature, it is reasonable to be highly dubious.

Dubious about what? That striking...er, "sick" ...teachers in Wisconsin, and especially their union reps, have the welfare of children foremost in mind as they skip school to protest possible crimps on union monopolies and calls for teachers to contribute more for their benefits. Yet that is what Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association President Michael Langyel would have us believe, at least if this quote from a Fox News article is accurate:

If people say the only way to solve this budget crisis is to take away from people who are working hard, they are wrong. We believe that we have a right to have a fair wage for our hard work. More importantly, the collective bargaining process allows us to positively impact school policy issues. We are the advocates for our students, and we will maintain our voice in defending our students.

Now I feel a little sick.

There is nothing inherently wrong with trying to get well compensated (though the portrayal of teachers as just trying to get a "fair wage" is a little rich given that on an hourly basis they make more than such professionals as accountants and insurance underwriters). But please, spare us the heroic tripe about this being about "defending" students. Teachers paying relatively little for their benefits, and even worse, allowing unions to maintain a monopoly over teachers — some of whom probably deserve to get paid much more than the union-negotiated rate — is not at all about defending students. It's about teacher, and especially union, self-interest, pure and simple.