A Kansas teacher who decided she is so fed up with the way teachers are treated in her public school system that she quit…in the middle of a school board meeting.
When eighth-grade teacher Amanda Coffman appeared in front of the Shawnee Mission School District’s board of education on Monday, she immediately resigned from her position and took the room by surprise.
“Several years ago, a good friend decided to leave education and she said to me, ‘Teaching is like a bad marriage, you never get your needs met, but you stay in it for the kids,’” Coffman told board members during the taped meeting.
“I didn’t fully understand what she meant until this past month,” she continued.
Teachers in the district have been unsatisfied with their workload and salaries, according to KSHB, and have been in contract negotiations with the district for months.
“Just like a bad relationship, our communication has broken down,” Coffman, who taught at Indian Woods Middle School, told the board. “You aren’t listening.”
Coffman may have been unhappy with salary negotiations, but her dissatisfaction is indicative of a larger issue – unions are failing at meeting the needs of their members more and more. Union membership across the nation has been on a steady decline and hovers around 10% at the moment. In the 1950s that number was close to 30%.
Given the issues surrounding California’s “Gig Economy” killer bill and the push to force all workers into unions, Coffman’s story seems quite relevant even if her complaint isn’t exactly against the union. Unions represent fewer workers and more political entities as the years progress. It’s time to move on from this outdated notion of “worker’s rights”, at least in the public sector.
Perhaps if Coffman were able to negotiate her own salary she might be able to find a more satisfactory deal for herself. That fact that she’s not allowed to negotiate for herself based on her own merits should concern her and all of us.