“For more than two years, the Michigan Education Association [MEA] has had a manual that urges its members to use students as propaganda in contract negotiations and also lays out how to organize strikes,” writes Tome Gantert of Michigan Capitol Confidential.
Considering the fact that teacher strikes are illegal in Michigan, some may find it odd that the MEA has been encouraging this sort of behavior. In fact, the MEA has done a lot more than just “encourage” potentially illegal activity. As Gantert reports, the organization produced an anonymously written 28-page manual titled, “Building Full Capacity Locals — Crisis Planning, It’s Never Too Early To Start!”
And of course, what union protest would be complete without the exploitation of children in the bargaining process?
“In terms of a bargaining message, the public responds most positively when we talk about children, quality in the classroom and the future,” the MEA manual states.
The manual even suggests one slogan that it claims has worked for other locals: “It’s not about dollars and cents; it’s about our children.”
Perhaps the most disturbing moment occurs when one section appears to quote almost verbatim Saul Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals.”
Alinsky instructs his followers to “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Likewise, the MEA manual instructs teachers to “Pick a target—personalize—and polarize the opposition [pg. 17].” And those are just the verbatim quotes; the entire manual is a handbook for creating, managing, and profiting from crises.