‘They are a terrorist organization’: Oklahoma’s top education official blasts ‘Marxist’ teachers’ unions

Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters, the state’s top education official, is reportedly waging a war against teachers’ unions.

So much so that he recently went viral for calling the state’s teachers’ unions “terrorist organizations.”

“I don’t negotiate with the teacher’s union. They are a terrorist organization that has continued to spread misinformation across the state,” he specifically said, as reported at the start of the month by Tulsa station KTUL.

Speaking with Fox News this weekend, Walters made it clear that he still feels the exact same way.

Listen:

“They’re not advocating for kids. They’re not advocating for teachers really, either. All they’re doing is lining their pocketbooks so that union leadership gets richer and richer, and they continue to fight to keep education down,” he said.

“I am absolutely not going to negotiate with folks that take on terrorist means to get what they want, which is destruction of our schools,” he added.

Fox News notes that Walters is particularly angry over the role teachers’ unions played in keeping schools perpetually closed during the COVID pandemic.

“The teachers union advocated for school shutdowns. They’re advocating for critical race theory to be taught in their classrooms. They’re advocating for radical gender theory to be in our classrooms. Here in Oklahoma they’re fighting us on school choice,” he said.

“I will never back down to the teachers unions. I will never back down to their leadership, which continues to push this radical agenda and terrorize the classroom. I will continue to stand with parents, teachers and kids across the state,” he added.

Continuing his remarks to Fox News, Walters revealed that teachers’ union leaders have asked him to stop criticizing them because they’re losing members thanks to said criticism, but he doesn’t care. He just wants to hold them accountable.

“They utilize power through the money that they take from teachers paychecks, and they push people behind the scenes,” he said.

“The reality is, these union bosses worked with the Biden administration to keep schools shut down, to try to force this radical ideology on our kids. They don’t like being called out as the woke powerbrokers that they are, and [they] continue to terrorize the classroom even in red states,” he added.

The teachers’ unions reportedly hate this tough rhetoric, to the point that one union — the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) — called his remarks “inflammatory and demonizing rhetoric” and claimed they “endanger our educators and undermine public education.”

Walters pushed back on this during his Fox News interview, arguing that what the left’s doing — “pushing radical gender theory in the classroom, telling students that they are racist because of the color of their skin, [and] telling students that they need to identify sexually in the earliest of grades that they might be a different gender” — is what’s undermining education in this country.

“The reality is we are at the bottom in education as a state. As a country, we have not been where we need to be in education. We continue to fall behind other developed countries,” he said.

“What we have to do is we’ve got to reject leftism in the classroom,” he said. “We’ve got to reject the teachers union. We’ve got to call them out for who they are. We’ve got to call them out for the things they advocate,” he added.

He wasn’t wrong about the state being at the bottom education-wise.

According to Tulsa World, there were in Oklahoma “across-the-board declines for fourth- and eighth-graders in math and reading between 2019 and 2022.”

But Walters wasn’t in charge during this time period. His predecessor, a Democrat named Joy Hofmeister, was in charge.

Moving along, Walters also noted that the teachers’ unions had worked hand in hand with the Biden administration to prevent the reopening of schools.

“You’ve got radical teachers unions trying to intimidate and terrorize lawmakers and parents, those two forces are continuing to keep education down. I am not going to stop fighting them. I’m going to continue to fight for parents and every single child here in the state of Oklahoma to get a great education,” he said.

He continued by accusing the teachers’ unions of negotiating like terrorists “by demanding money and conditions while holding children hostage at home, preventing them from going back to school despite rising suicide rates and falling grades,” as reported by Fox News.

But he did distinguish between everyday teachers, some of whom might be decent, and the teachers leading the teachers’ unions.

“This is a union leadership problem. They are using our teachers by taking money from their paychecks, not being upfront with teachers about the positions they take and then [they] go and advocate against their conservative Oklahoma values,” he said.

Vivek Saxena

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