The Fort Wayne Education Association, the union representing teachers employed by Fort Wayne Community Schools, declared an impasse in contract negotiations this week. It could have been called last Nov. 2, when election results sealed the fate for teachers' collective bargaining rights.
Republican majorities in Indiana's House and Senate joined with Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels to crush nearly the last of the influence the Indiana State Teachers Association has on state education policy. Flexing what little muscle it has left in one of its affiliates' negotiations only highlights what teachers have lost in the last few years.
The local union's complaint is over working conditions. But legislation approved in the last session took those off the table, not FWCS officials. The union now wants the administration to negotiate issues that would put the school district squarely in the state's bulls-eye. But the school district isn't in the position to put itself between the union and the state. Public schools in Indiana have been rendered practically powerless as local control shifted to Indianapolis. Between P.L. 221, the state school accountability law, and property tax changes that gave the state control of the purse-strings, there's little that the school district can do.
Teachers have every right to be angry over their plight. But the time to act was before anti-public education officials were elected.