Teachers want to teach. Teachers’ unions — by contrast — want power.

That’s why unions hijacked the teaching profession. That’s why unions order their teachers out of the classrooms and onto the sidewalks, abandoning students to hold cities and neighborhoods hostage until the union agenda prevails.

Unions employ strikes because they work. Teachers, controlled by brute force, obediently fall in line. Nervous politicians buckle when faced by cities full of angry parents whose kids have nowhere to go. Then unions get what they want — billions in tax-free dues to fund their radical leftist takeover of our schools and republic.

This exact union strategy is playing out in Chicago right now. For the third time since 2012, Chicago’s teachers’ unions have pulled teachers from the classrooms and put them on picket lines, leaving 361,000 students and their families abandoned for days.

They’re asking for a 16 percent pay increase, but Chicago teacher salaries already range from $53,000.00 to over $125,000. And that’s before adding in Cadillac health care and pension benefits.

They’re marching for smaller class sizes, but many Chicago classrooms are undersized.

They’re also marching for hordes of new support staff to address the campus chaos created by union-supported “equity” policies. You see, unions promote dangerous anti-family/anti-student/anti-teacher/anti-American policies in our schools and communities. Once chaos ensues, unions place the blame on poverty, parents, school choice, and a lack of funding. Then they call for “social justice” strikes to demand a fix to the problems. The fix? You guessed it! More dues-paying members and more money and power for the unions.

This is why so many families want to escape public schools. So, diabolically, unions march to demand a moratorium on charter schools to the devastation of thousands of disadvantaged families.

As a teacher who’s devoted my entire life to students, I’m motivated to defeat these devilish foes.

Unions gained their stronghold over teachers because we were forced by law to fund them for 50 years. That’s why my colleagues and I sued them to end forced unionism. Unions were livid.

For the third time since 2012, Chicago’s teachers’ unions have pulled teachers from the classrooms and put them on picket lines, leaving 361,000 students and their families abandoned for days.

Desperate to keep their hands on our money, union lawyers threatened the U.S. Supreme Court justices that if employees were freed from forced unionism, unions would react with an “untold specter of labor unrest throughout the country,” because “union security is the tradeoff for no strikes.”

We won. So unions started pitching nationwide temper tantrums called “RedForEd” teacher protests — just like the strikes in Chicago.

My teacher colleague Dr. Joseph Ocol always crosses Chicago’s picket line. You haven’t likely heard of him because unions silence good teachers. Joseph’s not willing to leave children unattended just because the union orders him to strike. One of his second graders was murdered while unattended — shot dead in the streets of Chicago.

After that child’s tragic death, Joseph discovered 90 percent of his students lived below the poverty line and were most vulnerable between 3 and 6 p.m. So Joseph started an after-school chess club. Shortly after, the kids started winning state and national chess tournaments and blossomed under their newfound hope.

That’s why he told union leaders, “I will join your strike if you will do something for the kids. I’m willing to teach the kids to play chess in the picket line.”

But union leaders denied his request and showed no concern for the kids. Then they hassled Joseph for teaching instead of picketing, slandered him mercilessly in national news as a “scab,” and ejected him from union membership while continuing to take full dues from his paychecks.

Repulsively, angry union activists even tried to shut down Joseph’s chess club. No wonder Chicago’s kids are falling apart.

The Chicago strike, and the entire “RedForEd” strike movement, is a smokescreen. A deceptive power grab by unions. Their underlying motivation is to use America’s schools and teachers to grow the ranks of union soldiers and haul in billions more in tax-free annual dues to push their far-reaching leftist political agenda. Unions seek to abolish parental authority, introduce more chaos and indoctrinate the next generation of Americans in radical socialist ideals. This puts our republic — and our kids — in danger.

That’s the bottom line.

There’s only one way to end the nightmare. Teachers must reject unions to rescue our profession and our kids, and Americans must empower teachers to do so.

As Joseph says, “In life, just like in chess, every move has a consequence.”

America, it’s our move.