Teachers’ Unions: For Themselves or For the Children?

Posted on October 4, 2009


Education reform is a common rallying cry of both the left and the right.  But it seems that the big labor unions of the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT)  don’t want reform if it comes in the form of merit pay, school choice or teacher responsibility.  In areas like these, the big unions want things to stay the same, and they are flexing their muscles to keep it that way.

In an ariticle over at BigGovernment.com, Kyle Olson points out the ways the education unions are actively trying to keep reform at bay, which results in protecting the teachers, even if it is at a cost to a child’s education

As examples, Mr. Olson states:

In Detroit Public Schools, the Detroit Federation of Teachers threatened to strike when the emergency financial manager called for teacher merit pay and an end to the seniority system. The manager and union currently have another month to go in a two-month extension of bargaining talks.

In Wisconsin, the NEA is using its clout to block legislation that would allow teacher evaluations to be linked to student performance. Obama won’t provide education stimulus dollars to states that refuse to link the two, but that doesn’t bother the union.

In his farewell speech to teachers’ unions, former NEA General Counsel, Robert Chanin openly stated that while educators would like to see a decline in drop-out rates, the closing of achievement gaps and improving teacher quality, these should not come at the cost of  “due process, empolyee rights and collective bargaining.”

While, I’m sure there are many fine teachers in our public school system, the unions are in the business of not only representing these teachers, but the bad ones as well.  And for the union, the interests of the bad teacher takes precedent over the interest of a good education for your child.

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Posted in: Education