Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Teacher Unions: The Best Defense is a Good Offense

Teacher unions around the country are taking the gloves off and aggressively attacking officials trying to reform the education system by reigning in costs and holding educators accountable through teacher evaluations.

While good teachers have nothing to fear – and may even receive a bonus – unions are standing up for bad teachers by making sure that they don’t have to undergo any scrutiny whatsoever.

Up North, Massachusetts’s largest teachers union plans to circumvent the democratic process and go to the courts. The Massachusetts Teachers Association has filed a lawsuit against the state for allowing a ballot initiative that may breakup the union’s monopoly, making a teacher’s performance, rather than years of service, the primary factor in deciding who should be laid off.

In the Empire State, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew has rescinded his invitation to New York City education officials for training sessions on the new teacher evaluation system. This has only increased tensions between the union and Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the city’s effort to hold bad teachers accountable.

A proposed constitutional amendment in Missouri would prohibit tenure for teachers in that state. Under the amendment, districts would be required to use local performance standards for employment decisions that consider student performance, a notion that supporters argue would improve education. Under the proposal, school districts receiving public funding could not enter into new contracts with teachers for a period lasting more than three years.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers and Louisiana Association of Educators both blasted Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to expand the school voucher system and significantly change how teacher pay increases and tenure are applied.

“The coalition of the status quo will always say we need more time and more money,” Jindal’s communication director Kyle Plotkin said. “When we’re wasting almost a billion dollars on failing public schools, we don’t have any more time to waste.”

There is no reason for unions to protect bad teachers at the expense of good ones, other than maintaining an overinflated base from which to collect dues. Maybe if bad teachers focused more on teaching, rather than keeping their jobs through arcane labor agreements, unions wouldn’t be in this predicament.

Categories: Teachers Unions