The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Teachers Unions teaching the problems with unions.

In a past life I wanted to be a teacher. I majored in education for my first three years of college. I refused to join the student chapter of the Wisconsin education Association as a matter of principle since it supposedly wasn't required for students to join. I was denied admission to UW-Eau Claire's school of education. This was less than a year before I was accepted at 3 (out of 4 that I applied for)top-tier law schools. Being rejected by the school of education was really the best thing that ever happened to me. However, I still hold a great deal of animosity towards the ridiculous state of the educational system here and in the country. It seems clear to me that the powers that be care less about the kids than they do about politics. Reason's Lisa Snell agrees.

California has more than 1,700 schools failing to make adequately yearly progress according to No Child Left Behind Act standards. And the U.S. Department of Education just delivered more bad news to California students and parents. The newly-released 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress, which reports on reading and math achievement scores in every state, shows California fourth graders scored an average of just 207 out of 500 in reading, with eighth graders scoring 250 out of 500. Only students in Mississippi and Washington, D.C., scored worse.

The state’s poor academic performance and the large number of struggling schools demonstrate our ongoing failure. That may be the best argument for two ballot initiatives slated to come to a vote November 8: teacher tenure (Proposition 74) and paycheck protection (Proposition 75).
Over the long haul, Prop 75, which would prohibit unions from spending member dues on political contributions without explicit consent from individual members, could turn out to be a deciding factor in whether or not we can stop wasting education money on bureaucracy and red tape, and get more money flowing into classrooms. In recent years, the teachers’ union has shown a troubling tendency to put union power and financial interests ahead of students' educational interests.

Why does a 2002 state law say that a catering company can’t provide school lunches, and a local cleaning company can’t clean classrooms?

Simple, the union only wants dues-paying union employees in those jobs—even if it costs taxpayers more, taking money out of classrooms.

Most good teachers wouldn’t care who cuts their school’s grass, especially if it meant they’d actually have the books and computers they need inside their classrooms. And if the union had to justify and explain the causes on which it spent money—and the tradeoffs involved—to rank-and-file teachers, we might actually lay the groundwork for some real education reform.


  • Maybe they detected that your heart wasn't in teaching.

    By Anonymous Phil, at 8:32 PM  

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