Saturday, August 2, 2014
Teacher's Unions versus Students: No I am not anti-Union I am pro-Child
There is a dilemma in American education. On the one hand, teachers are essential to student achievement. On the other, teachers unions promote self-interests of their members which are antithetical to the interests of students. So, how do we fix this problem? In five minutes, Terry Moe, Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, delineates this quandary and offers solutions.
And no, I am not anti-Union. My father was a member of the teacher’s union in his district and they helped him immeasurably when he was unfairly targeted by the administration in his school. What I am against is the fact that public education is no longer about “the best interests of the child.” And that is why there needs to be a societal revamping of the education system in our country where the children and not the teacher comes first.
In New York State it is so difficult to get rid of a tenured teacher, even one found to have been guilty of sexual misconduct, that millions upon millions are spent on these individuals rather than putting the money into the classrooms. In fact the new contract signed by Mayor DeBlasio of New York gives even more rights to teachers and more power to the Union over the rights of the students. Moreover, I have had personal experience with teachers and their unions in New York City. When MrGS was in kindergarten in the New York public school system and needed some more attention, I was roundly upbraided by the classroom teacher, as well as the principal, that the teacher was entitled to her union coffee break. The principal not wanting to have to deal with the issues my son presented lied that they didn't have to keep him in the school, as well as telling me I had to pay for the para myself. Read about how horrible these people were to a very disabled child HERE. (Note: the post also talks about how we were helped once we moved to a district that actually understood what it was to be interested in educating students.)
Meanwhile, the following is a post I wrote years ago when CM2 's 5th grade special education teacher was horribly incompetent. He had entered middle school with so much promise, having met all goals for years, that the school administration had actually felt that with the proper support he would actually become an independent learner by the end of 5th grade. Instead the special education teacher, as well as the classroom teacher, sent him spiraling out of control. But because of the Union contract they kept both teachers on in his classroom. In fact, it took months and months to get the special education teacher out of the classroom. (At least that was one of them) More than half of the year had been gone by then. Subsequently, it then took years of support, therapy and competent educators to actually get my son back to where he had been at the beginning of 5th grade.
When you want to throttle the teacher
High school was of course another issue. The added academic responsibilities, the social contretemps of adolescence, as well as the sideeffects of being a pubescent male, all took its toll in different ways and required different levels of support. SEARCH highschool issues; bullying; friendship; teachers; executive functioning; speech; homework for all the blog posts on these issues.
Meanwhile, check out this movement Partnership for Educational Justice. This organization has filed a lawsuit against tenure in the state of New York. The lawsuit is based upon the successful California suit brought by a group of parents from underprivileged neighborhoods.