It may seem the discussion on public unions cropped up recently due to the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, but the issue of public unions have been an ongoing discussion for quite some time, mainly due to the consequences of the teachers unions. As it so happens, critics of the teachers unions come in a wide variety of demographics, so they are not easy to pigeonhole, as this February editorial from the Collegiate Times demonstrates: Teachers unions not productive
Now, I’m not advocating for disbanding the teachers unions, nor do I want to put them into the pillory for public humiliation. There are thousands of great teachers and public schools that are passionately enhancing the lives of children. But in my opinion, those singular entities we call teachers unions are more concerned with self-preservation and resistance than with self-examination and reform.
The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have received a lot of criticism lately concerning lifelong tenure positions, the convoluted firing process, protection of bad teachers and an overall resistance to change. In their responses, there is rarely any acknowledgement of error or honest assessment of problems in the union system. It is either a stammering defense of outdated practices or adamant attacks on those who want to change the system, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
It would seem that if our education system needs to drastically improve, we need drastic changes from the teachers unions. Most of the proposals and programs they suggest are minor attempts to improve the quality of teaching; proposals that sound nice, but do little to fix the inherent problems in their philosophy and application.
Teachers are the most direct line between knowledge and children in the classroom. If a union representing teachers is unwilling to make substantial changes, the education system as a whole won’t make substantial improvements. Many things need to change on many levels in order for America’s children to get a better education across the board. Reforming the contract with the teachers unions may be the most important, and is unfortunately proving to be the most difficult.
So much for liberal brainwashing in college, as this young man proves the kids are capable of thinking for themselves. But seriously, when people such as this collegiate student are realizing the public unions themselves are the roadblock to meaningful education reform, the unions can’t hope to continue with their stonewalling position for much longer. The unions are risking their relevancy with these tactics, as as budget cuts from the federal government and the state governments will force school districts to take drastic steps like was seen in Providence, Rhode Island.
The truth is no one wants to defend bad teachers. No one, that is, except the unions.