This week in Los Angeles, the “teachers-union-gone-wild” has threatened the LA Times with a boycott for daring to question teacher performance. Such audacity from a major newspaper, doing an investigative story on a unionized group! Unions in the “Age of Obama” are feeling more empowered than ever, flexing their schoolyard bully muscles at anyone who refuses to turn over the lunch money. Could it possibly be that they have too much power? Or that they feel threatened by any assessment that questions the effectiveness of their methods?
This should not be an indictment of teachers themselves, as most have little voice in what their unions are doing with their money. In fact, it can sometimes hurt their own best efforts, as illustrated by Jaime Escalante, famous for his portrayal in the movie “Stand and Deliver.” As described in a piece by Richard Berman for the Orange County Register:
His classes were so popular that they grew beyond the size considered acceptable by the teachers union. Explaining his departure, Escalante said: “I work for the students, not for the teachers. … The teachers union was not in my favor.”
Berman has several similar examples, and goes on to say:
What can a union offer a talented, professional-minded young woman or man? They know that trading away performance-based pay for ironclad job security is no bargain at all, since being a good teacher doesn’t seem to ensure job security.
Obviously, unions are not always the teacher’s best friend, so they must be an ally to the neediest of kids, right? Not so much. From the report “Teaching Inequality” by the Education Trust: continue reading …