Teachers Union Shows Colors against School Reform, Own Members

More appearing on the Net today regarding the Denver teachers union clamping down on a struggling school’s quest for freedom – David Harsanyi’s opinion piece for the Denver Post sees it as a “lesson in union power”:

Educational reform, union leaders often tell us, is the purview of teachers and administrators, not politicians. Teachers are the ones, the union says, who understand the special needs of students, parents and the unique neighborhoods they operate within.

That’s why listening to union president Kim Ursetta defending the DCTA’s decision was an excruciating experience for all. Her answers were illogical and her position untenable.

Let’s keep in mind that a majority of Bruce Randolph teachers signed off on the school’s request, that the Denver school board — not exactly a gang of union- busting hardliners — voted unanimously to allow autonomy, and Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet also backed the school’s proposal.

After you read all of Harsanyi’s piece, you may want to suffer through listening to me (my voice slightly distorted by a bad microphone cable) discuss the issue with Amy Oliver on a new iVoices podcast.

Lest you think the podcast rhetoric is overblown, the union’s enigmatic resistance has set off calls for an education revolution over at the HeadFirst Colorado blog, first from my liberal friend Alan Gottlieb and then from the conservative Uncle Charley.

Meanwhile, the insightful guru in all things related to the teachers union – Mike Antonucci – insists that the Bruce Randolph case deserves the national spotlight. I expect that sort of coverage to start coming soon.

Until then, I plan to keep driving this story home, because what it says about the need for school reform and the way it clarifies union leaders’ priorities is very illuminating.

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