There’s a lot screwed up with the way the public education system is currently run. Witness recent events in a Berkley, Calif., school district: teachers refuse to work beyond their “contract hours” and thus are not assigning homework to students.
Who’s to blame? The teachers’ union wants an automatic cost-of-living increase and a hefty share of any new money the school district receives. District officials say they sympathize with the union but are pointing fingers at Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, saying they don’t have enough money.
The subtext suggests the unions are also flexing their muscle to demonstrate their resistance to Schwarzenegger’s proposal to institute teacher performance-based pay and to reform tenure. These reforms – especially the latter – frighten union leadership tremendously.
Lance Izumi of the Pacific Research Institute discussed this back in January when the governor’s plan was unveiled:
The state’s powerful teacher unions will fight the governor’s proposals tooth and nail. Addressing legislators, Governor Schwarzenegger put this battle into perspective: “This is a battle of the special interests versus the children’s interests. Which will you choose?” Hopefully, policymakers in Sacramento will make the right choice.
I know, I know what some of you are saying, “It’s Berkeley, you moron. What do you expect? It’s the next generation of radical labor activists.” Point taken. Sadly, the indoctrination continues, as teachers fulfill their classroom duties. But the broader point is the resistance of the teachers’ union to any and all attempts at education reform. Maybe you’ve already picked up that theme from reading this blog.
After reading the Associated Press article, though, someone has to ask: where are the students in all this mix?
I don’t blame teacher’s unions for negotiating for what they think are the best interests of their constituents–teachers. But they don’t admit that sometimes their goals for teachers are at odds with what is best for the kids. They can’t claim they are all about the kids while they pull stunts like this.