Category

Unions

follow the leader
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We Will Tell You How to be Innovative

A recent EducationWeek article, provocatively titled “These Shop Teachers Told Their Students to Form a Union,” focuses on Aviation High School in Long Island, New York, where students were encouraged to create a classroom much like the workplace of a union. Teachers José Vaz and Antonio Pepenella mention that students have more control over their education. This includes students electing officers (including foremen and a union representative) who are in charge of enforcing the class contract and ensuring student rights are protected and mediating conflicts between their classmates. Although a novel concept, which allows children out of their seats and away from the Pythagorean theorem, the approach is actually anti-innovation in that it builds a follow-the-leader mentality. At the core Read More ›

Protesting demonstration holding signs in Barcelona
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Back to Betraying Children

When lightning strikes, typically the surface it strikes is the underdog. Well, the same is to be said when teacher unions’ strike. In Chicago, the teachers strike and the surface they hit are the children. Chicago has the third largest public school system in the United States and its teachers went on strike for salary increases (15 percent to be exact), enforceable caps on class sizes, and a written commitment for more nurses, social workers, and librarians. They also struck for more affordable housing, which is far outside the parameters of collective bargaining on a teacher’s contract. But hey, why limit yourself to educational issues? Even more of a head scratcher? The mayor, Lori Lightfoot, a progressive Democrat, had put Read More ›

student problem concept and stress
student problem concept and stress
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Unions are Unfulfilled. So are Children.

EducationWeek recently published an article on labor contracts for school districts in three states: California, Colorado, and Washington. All three have struggled with recent teacher strikes and now “will have to lay off hundreds of teachers and central office staff, increase class sizes, shutter after-school programs, and take other actions they warn will have devastating academic effects for years to come.” Everyone in Washington knew this problem was coming. That includes the Washington Education Association (WEA), a union supported by education funding. Yet, the WEA still pushed for a massive pay increase that caused these problems. To understand how we got here, one needs to step back a couple years. During the 2017 legislative session, in response to the McCleary Read More ›

Fight, two fists hitting each other over dramatic sky
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Combating Union Power

Teacher unions carry a lot of fire power in their holsters, wielding greater influence on the public schools than any other group in American society, including voters. On first glance, one could say it is all “bottom up” influence due to their membership numbers (the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have a combined membership approaching 5 million). Unions drive collective bargaining activities which result in agreements so comprehensive that the organization of public schools is virtually dictated by the union. There is also “top-down” influence, in which politicians are lobbied to pass laws and regulations that are typically anti-reform and block or weaken any attempt to curb union power. In an article for New York Read More ›