A teaching job for life — and beyond

In Mexico, teachers who don’t show up to teach can’t be fired. A teacher’s job may be passed down to the teacher’s children or sold to the highest bidder. Local union leaders sometimes “take a cut when they sell a teacher’s job.” The Washington Post reports:

Josefa Hernandez, an energetic college graduate in the southern Mexican state of Puebla, said she had been unable for four years to land a teaching job through applications to state education officials. Finally, she said, a local school supervisor who belongs to the union told her he knew a teacher who had died, and offered to “work it out with the husband.”

By long-standing custom in Mexico, a deceased teacher’s children have first right of refusal for the job. If they don’t want it, the surviving spouse often sells the position for thousands of dollars. Though the practice is illegal, it is common and often arranged by union leaders, according to two dozen interviews with teachers and education officials.

Hernandez said she paid $5,000 to the man, who initially demanded $8,000 for his late wife’s job.

The teachers’ union also is killing a plan to update the 80-year-old middle school curriculum.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Mad Scientist says:

    Just gotta love how their unions do what’s right.

    Can’t wait until we take a page from them.

  2. I await the endorsement of John Kerry by the Mexican teacher’s union.

  3. Michael says:

    Nice snark, Joel. Too bad it demonstrates an unwillingness to think.

    Unthinking union bashing is good evidence that unions, while requiring reform, are still necessary.

  4. interested observer says:

    Having to hold a seance for parent/teacher conferences must be a real pain…

  5. Superdestroyer says:

    Michael,

    When a person learns that teachers unions in the United State have always been maximum employment unions, all of the their actions become completely understandable and why when it the choice is between students and the unions, Democrat politicians always side with the unions.

  6. Andy Freeman says:

    > Unthinking union bashing is good evidence that unions, while requiring reform, are still necessary.

    Actually, it isn’t.

    I wonder – is that an honest mistake or ….

  7. Richard Brandshaft says:

    Corruption is a way of life in Mexico. Big surprise: that goes for unions too.

    Naturally, conservatives take this as a story about unions, rather than a story about Mexico. “Unthinking union bashing” is exactly the right phrase.

    Conservatives need some great evil to hate, just like Islam needs infidels.

    When the Soviet Union collapsed, conservatives had to adopt Clinton as a poor substitute.

    Clinton is gone. Thrashing about for The Enemy, some conservatives settled on teacher’s unions. The nice thing about teacher’s unions, as opposed to rogue states and terrorists, is that being seriously against teacher’s unions doesn’t involve paying taxes.

  8. Mad Scientist says:

    Then how about all the thinking union bashing. Such as:

    According to teacher’s unions, any attempt to hold them accountable for results is a Bad Thing ™. This includes competency testing, student testing, and standards in general.

    “Bush is evil”. Now there’s a piece of well reasoned, thinking Republican bashing.

    I’ll bet the only thing that dismays the US Teacher’s unions is that they hadn’t thought of it first.

    The union dogma about how if an idea comes from a Republican/conservative, it is a Bad Thing(tm). Never mind that if the same idea comes from a Democrat/liberal, it is a Good Thing(tm).

  9. Walter E. Wallis says:

    If unions are so damn good, why is membership not voluntary? Are workers too stupid to make up their own minds? Remember, one of Clinton’s first executive orders was to halt enforcement of the law that required posting information about dues refunds for sums spent on political actions opposite the will of the member.
    Union membership is kinda like communist government takeovers, One Man, One Vote, One Time.

  10. I had to join the NEA-Jr. association at my college (and really, NEA-jr? how ridiculous is that?) to even be accepted into the ed. dept. I’m 40+ years old and I’m an NEA-jr. No certificate yet, but I’m a member (jr) of the union. Argh!!!

  11. Tim from Texas says:

    Both demos. and repubs. have got everyone bashing each other and arguing with each other while our pockets are being picked. They know we can be like deer in spot lights if the the right silly-argument-buttons are pushed.

    I, like everyone else, have some issues with unions and I certainly wouldn’t want to see say 80% of the work force unionized for that would leave them with too much power. However, allowing and going along with breaking the unions down to 10% of the work force as it is now leaves too much power with employers. I believe we need to fight for a good balance in this regard.

    And by the way, for sure for sure, Mexico and many other countries are full of corruption, but so is the good old U.S.A. It’s becoming our way of life too.

  12. Drewboss says:

    If private employers (aside from steel mills, auto plants, and coal mines) made decisions with the same crude insensitivity as the direct democratic institutions that control public ed., everyone would be in a union.

    Unions are a natural response to the high risk that comes with contracting to serve the volatile 51% public interest. In terms of autonomy, teachers are the lowest totem within a democratically appointed bureaucracy.

    Our (I am a NYC teacher) services have been tailored into a “public good” that (unlike those in market-governed institition) does not offer an attuned communication of values between the consumer and the producer. As a result, teachers must play ball with very different tactics than most private employees.

    As a teacher, I do not fear the assessment of my merit. I fear the “higher order” values that any popularly elected buffoon could send sweeping through the regime to the dismay of the 49%.

    In a successful private company, merit is coherently defined by self-selecting teams of people in direct relationship with a consumer market. In public ed, merit is defined much as Stalin’s production quotas: through insensitive “plans” foisted from the top down.

    To the teachers unions I offer a long-term forecast: publically funded SCHOOL CHOICE (and elimination of school boards or mayoral control) is the surest path to improving teacher job satisfaction.

  13. Richard Heddleson says:

    Drewboss,

    You give too much credit to private companies for coherence and recognition of merit. But you are correct that customers have the upper hand and when companies fail to serve their customers for whatever reason, the customers vote with with their wallets and their vote is determinative.

    Oh that the same were true for schools. But note that when it is, that will not mean that education will be “better”, only that it will meet the desires of the customers. Whether those desires are aligned with the needs of the students is another matter entirely. Today, the public schools do neither so half a loaf will be better than none.

  14. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Voluntary association, anybody?

  15. Mike in Texas says:

    “Corruption is a way of life in Mexico. Big surprise: that goes for unions too.

    Naturally, conservatives take this as a story about unions, rather than a story about Mexico. “Unthinking union bashing” is exactly the right phrase.”

    Actually, its very politically incorrect to criticize Mexico, might make all the Mexicans in this country feel bad or offend them.

    I actually belong to a teacher’s union but it is for the liability protection and legal protection from administration. The district I work at isn’t exactly tolerant of people with differing viewpoints from their own.

  16. Bill Leonard says:

    Unions and union membership are neither inherently good nor inherently bad — at least, that’s what I like to hope in my more optimistic moments.

    But it’s difficult to be sympathetic to organizations (such as teacher’s unions) that make membership mandatory in order to work; that ensure employment for the incompetent by making it virtually imposssible to remove them; that routinely give lockstep endorsement, money and in-kind help to Democrat candidates; and whose positions on every education issue really boil down to “Trust us, and give us more money.”

  17. John McHarry says:

    Mandatory union membership is oppression.
    I look forward to the founding of school co-ops, which borrow from both the private school and the homeschooling sectors. But by providing an excellent education at a reasonable cost without parents having to skip work, they will become actual competition for the public schools and their gestapo unions.

  18. “n Mexico, teachers who don’t show up to teach can’t be fired. A teacher’s job may be passed down to the teacher’s children or sold to the highest bidder. Local union leaders sometimes “take a cut when they sell a teacher’s job.” ”

    Quiet, you give the U.S. teachers’ unions ideas…

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