Unions are for union members

Teachers’ unions stand in the way of school reform, and always will, writes Terry Moe, a senior Hoover fellow and Fordham Prize winner, in Opinion Journal.

The idea that an enlightened “reform unionism” will somehow emerge that voluntarily puts the interests of children first — an idea in vogue among union apologists — is nothing more than a pipe dream. The unions are what they are. They have fundamental, job-related interests that are very real, and are the raison d’être of their organizations. These interests drive their behavior, and this is not going to change. Ever.

If the teachers unions won’t voluntarily give up their power, then it has to be taken away from them — through new laws that, among other things, drastically limit (or prohibit) collective bargaining in public education, link teachers’ pay to their performance, make it easy to get rid of mediocre teachers, give administrators control over the assignment of teachers to schools and classrooms, and prohibit unions from spending a member’s dues on political activities unless that member gives explicit prior consent.

Politicians will respond to public pressure, Moe writes.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. This is crazy. I’ll grant you that the teacher’s unions are dysfunctional, but they exist for a reason. The reason is that the ‘administrators’ are just (if not more) dysfunctional than the unions, and the teachers are forced to run for cover somewhere. School districts in this country are the major problem with education. Charter schools are the proof. Unions exist because of bad administration in education, and in most other industries.

    Mike

  2. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    I am a teacher at a public elementary school. I agree that all unions are about two essential things–wages and working conditions. Teachers’ unions are no different. As flawed as they are, no amount of reform will change the status quo, simply because in the triad of teachers-students-parents, teachers cannot be the ONLY ones held accountable. Our authority and professional expertise has been consistently undermined by weak principals (within a weaker school district) who kowtow to overbearing/apathetic/neglectful parents and unmotivated/disruptive students. Obviously, we should get rid of the ‘bad apple’ teachers, but we should also get rid of the bad apple students and their parents, as well! I am tired of seeing public funds being wasted on students and parents who view school as taxpayer-supported daycare. I didn’t go to college and grad school to babysit. ‘Nuff said.

  3. Mike in Texas says:

    Wow, he got a Fordham award for bashing public education? What’s required for that? Write an article bashing public education?

    The Fordham Foundation exists for one purpose; to push the anti-public school agenda. Couldn’t Joanne find any real journalists to quote?

  4. Mike wrote:

    School districts in this country are the major problem with education.

    Let’s get this man a Thomas B. Fordham award!

    Another half dozen of us who come to the same conclusion and we can form a conspiracy.

    Seriously, I think you’re right. The political entities that school districts are have outlived their usefulness and have become impediments to better education.

    And, I don’t think there’s any way to fix the situation.

    While you can find exceptions, politics in general and the politics of school boards in particular, make educational efficiency and effectiveness a secondary issue. Something that’s dealt with only after more important issues are resolved, when it’s dealt with at all.

    Mike in Texas wrote:

    He gets an award for bashing public education? Where do I apply?

    The Fordham Foundation exists for one purpose; to push the anti-public school agenda.

    I just looked at their mission statement. Nothing about an anti-public school agenda. Probably part of the vast, right-wing conspiracy.

    Besides, what’s wrong with pushing an anti-public school agenda? You figure that as a public school teacher you’re uniquely qualified to judge the acceptability of points of view about education, public and otherwise?

    Or is it that some assumptions are too delicate to withstand the light of day?

    Couldn’t Joanne find any real journalists to quote?

    It’s an editorial, not news. Just because the New York Times news staff can’t tell the difference doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.

    Try to pay attention.

  5. Mike in Texas says:

    You figure that as a public school teacher you’re uniquely qualified to judge the acceptability of points of view about education

    Uniquely qualified, no, more qualified than Terry Moe? Absolutely. Here is a link to his biography:

    http://www-hoover.stanford.edu/bios/moe.html

    It touts what a great writer about education he is but no where does it list any education experience or training. In short, he’s a desk jockey with no real experience other than his own school experience.

    I also found this link:

    http://www.brookings.edu/comm/transcripts/20010607.htm

    where he touts his own research, and no where does he mention where it was published and subject to peer review, on vouchers and how he believes it proves the public supports them. Unpublished surveys and studies, leaked to the media and not subject to review, is how this group (himself, Checkless Finn, and Jay P. Greene) work. He also tries to play the race card further down in this article, probably to bolster his weak arguements.

    Of course, he is way behind on the Business Roundtable agenda. Bashing teachers’ unions is soooo last year. He needs to get with the program and start bashing the teacher training programs like the rest of them, since bashing teachers (remember a year ago when schools were bad b/c so many teachers are lazy and incompetent)and their unions didn’t fly with the general public.

  6. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen wrote:

    He gets an award for bashing public education? Where do I apply?

    Well, Allen, you’re not doing it right. First, you have to invent some new system that measures how poor the public schools are (remember my personal favorite, The Education Productivity Index). Make sure you don’t actually try to have it published, I understand some editors are so picky about the truth. The important thing is to release it to the press as a “working paper” that way when the mistakes are pointed out you can say it was never intended to be published in that form.

    If you want, I’m sure I can come up with some kind of award for you 😉

  7. MiT,

    I think your off base trying to impugn the credentials of Terry Moe. Here is a link to his vitae, which has nearly 6 pages of peer reveiwed publications. One does not become a fellow at both the Hoover and Brookings Institutes without a significant amount of peer reviewed contributions. You might not like his work and you can certainly try to poke holes in his assumptions or models, but to suggest he’s some unpublishable hack is preposterous.

    Moe’s CV

  8. Mike in Texas says:

    Benedict,

    Thank you for the link to more information. Terry Moe may be a respected politcal science writer (outside of my field so I will take your word for it) but he IS a desk jockey when it comes to education. I perused his publications, nearly all of his education writings are published exclusively by the Hoover and Brookings Institutes. He also publishes in a journal called Education Next. A visit to their website turned up articles that follow the Business Roundtable agenda perfectly, anti-teacher union and anti-teacher training programs, pro merit pay and pro charter. My favorite was, “Doomed to Fail: The Built-In Defects of American Education ” He also has one article published at Education Week which is mostly an attack on the AFT’s attacks on charter schools.

    In short, IMHO he merely repeats the anti-public school agenda so many before him have spouted.

  9. Mike in Texas says:

    Oh, and a little further reading found that Education Next is published by none other than the folks at the Hoover Institute.

  10. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Start by outlawing compulsory union membership and “agency” fees.
    Require public employees to chose between civil service protection and a union contract – do not allow both.
    Return teaching to professional status. Teachers used to blacklist districts that abused their teachers, making recruitment harder.

  11. Teachers Unions are not democratically-run organizations. They are dominated by a cabal of self-appointed insiders that have little accountability to its rank-and-file membership.

    Due to the laws of California, I am forced to pay dues to BOTH NEA and CTA. In my 13 years of classroom teaching service, neither of these “legalized syndicates” have ever polled their membership regarding any political position, dues increase, expenditure, or candidate endorsement.

    The witholding of dues is not an option.

    We never get to vote for Union Officers either.

    Union officers are selected by an appointed nominations committee, and are then rubber-stamped by an assembly of delegates who are presented with a slate of ” approved nominations” that feature ONE candidate for each office. In other words, there are no contested elections for union office.

    Therefore, I believe that the larger teachers unions will continue to be dominated (in the foreseeable future) by a group that will be basically opposed to any meaningful reform of our broken public education system.

  12. Mike in Texas says:

    Edwon,

    I suggest you visit this website:

    http://www.nrtw.org/a/a_1_t.htm

    You cannot be required by law to join a union, even if you do not work in a right to work state.

  13. Mike in Texas says:

    Benedict,

    I stand corrected. His piece on unions is “a work in progress”

  14. Terry Moe is a Stanford political science professor who specializes in the politics of education. Although he’s written a number of books, scholarly articles and op-eds, he’s not a writer. He’s an academic.

    The column states what I consider an obvious, if often overlooked, point: Unions exist to serve the interests of their members. That was certainly true of my union when I belonged to the Newspaper Guild.

  15. Mike in Texas says:

    Joanne,

    Terry Moe’s expertise is not in the field of education. I noted he is also a member of the Koret Task Force on K-12 Education, whose members are mainly, Political Scienc writers. But yet the Hoover Institute and the Brookings Institute hawk them as education experts when in fact none of them have education experience or training. The Koret Task Force has one actual educator; the others are a who’s who of the anti-public school crowd, mostly from Hoover and the Brookings Institute.

    Their research is nothing more than a circle of continous affirmations of what each other writes, with only one of them having the actual qualifications to be an expert. John Chubb’s only qualification is he is a co-founder of Edison Schools. You remember them? The little group who had to go underground after some of their questionable bookkeeping practices came to light.

  16. Thanks for the tip Mike.

    You are correct, one cannot be forced to join a union.

    But here in California, a Union can (and often does) collect an “agency fee” that is EQUAL to the amount paid in dues by members.

    So is it here in my mid-sized south west California district.

    Even those whose religious beliefs do not allow union membership are forced to contribute an equal amount to an “authorized” charity, as negotiated by the collective bargaining process betweed the union and its employing district. And those claiming religious exemption must have notorized affidavits signed by clergy.

    Getting any of that money refunded is next to impossible, as union accounting procedures invariably “eat-up” the agency fee.

  17. Mike in Texas says:

    Edwonk,

    The thanks go to Allen for the website link.

    I have seen evidence of the union elections you spoke of, not here in Texas but in Florida. We had a local union totally devoid of any ties to national organizations. The officers had been “reelected” for 14 straight years (somehow the official notices for nominations never seemed to arrive until the nomination deadline had passed). In my last year of teaching in Florida we voted them out and became affiliated with the NEA.

  18. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen wrote:

    I just looked at their mission statement. Nothing about an anti-public school agenda. Probably part of the vast, right-wing conspiracy.

    Did you look into any of the articles and books they publish? I can sum them up for you:

    Teachers=bad
    Teachers’ unions=bad
    public schools=bad

  19. Business Roundtable: anti-teacher union and anti-teacher training programs, pro merit pay and pro charter

    Mike in Texas: I’m a teacher in California (thank you for mentioning my new blog, Joanne!) and those four topics mentioned above describe my views rather well. I won’t write a novel here detailing my values and experiences and how I arrived at the views above, but know that my views *are* well thought out.

  20. Supposedly here in the great state of Utah, teachers cannot be forced to join a union. BUT, several teachers that I know personally who were anti-union themselves were approached by their fellow teachers and coerced into joining the union. One told me that he was told “We’ll make your life hell if you don’t join.” There’s only the one union in Utah, the UEA, and it is obscene how much power they wield – particularly in politics. I’m not a teacher myself, so I don’t know about the voting and such, but the people quoted in the paper always seem to be the same names year after year.

  21. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Did you look into any of the articles and books they publish? I can sum them up for you:

    Yeah, I took a look at a couple. I can see why someone like yourself, wedded to the status quo, would be up in arms but I saw scholarly investigations into legitimate, public-policy issues.

    Now I can understand why you’d want to move the discussion along to an investigation of the man and not the issue but let’s try to get back to the issue which I find has a wondorous, Alice-in-Wonderland quality to it.

    That there’s any controversy about the assertion that unions should be expected to act in the interest of their members I find simply fantastical.

    What other reason for existance does any union have? And who’s ends are served by keeping that fact out of the focus of the public’s attention?

  22. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen,

    Of course the unions purpose is to serve its members. I’m not disputing that at all.

    Buuuuut, Moe has an ulterior motive for writing this piece and obviously you didn’t follow things far enough to find it out.

    Moe is in tight with a gentleman named John Chubbs, in fact they have written books together. Neither of them have education backgrounds but that hasn’t stopped them from declaring themselves education policy experts and being hawked as such by the Hoover and Brookings Institutes.

    Moe is a political scientist, so why should he be interested in school reform? Weeeeeell, it could be b/c his buddy and co-author John Chubbs is one of the founders of Edision, Inc. So let’s see, we have a buddy of someone who works for a company wanting to make money off of education, and a writer who is teacher union bashing b/c the teachers’ unions are fighting against companies like Edison who want to take over schools and run them for a profit. And who would benefit financially from more schools failing?

    HOLY CONFLICT OF INTEREST, BATMAN!! Moe’s good buddy, co-founder of Edison Schools and its director of curriculum and instruction would make lots more money if teachers’ unions would just step aside and let companies like Edision take over.

    But surely, an education “reformer” wouldn’t want schools to fail just so his friend could make more money, would he?

  23. Walter E. Wallis says:

    With mandatory union membership or coercive “contributions” the idea that unions serve their members is naive. Union leadership serves union leadership. Union leadership rents unions out to politicians who will continue union leaders in their offices in return for those union contributions.
    Public emloyees should have to give up civil service protection if hey want a union contract instead.

  24. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Of course the unions purpose is to serve its members. I’m not disputing that at all.

    Gee, that’s big of you. What’s the next couragous admission? That there’re twenty-four hours in a day?

    The only reason this paper is even remotely controversial is because it highlights an issue that the teacher’s unions in particular and public education status quo protectors in general would rather not draw public attention too.

    If you’re doing right well pretending to be a high-minded professional who’s channeling the spirit of Anne Sullivan then it won’t do you any particular good to remind people that you’ve got a mortgage and a kid in college. Might take a bit of the gleam off the gilding.

    That’s also the reason for your knee-jerk ad hominem attack. If you don’t want to deal with the issue at all then you’d better deal with the man. Otherwise you’re just depending on the issue to die on its own. Obviously, given all the changes of the past decade in public education, you can’t depend on an issue to die without a bit of help. So you attack the man.

  25. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen,

    Whether you refuse to admit it or not, without teachers unions fighting for students the public education in this system would have already been looted by corporations in the name of reform. Remember the “reforms” of the Savings and Loan Industry?

    If you don’t want to deal with the issue at all

    You are the one who doesn’t want to deal with the issue. Moe wrote a scathing attack on teachers’ unions and claim they are blocking real reform. He doesn’t mention how much he and his cronies stand to profit from their so called “reforms”. They want to make money and the students can be damned. The law changes he suggests would merely make it easier for administrations to remove teachers who question their practices. There is a reason teachers have been afforded the legal protections they have; so they can speak up against practices harmful to children.

    You may be content to let shady characters like the Edison people control the schools but I am not. Not for the children I teach and not for my own children. If the teachers’ unions are fighting against them and protecting the rights of the teachers then more power to them.

    As always Allen, instead of argueing things on their merit you instead choose to hurl insults. However, is the Anne Sullivan thing the best you can come up with?

  26. Mike in Texas wrote:

    without teachers unions fighting for students

    Those gold-plated medical bennies? For the students!
    The juicy retirement package? For the students!
    The endless appeals process if you want to fire a lousy teacher? For the students!

    Kinda brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?

    Maybe we can get all those statues of the Marines raising the flag over Mt. Suribachi moved out of the way for a bronze of a union rep holding up a new contract.

    Remember the “reforms” of the Savings and Loan Industry?

    Yeah. People went to jail. You’re not suggesting jail time for lousy teachers, are you?

    There is a reason teachers have been afforded the legal protections they have; so they can speak up against practices harmful to children.

    Oh sure. A daily occurrance in the same place you can find the legions of grass-roots activists who are about the topple the NCLB. Your imagination.

    You may be content to let shady characters like the Edison people control the schools but I am not.

    What, you’ve got some shady characters you prefer? That would be – I’m guessing here so you correct me if I’m wrong – anyone from public education system. Right?

    As always Allen, instead of argueing things on their merit you instead choose to hurl insults.

    Coming from the guy who wants people to make assumptions about Mr. Moe’s scholarship based on who he plays golf with, it’s a charge that I’d treat about the same as most of the rest of your posts: disbelieve until disproven.

    However, is the Anne Sullivan thing the best you can come up with?

    Now your a critic? You can’t be bothered to do much more then turn the crank on the NEA sausage-grinder to extrude another handful of pre-digested talking-points and you don’t care for my finely-crafted bon mots?

    I just hope you can generate a bit more enthusiasm for the vulnerable kids who think you’ve got any of the answers. But then you’re paid to do that, aren’t you?

  27. Mike in Texas says:

    Coming from the guy who wants people to make assumptions about Mr. Moe’s scholarship based on who he plays golf with

    Plays golf with is a far cry from co-authored a book with. And if he’s writing outside his expertise, in this case waaay out of it, but yet allowing himself to be promoted as an expert, he deserves ridicule.

    You can’t be bothered to do much more then turn the crank on the NEA sausage-grinder to extrude another handful of pre-digested talking-points and you don’t care for my finely-crafted bon mots?

    I’m merely disappointed in your ability to come up with new insults. But congratulations on the imagry in your sentence. I really like the “turn the crank on the NEW sausage-grinder” comment.

    A daily occurrance . . .

    Daily? Maybe not, but much more often then you would believe. I could tell you tons of stories but of course your anti-teacher bias would not allow you to believe them.

    I just hope you can generate a bit more enthusiasm for the vulnerable kids who think you’ve got any of the answers.

    Ahh, once again my superior intellect has reduced you to throwing insults 😉

  28. Of course the unions purpose is to serve its members. I’m not disputing that at all.

    Gee, that’s big of you. What’s the next couragous admission? That there’re twenty-four hours in a day?

    I wouldn’t be so courageous or generous myself. Unions may exist in theory to serve the interests of their rank-and-file members, but I’ve seen too many times that when those interests clash with those of union leadership, the latter invariably prevail. Anyone who find that surprising should get over their naivety as quickly as possible.

    The example that most quickly comes to my mind is the class-size amendment to the Florida Constitution. Do individual teachers benefit form there being MORE other teachers? No, I would think that would artificially keep their wages and benefits down. But no surprise it was the top item, even the ONLY item on the agenda of the Florida teachers’ unions that session. More teachers = more dues = cushier job for the union officers.

  29. Mike in Texas says:

    DaveJ,

    There is a different explanation. More teachers equal few students per class equals higher student learning. You won’t see any of the NCLB politicians calling for this though. Or a best they reduce the class sizes to something like 22 to 1, instead of the 15 to 1 the research says you need. Reducing it to 22 to 1 makes the politicans look good.

  30. DaveJ wrote:

    Unions may exist in theory to serve the interests of their rank-and-file members, but I’ve seen too many times that when those interests clash with those of union leadership, the latter invariably prevail.

    Oh sure. But that has nothing to do with maintaining the appearence of serving the rank-and-file’s interests or actually serving the rand-and-file’s interests. That’s just the inevitable result of power politics.

    But consider the notion of a union bargaining for, say, a certain level of spending for building maintenance or books. Never happen. Going out on strike to draw attention to low test scores? Not in this lifetime.

    Why?

    Because actions like that would so clearly not serve the interests of the union’s membership.

    Your not-at-all-theoretical criminal union leadership could survive a long time scamming the union for their own purposes so long as they, at least, look like they’re serving the interests of the membership.

    But put up one contract proposal that requires an adequate supply of toilet paper in each school building and the most spineless union membership in the country will rise up and rid themselves of a leadership that’s so clearly out of touch with the membership.

    Mike in Texas wrote:

    Plays golf with is a far cry from co-authored a book with.

    Which has nothing to do with Mr. Moe’s thesis and that’s a thesis you’d obviously rather not deal with. Your preference for innuendo makes that clear.

    If you’ve got a beef with Mr. Moe’s ideas, prove him wrong. But that’s not really the issue, is it? The issue is that Mr. Moe is exploring an idea that doesn’t bear close examination. Since you dare not attack the idea, that would draw unwanted attention along with legitimizing the discussion, you have to attack the man.

    And if he’s writing outside his expertise, in this case waaay out of it, but yet allowing himself to be promoted as an expert, he deserves ridicule.

    His contention is that unions will serve the interests of their members. The only criticism I can level at the man is a propensity to belabor the obvious.

    Outside his area of expertise? You really are going to have to do some work on your specious argument facility. If Mr. Moe was writing about the UAW would you insist that he had to be an auto worker to have any expertise? Probably.

    I’m merely disappointed in your ability to come up with new insults. But congratulations on the imagry in your sentence. I really like the “turn the crank on the NEW sausage-grinder” comment.

    Make up your mind. Either you’re dissappointed or your congratulating.

    Oh, and that’s the “NEA” sausage-grinder.

    I could tell you tons of stories but of course your anti-teacher bias would not allow you to believe them.

    Of course you could.

    Now, would you group all the stories about the teacher-heros standing four-square against “practices harmful to children” together, saving the inevitable laments about insufficient pay and appreciation for the end of the story? Or would you intersperse the heroic tales with whining about how long it’s been since you’ve gotten a raise?

    I’d suggest the former but then I’m not trying to protect my cushy deal.

    Ahh, once again my superior intellect has reduced you to throwing insults 😉

    See if your superior intellect can find:

    A) the anti-NCLB grassroots movement and
    B) the states who are planning to refuse to come into compliance with the NCLB.

    Don’t think of it as a test, think of it as a chance to speak up against practices harmful to children. Something you do on, practically, a daily basis.

  31. Walter E. Wallis says:

    As long as we are discussing the savings and loan scandals, at least mention that if building depreciation schedules had not been drastically changed by congress, many of the non-performing loans would have still been profitable. Much of the criminal activity was by officers trying to avoid a total loss for their shareholders. It was all congress’s fault!

  32. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen,

    Try this link for the Anti-NCLB clothing:

    http://www.cafepress.com/edchange.11983331

    Let me know what size you wear and I’ll get you the golf shirt. If you have an official clothing line does that still count as being grassroots?

    Or you could try:

    http://www.fairtest.org/

    http://www.susanohanian.org

    The link on Joanne’s page to Education at the Brink

    http://www.nomoretests.com/ I love their links to “who’s really behind nclb”

    http://www.massrefusal.org/

    http://www.solreform.com/

    http://www.calcare.org/

    http://www.parentscare.org/ Check out their lists of national organizations opposing NCLB

    http://www.pipeline.com/~rgibson/meap.html

    http://www.geocities.com/nccds/index.html

    http://www.stophighstakestests.org/

    Ohio Education Association
    American Evaluation Association
    American Association for Higher Education (AAHE)
    Additional Organization and State Resolutions compiled by CalCARE — California Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education
    Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA)
    American Evaluation Association (AEA)
    Alliance for Childhood
    American Association of School Administrators
    American Association of University Women (WI)
    American Civil Liberties Union
    American Educational Research Association (AERA)
    American Society for Ethics in Education
    Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
    Association of Childhood Educator’s International (ACEI)
    American Psychological Association
    Applied Research Center
    Canadian Psychological Association and the Canadian School Psychologists
    Center for Collaborative Education
    Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
    Center for Law and Education
    Code of Fair Testing Practices in Education (by APA)
    Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute (CEPI)
    Consortium for Equity in Standards and Testing (CTEST)
    Foundation for Excellent Schools
    Harvard Civil Rights Project
    The International Dyslexia Association
    International Reading Association (IRA)
    Massachusetts Teachers Association
    Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
    National Academy Press (NAP)
    National Association for the Education of Young Children
    National Association of Elementary Principals
    National Association of Secondary School Principals
    National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy
    National Coalition of Educational Activists
    National Council of Social Studies
    National Council of La Rasa (NCLR)
    National Council of Teachers of English
    National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
    National Council of Measurements in Education
    National PTA
    National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grade Reform
    National Research Council
    NCR Board on Testing and Assessment
    National Women’s Law Center
    North Carolina School Psychology Association
    Ontario Secondary School Teachers Foundation
    President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans
    Rouge Forum
    Scarsdale, New York Board of Education Statement
    Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education
    Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
    Whole Language Umbrella
    Wrightslaw (Special Education Law and Advocacy for Children with Disabiliti

    Also, take note of all the education organizations that oppose NCLB and high stakes testing. But, what do 2 or 3 million educators know?

  33. Yawn.

    So you strike out on “A” but try to compensate by throwing out a whole list of organizations that either have a fairly obvious, vested interest in keeping public education from meeting any standards or the web sites of idealogues who would be genuinely horrified at the thought of holding public education to any sort of standards.

    You didn’t even bother to take a swipe at “B” because it would require some commitment before the whining about the NCLB ascends to the level of actually refusing to implement the law.

    I think it’s safe to assume that the states won’t forgo their federal financial transfusion just to make some idealogues happy. That means they will, probably gracelessly and with much complaining, comply with the NCLB to a great enough extent to keep the bucks flowing.

    Tell ya what, Mike. If you can find as many states that refuse to comply with the NCLB as have charter laws we’ll call it a grass-roots movement. Otherwise this mythical movement can be measured by the number of dollars George Soros is willing to spend to fund it ala the Million Moms March.

    Let me know what size you wear and I’ll get you the golf shirt. If you have an official clothing line does that still count as being grassroots?

    Thanks but I’ll pass and “nope”.

    But this is getting us rather far afield from the origination of this thread which is the shocking, yes, I say shocking notion that teacher’s unions can’t be expected to lead on school reform because their reason for existance is to make teacher’s lives more comfortable not to improve education.

    So far your responses have been A) attacking the man rather then the idea and B) changing the subject. Not real impressive but that may be, along with public apathy and inertia, the only tools you have to defend your sweet deal.

    But, what do 2 or 3 million educators know?

    When their mortgage payment is due.

  34. If teacher unions are so problematical, then we should see better educational achievements in non-union or “right to work” states and lower educational achievements in union states. Yet another beautiful theory slain by ugly facts. As it happens, the opposite is the case. See:

    http://www.wisconsinsfuture.org/publications/education/Unions.htm
    Are Teacher Unions Hurting American Education?

  35. midwesternyankee wrote:

    It’s a humdinger, no doubt. I particularly liked this scholarly insight:

    1. Scores in many national performance tests are improving, particularly in some regions of the country;

    But that pales in comparison to this weighty item:

    2. The primary variations in test scores occur between states, not over time;

    So, in order to improve test scores, the solution is to ship kids from low-performing states to high-performing states. That ought to make busing seem eminently sensible by comparison.

    But wait, there’s more!

    3.Teachers’ unions have increased productivity and quality in schools by helping to regulate working conditions;

    Yes, without a union to provide a firm, guiding hand, the schools quickly devolve into latter day approximations of Bedlam.

    4. The real determinants of lower student performance are primarily socioeconomic factors in children’s lives and educational resources

    Well of course! The unions are responsible for good things happening – see item 3 – but when bad things happen it’s socioeconomic factors – item 4. So obvious!

    I saw a study, years ago, that demonstrated a strong correlation between the eating of potatoes and election as the President of the United States. I believe the work was done by the Idaho Center for Potato Research and Education, an organization who’s scholarly credentials are beyond reproach.

Trackbacks

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    I am a classroom teacher in south-western California and have served the students and parents of my district for 13 years. Like most California public….

  2. Let’s Make a Deal!

    Because Dr. Moe is a professor, I’ll give him a grade: B+.
    He would get an A, but I’ve knocked the grade down to a B+ because his argument is unlikely to lead anywhere.