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.