On Education Sector, Andrew Rotherham advises teachers’ unions to rethink knee-jerk obstructionism:
A Wisconsin court rejected a high-profile lawsuit by the state’s largest teachers’ union last month seeking to close a public charter school that offers all its courses online on the ground that it violated state law by depending on parents rather than on certified teachers to educate children. The case is part of a national trend that goes well beyond virtual schooling: teachers’ unions are turning to the courts to fight virtually any deviation from uniformity in public schools. Unfortunately, this stance not only hinders efforts to provide more customized schooling for needy students, it is also relegating teachers to the sidelines of the national debate about expanding choice in public education.
The unions’ power depends on public support for public schools, he points out. That means being responsive to parents’ needs.
Update: The San Diego Union-Trib rips the United Teachers of Los Angeles for opposing Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s education ideas.
This week, the UTLA plan – billed as a “radical rethinking of public education” – was unveiled. Instead of calling for more teacher accountability, it called for higher teacher pay and for giving teachers much more institutional power. Instead of supporting efforts to make sure student progress is measured, it essentially called for an end to No Child Left Behind-style monitoring of school performance. Instead of acknowledging that vast increases in spending in recent decades have yielded no improvement in student performance, the UTLA urged new state taxes to pay for education and far higher federal funding.
This is no “radical rethinking of public education.” It is a power-trip fantasy rooted in a denial of reality.
The Union-Trib is very hostile to teachers’ unions these days.
Update II: The LA Times lambastes the teachers’ union too.