Unions fear lost membership more than lost teacher tenure, writes Doug Tuthill, a former teachers’ union president who now runs Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship program, on redefinED.
. . . when I was a union president, I knew that battles over tenure were great for business. That’s because teacher unions are in the business of selling protection, and anything that causes teachers to experience more job-related fear or insecurity increases union membership. I could never say so publicly, but the elimination of tenure would mean the union contract would be the only protection teachers had. That’s amounts to a full employment act for unions.
I had a similar attitude toward merit pay. Many teachers genuinely don’t think it’s possible to create a one-size-fits-all merit pay plan that is fair. Consequently merit pay proposals create fear and insecurity and also increase union membership.
Teacher unions fear vouchers, charters and virtual schools, because teachers aren’t likely to be unionized, he writes. Trying to organize teachers in a bunch of small, independent schools wouldn’t be worth the cost.
Therefore FEA (Florida Education Association) sees spending money to prevent teachers and parents from creating learning options outside the control of school boards and teachers unions as the smarter business move.
“With state legislatures pushing tenure and merit pay proposals this spring, teacher unions will be flush with cash over the next few years and highly resistant to change, Tuthill concludes.