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Let’s Kill The Teachers’ Unions

What matters is what works

Vox treats us to a proposal for significant reform of the american K12 education system. Sadly, it doesn’t include the one grand reform that would actually help – killing the teachers’ unions. It does ask all the right questions:

The pandemic is an extraordinary opportunity to reform US education

Yes, indeed it ism, let’s kill the teachers’ unions.

If there is one bright spot, nearly every sector of society has seized on the opportunity for systemic reform.

Quite so.

Every sector, that is, except for the educational system,

Indeed, so let’s kill the teachers’ unions.

As a front-line health care provider and parent who innovated during this pandemic by helping to open temporary hospitals for people experiencing homelessness, and as an educator and parent in the public school system where massive cuts are planned, we find this lack of creative thinking incredibly frustrating.

If we killed the unions we’d save enough that we’d not need to cut anything else. So, let’s kill the teachers’ unions.

As schools plan for reopening, it seems as though the door has nearly closed for changes to the educational system that would reduce the opportunity gap and promote individualized learning. But there is a small window of opportunity to take advantage of this pandemic and wedge in measures

Yep, there’s still time to kill the teachers’ unions.

Why is structural change in the education system necessary?

Because we want to kill the teachers’ unions.

Much of the US educational system is based on outdated institutional policies

Yep, them unions.

The landscape of students’ needs has changed over the past 50 years, but the educational system has not.

Unions. We have good evidence for this too. The one major thing that charter schools are free from is those unions and their associated bureaucracy. They perform rather well too.

Why haven’t schools embraced change in the pandemic?

Because we have not, as yet, killed the teachers’ unions.

We have no reason to believe that structural change — no matter how temporary or incremental — is impossible in the educational system.

Sure, we’ve proven we can kill the teachers’ unions – charter schools.

Any discussion of schools from the federal government has focused solely on “reopening safely.”

Quite so, when it should be “kill the teachers’ unions”.

The US Department of Education, again, has been largely silent on the issue and has yet to release any guidance on the topic.

The Feds should step up, you’re right, kill the teachers’ unions. Easy enough to do – not Federal money will go to a school system that recognises unions. There we are, done.

But the lack of progress cannot be blamed fully on the federal government; school district leaders have been largely absent on seizing on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to remake the system.

Yep, school boards should also kill the teachers’ unions.

during the pandemic, there have been virtually no district-level attempts to move toward even incremental change, let alone systematic change.

Agreed, entirely a wasted opportunity.

More commonly, school districts have simply assembled expert panels, held town hall meetings, and sent out virtual surveys to parents to determine the best approach forward within the established paradigm.

Too few are grasping the chance to kill the teachers’ unions.

We say these models were predictable because they are predicated on an outdated paradigm of learning that deserves to be reevaluated.

Quite, we need to change the system. Kill the teachers’ unions.

What happens to that opportunity gap if private schools, which are filled with affluent white children, are able to reopen for in-person learning while urban public schools, which are populated by majority Black and brown children, are not?

Absolutely. So, we need to kill the teachers’ unions that are preventing the public schools from repoening.

But it raises the question: Why hasn’t the educational system seized on this opportunity to enact permanent or even temporary changes?

Now that is a question that deserves an answer. Why haven’t the teachers’ unions been killed?

The incremental steps that can be taken now

Why be incremental? Ban the teachers’ unions now.

Remarkably, in all their pontificating about how to improve K12 they don’t once even mentions teachers’ unions. And anyone analysing the system without such noting really isn’t paying attention.

The solution is simply – kill the teachers’ unions.

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The Mole
The Mole
3 years ago

Why are you skirting round the issue, please give us your suggestion of what should be done. 😉

3 years ago

Yes! Teachers’ unions are not about good working conditions and good pay, as they have an NHS-style monopoly and their advocates on both sides of every negotiating table, but about maintaining their racket and using our kids as pawns. We have slightly better technology and absurdly small class sizes, but kids are still sat at a row of desks, filling out forms and obeying orders from authorities. The union bolsters the Democratic Party and undercuts our traditions of liberty.

3 years ago
Reply to  Spike

In my English state sector primary school in the 1970s we didn’t sit in rows, we sat in oblongs, six to a table. We were also taught things like grammar, maths, and basic money concepts.

Chester Draws
Chester Draws
3 years ago

The unions are a symptom, not a cause. Getting rid of them won’t change very much. Some US states have weak teacher unions. Those states are not correlated with the ones with the best teaching. They do have lower pay, but then that brings in worse teachers and lowers the quality of the teaching. Some of the countries in the world with the best teaching have incredibly strong teacher unions. Clearly it is possible to have unionised teachers who do a good job. Unions do raise pay. To that extent it works to make the job attractive to a better… Read more »

Jessica Thompson
Jessica Thompson
3 years ago

I have, as well, some strong and valid reasons, from working in many public schools and before that the private sector in the U.S., why teacher’s unions are killing education. My question is, why is a British publication writing about a U.S. problem? Does your publication have influence over policy? Generally, I put in my due diligence and would research your publication, but as I have limited time, I would like to know more before I write my views. I truly believe in the validity of your article and hope to continue this discussion.

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