Is it possible that an organization created to help and advance the noble profession of teaching is actually creating bad teachers? Some would say that the teacher’s union is set up to allow bad and incompetent teachers who may have seniority to remain in the system. The time, effort, and money necessary to fire a bad teacher is so great, that most school officials rarely attempt to get rid of them. So what about the children? What about placing the priority on protecting the best and brightest teachers who will provide the best possible education for kids, rather than protecting unqualified, substandard, and inferior educators.
Teacher’s Union Responsible for Every Problem in the Public Schools
Yes, there are some big problems in many public school systems across the country, but the teacher’s unions are not responsible for all of them. However, there are some big problems that the unions have created. For years, teacher’s unions have fought for protections in teacher contracts and in state laws that allow bad teachers to remain in the system. It is practically impossible to go through the process of firing a bad teacher and getting them out of the profession. In order to get a bad or incompetent teacher out, costs could exceed $200,000, it may take up to 15% of a principal’s available time, and the whole process could go on for more than two years. Because of these contractual obstacles created by the unions, which were initially put there to protect good teachers, most principals don’t even try to get rid of bad teachers.
Teacher’s Union Seniority Rules Need to be Changed
Teacher seniority requirements created by the unions, initially put in place to protect good teachers, allow the bad teachers to stay on at a school simply because they have been there the longest. Younger, junior teachers who may indeed be better educators are laid off first when a school district starts cutting costs. Potentially good teachers go, and bad teachers are allowed to remain. It would seem that the Teacher’s Union mantra of putting what’s best for the students first is rather specious.
Bad Teachers Equal Substandard Students
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out. If incompetent, bad teachers are allowed to continue teaching their students, then the type of education our kids receive will be bad. “Our nation has been trying to reform the schools since the early 1980’s, and the whole time the teacher’s unions have used their political power to block it,” says Terry Moe, a professor of political science at Stanford and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. When it comes to the education of our precious children there is nothing more valuable than a great teacher, and nothing more damaging than a bad one.
Larry Sand, a longtime teacher in the Los Angeles and New York school systems and president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network, in an interview with NewsWeek said this about incompetent teachers; “…it’s those, the mediocre and incompetent ones that the unions typically represent. Unions insist that school districts not pay good teachers what they’re worth.” President Obama says unions can be part of the solution to problem schools if they will stop resisting change and quit defending the status quo in which a third of all students are drop-outs. Perhaps it’s time to take a closer look to determine if teacher’s unions are helping or hurting our schools.
NewsWeek.com; “Debate: Are Teacher’s Unions the Problem-or the Answer?”
Yahoo!News; Obama: “Teacher unions can help boost schools”