Sunday, November 22, 2009

Special Interest groups and education

The Chicago Tribune has the story of a state legislator who has run afoul the teachers union as he has tried to improve education. The Trib embeds a video from a retirement speech of the head of the NEA that gives the priorities of the NEA.
It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.

And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.

This is not to say that the concern of NEA and its affiliates with closing achievement gaps, reducing dropout rates, improving teacher quality and the like are unimportant or inappropriate. To the contrary. These are the goals that guide the work we do. But they need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights and collective bargaining. That simply is too high a price to pay.
If the choice is between protecting the jobs of its members or educating students, which will they choose?

What exactly is the justification of public-sector unionism?

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