There are two words why education unions are necessary today: Michelle Rhee. Rhee was in Philadelphia Monday night receiving somewhere between $35 and $50K for telling everyone in attendance that we need vouchers and school choice to fix education.
Not bad for a failed teacher who taped her students mouth’s shut with masking tape, an offense any unionized teacher would be immediately dismissed for. Yet she dismissed teachers who as it turned out did not cheat on standardized tests. Those who did cheat would in a Rhee world become recipients of enhanced paychecks. This is why we need unions: to fight the corporate agenda.
Years ago it was the factory model of education which harmed education by desiring large class sizes and return on investment. Students are children. Who uses that return on investment strategy with children? If it doesn’t work at home it won’t work at school.
Unions must fight today’s corporate agenda and have greater success than they did when opposing factory schools. Today it’s not about teacher rights; it’s about what works in education. Teachers have a right to work in a safe, supportive environment; the same ones children thrive in.
It’s time that people who fail famously, like Michelle Rhee in Washington D.C., Arlene Ackerman in Philadelphia, and Arne Duncan in Chicago, stop receiving promotions. Unions can point to the truth, their methods did not work. If we go back to what we know is true, that all children do not grow socially, emotionally, physically, or intellectually at the same pace, that some children need extra help, then we can move education forward. Doing so is in the union’s best interest. It would however put Rhee and those like her in the unemployment line.