Unions help kids. Period! Though we argue against using test scores as a sole means of rating educational outcomes, the one place academic test scores have been consistent is in demonstrating states with unions outscore states without unions.
Unions understand teachers; after all they are made up of teachers. Most teachers recognize the earlier the grade, the more important it is, and the harder the teacher has to work. Anyone who has ever painted or built something knows preparation is 80% of the job. Likewise a student spends 80% of their time in in the younger grades: K-8, these are the foundations upon which success is built. Unions know these are the teachers who deserve more pay because of the longer amounts of time they spend preparing for class. Education reformers don’t get this and want to pay high school science and math teachers more.
Unions know that if you want good lessons but reformers in Philadelphia try at every negotiation, to eliminate prep time.
Painters and builders know the quality of the product used affects the final outcome, yet reformers expect all children to perform the same regardless of natural ability, home environment, and neighborhood characteristics.
Unions know kid learn more in smaller classes. Think about how often you can ride the roller coaster at Disneyland when crowds are small compared to the wait times when crowds are large. Smaller class size is a no brainer, yet reformers argue against small class size stressing return on investment (ROI).
Unions know that what improves a class room for teachers improves the learning environment for students. Smart businesses like Toyota rely on employees for improvements in manufacturing processes, by reformers like in Philadelphia want teachers to be drones following instruction from someone listening into their classroom and telling the teacher what to do via an earpiece.
Unions know kids need a calm learning environment. Yet reformers in Philadelphia have ignored published research pieces noting the negative effect of violence on teaching/learning for 16 years.
Union members need to step up and help their unions represent children in these tumultuous times. Unorganized teachers need to organize. If you have no rights, no respect, if you’re demonized in public as the problem in education, then no matter how hard you work, you are swimming against the tide. Get unionized and get a little push behind you.