Teacher’s Unions – Times Are Changing

Just after I followed-the-money and convinced myself once again that teacher’s unions were impenetrable even to simultaneous attacks from the progressive left and from the political right, cracks in their lines have appeared. Articles on Google this week indicate the unions are fighting on multiple fronts in the United States and in Mexico and as far away as Australia.   Republicans have little to fear or lose in these attacks as they receive zero percent of the union political donations.  The Democrats on the other hand have much to lose as they receive 100 percent of the union donations and a majority of the teacher votes. Even President Obama, to his credit, has come down on the side of real reform.  Many on the progressive left, have long recognized the need for meaningful educational reform and have worked for it.

Los Angeles, CA

My original link on this story identified this morning with a trojan bug so I shall not include it. It was a blog from a teachers organization in LA and it is clear many teachers and their union are unhappy with the LA School District Superintendent, Dr. John Deasy.  It seems he is firing bad teachers.  The blog rants on and on how “corporate” interests have co-opted President Obama, his administration, and many Democrats.  In place of the defective link I have included another recent one that gives you insight to what is happening with education reform in Los Angeles. It is not that long and it is a great read.

http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_23023855/lausd-chief-john-deasy-draws-fire-he-pursues

John Deasy recently said at a speech at Loyola Marymount University referring to his mandate from the board of education,

“I agreed to take this job and lead a transformation of the Los Angeles  to his Unified public schools,” Deasy told the group of education leaders. “And I kept a very simple contract with the Board of Education: The day that four of you are unhappy, drop me a note and this is over.

“In the meantime, I am going to move very quickly to honor youth rights so that every single one can graduate, college- or career-ready. Not some. Not most.

John Deasy will mark his second anniversary as LAUSD superintendent on Monday, April 15, 2013. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

But everyone.”

Dr. Deasy, Superintendent of the nations second largest school district, is indeed making omelettes.

Lawrence, MA

The city of Lawrence lost control of their public school system due to chronic poor performance.  Massachusetts placed the schools in receivership in 2012 and and the new person in charge plans to implement changes beginning in the next school year.  Receiver Jeffery Riley intends to implement a performance-based salary structure and a longer school day.  The union is appealing these plans claiming it goes beyond the receiver’s authority.

http://tinyurl.com/bef3rtc

Louisiana Lessons for Legislators

This article draws an interesting comparison between the current legislators in Louisiana and their position with popular teachers and their powerful unions and Margret Thatcher’s position versus the popular coal miners union in the 1980’s in England. Margret Thatcher recognized the miners and unions were doing great harm to the economy of the country and politically courageous action was needed for England to get back on a prosperous path. Like Thatcher, the Louisiana legislators recognized the need for reform and had taken action and now need the political courage to stay the course. This is a good read and it frames the issue for many politicians in the country.

http://thehayride.com/2013/04/kane-lessons-for-legislators-from-margaret-thatcher/

Mexico

Mexican kids test last among the industrialized nations.  They have no place to go but up and that is precisely what the new government want to happen.  Their proposed reforms are drawing huge opposition from their teacher’s union and teachers. The linked article briefly discusses the problem. It amazes me that the government of Mexico has not only the courage to recognize the need for major reform but also the courage to actually pass reform laws. Let’s hope they can stay the course in the face of significant opposition.

http://tinyurl.com/bfh7p8s

Australia

This appears to be a case of where the teacher’s union made negotiated concessions with the state of Victoria’s government but then did not have the courage to accurately characterize the agreements to the public and to their members. Now the teachers are furious.  Another interesting read.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/22/deal-a22.html

The articles above represent, in my view, examples of the coming struggles of an awakening public and their representative governments that public education is broken and reform is desperately needed.  Now resolve and courage is needed to continue the effort.  My guess is that successful education reform is one area that President Obama wants very much to place in his legacy.  This issue should be relatively easy to fashion bi-partisan support.

English: St. Vincent's College (now Loyola Mar...

English: St. Vincent’s College (now Loyola Marymount University) in 1905; 2nd location. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library’s Photo Collectionhttp://catalog1.lapl.org/. Category:Images of Los Angeles (Photo credit: Wikipedidiscusses the problem

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