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War on Children

This week is the Republican National Convention. Most of my friends know I am very interested in politics, not as a partisan, but as an observer (and sometimes heckler). So, this week I want to show some of the opinions I heard from people I know who will be voting for Mitt Romney, Jason Chaffetz and Orrin Hatch.

Most people in Utah hate the NEA. The hatred is so deep, teachers here who are members of the union are mistreated by parents who think the union is dictating the local curriculum. Now, I do think the unions have way too much power and protect useless teachers. As a substitute, I am not represented by the union and am seen as little better then as a scab. I have met and subbed for great teachers and am close friends with a number of very good teachers and they dislike the union, but are in the union because they know if they don’t join their jobs are in jeopardy. They also know the local members have little to no impact on the national union.

Many teachers and parents have said in my hearing that the teachers unions do not have student’s interests in mind. I agree, because unions only represent their members. Children don’t pay dues. This is not a bad thing over all, but when some of the teachers I have subbed for are giant failures and when parents show up and thank me for doing what the teacher does not do–teach the subjects and help their students find success–I become very concerned. I don’t agree that the unions are waging war on children, but they are not interested in supporting the needs of children because children’s needs are not teacher’s needs. This at worst manifests as violent indifference.

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4 thoughts on “War on Children

  1. I tend toward the liberal, I admit, but I think you’re on to something there. There is an inherent conflict of interest between teachers’ unions and kids. I do believe unions have a purpose in protecting employees (in this case, teachers) from unfair treatment by management but it bugs me when they turn that on its head and create unfair treatment *of* management (in this case, school administration) by preventing the ability to produce the best possible product (in this case, well-educated children). Do I believe that unfair treatment by management occurs? Absolutely. But is it enough to justify sentencing children to bad education by bad teachers? In my opinion, no.

    • I agree. Last year, I had two long term subbing assignments: one with an administration that built a great team of teacher committed to education, discipline and a happy work atmosphere and the the other where the staff-politics were toxic to the point where the students suffered. A good administration is fantastic, but in this case some of the union teachers did not like the proactive administration trying to build a cohesive team and worked hard to obstruct the group as a whole, and the school with the bad atmosphere, the union did nothing to improve the teachers situation. This is counter-intuitive when looking from a student first perspective and I think this is where some criticism is valid. I, however, do not think the negative school is the norm, but it is visible.

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