Tag Archives: Voucher

NEA General Counsel explains the real goals of teacher unions: MONEY and POWER

Story here at the Heritage Foundation.

NEA General Counsel Bob Chanin tells the world the top priority of the largest teacher union in the USA.

Are they concerned with providing a quality education for our children?

Here is the video:

And the transcript:

Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas; it is not because of the merit of our positions; 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.

The 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 million of dollars in dues each year because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them; the union 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 drop rate 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, or collective bargaining.

That is simply too high a price to pay.

The Heritage Foundation notes that union dues are not voluntarily in many parts of the USA.

First of all, there is little that is voluntary about the millions in dues paid to the NEA every year. The NEA is strongest in states without right to work laws, and if you want to teach in a public school that is under an NEA contract in those jurisdictions (like California and New York), you must pay dues to the NEA. It is the law. There is nothing voluntary about it. Second, that is tax payer money he’s talking about, which is exactly what is so corrupting about public sector unions: the government is lobbying itself for its own expansion.

And what happens when you value the rights of incompetent teachers ahead of the rights of parents and children?

And what are “employee rights” and “due process,” you might ask? Well, those are what require New York City to pay 700 union teachers $65 million a year to do nothing. Same thing in Los Angeles, where 165 union teachers collect a total of $10 million a year from tax payers for doing nothing.

It is very important to note that he gets a standing ovation from the teachers present at the convention. These are the people who teach your children. Or rather, these are the people who want to indoctrinate your children to accept their values, and to be paid by you for doing it.

ECM also sent me this article from Betsy’s Page via Granite Grok.

Excerpt:

Sometime last year, while negotiating a teacher contract for the KIPP Ujima Village charter middle school in Baltimore, founder Jason Botel pointed out that his students, mostly from low-income families, had earned the city’s highest public school test scores three years in a row. If the union insisted on increasing overtime pay, he said, the school could not afford the extra instruction time that was a key to its success, and student achievement would suffer.

Botel says a union official replied: “That’s not our problem.”

Such stories heat the blood of union critics. It is, they contend, a sign of how unions dumb down public education by focusing on salaries, not learning.

They don’t care about your children’s education or career.

Economist Walter Williams evaluates whether teachers are earning their huge salaries

I wanted to review a previous post before I go on to discuss some news regarding teacher’s unions and whether they contribute to improving the academic performance of their customers (students).

Here is my recent post about Walter Williams, on the education system.

I want to highlight this part where Williams explains how the schools that charge taxpayers the most money achieve the worst academic results for their customers (students):

The teaching establishment and politicians have hoodwinked taxpayers into believing that more money is needed to improve education. The Washington, D.C., school budget is about the nation’s costliest, spending about $15,000 per pupil. Its student/teacher ratio, at 15.2 to 1, is lower than the nation’s average. Yet student achievement is just about the lowest in the nation.

In that same post, I linked to an L.A. Times article about a charter school that produces amazingly high academic output for a tiny fraction of the cost, and with some very poor students who are from first-generation immigrant families that can barely speak English.

Here is the secret of this high-performing school:

That, it turns out, is just the beginning of the ways in which American Indian Public Charter and its two sibling schools spit in the eye of mainstream education. These small, no-frills, independent public schools in the hardscrabble flats of Oakland sometimes seem like creations of television’s “Colbert Report.” They mock liberal orthodoxy with such zeal that it can seem like a parody.

…School administrators take pride in their record of frequently firing teachers they consider to be underperforming. Unions are embraced with the same warmth accorded “self-esteem experts, panhandlers, drug dealers and those snapping turtles who refuse to put forth their best effort,” to quote the school’s website.

Read the whole post for the whole amazing story.

Below, Ed Morrissey explains why public schools suck up so much taxpayer money, while providing horrible results.

Do teacher unions help students to learn?

This is a MUST-READ story from Ed Morrissey, writing at Hot Air. (H/T Ace of Spades)

In a free market capitalist system, teachers, like other grown-ups, are paid based on their performance. Parents should have a choice of schools, and they should be able to pull their children out of any school that doesn’t produce a quality education for their customers, the children. But what happens when the government, to please their union supporters, decouples teacher pay from educational outcomes?

Yahoo News reports:

Hundreds of New York City public school teachers accused of offenses ranging from insubordination to sexual misconduct are being paid their full salaries to sit around all day playing Scrabble, surfing the Internet or just staring at the wall, if that’s what they want to do.

Because their union contract makes it extremely difficult to fire them, the teachers have been banished by the school system to its “rubber rooms” — off-campus office space where they wait months, even years, for their disciplinary hearings.

The 700 or so teachers can practice yoga, work on their novels, paint portraits of their colleagues — pretty much anything but school work. They have summer vacation just like their classroom colleagues and enjoy weekends and holidays through the school year.

…“You just basically sit there for eight hours,” said Orlando Ramos, who spent seven months in a rubber room, officially known as a temporary reassignment center, in 2004-05. “I saw several near-fights. `This is my seat.’ `I’ve been sitting here for six months.’ That sort of thing.”

Unbelievable. These unions got Obama elected and they are no different than the auto union workers who expect something for nothing. Who cares about whether children learn anything? So long as Democrat supporters get their taxpayer money, why should they have to produce any results?

Ed Morrissey continues:

If ever one wanted an argument against Card Check, this would be it.  Imagine if you will an entire private sector with “rubber rooms” filled with employees left dangling in limbo because their union contracts made them “extremely difficult to fire.”  There are enough teachers in these rooms in NYC to fill several schools, and yet the taxpayers are shelling out money to have them sit in rooms, play Scrabble, and act like children.

The Big Apple isn’t alone in this process, either.  Los Angeles has almost 200 teachers in rubber rooms at the moment.  Apparently, neither system has the competence nor the inclination to process wrongful conduct or poor-performance hearings with any speed, which is not just unfair to the taxpayers, but also unfair to those teachers wrongfully accused of either or both.

If this was the private sector, it would at least get handled expeditiously, as no business can afford to have hundreds of people sitting around and producing nothing.  Perhaps as well as a cautionary tale about Card Check and the expansion of unions, it also serves as warning to those who want to replace the private sector in health care and energy production with public employees instead.

This is why I am a small-government capitalist. I want Democrat-supporting unions abolished. Let them earn their salaries like everyone else who works in the free market economy. Consumers deserve performance in exchange for their hard-earned money. And if consumers don’t get value, we should demand refunds so that we can take our money to a competitor.

To understand why school choice matters, take look at this video posted over at the Heritage Foundation, featuring 14-year old Johnathan Krohn. Notice how he is the only one of the panel of 3 kids who isn’t reciting memorized facts but is actually make a cause-and-effect economics argument.

Walter Williams evaluates American academic performance

The article is here in Townhall.com. The left is always complaining that they need more money to raise test scores, and that schools are underfunded. But is more money the answer?

Excerpt:

The teaching establishment and politicians have hoodwinked taxpayers into believing that more money is needed to improve education. The Washington, D.C., school budget is about the nation’s costliest, spending about $15,000 per pupil. Its student/teacher ratio, at 15.2 to 1, is lower than the nation’s average. Yet student achievement is just about the lowest in the nation. What’s so callous about the Washington situation is about 1,700 children in kindergarten through 12th grade receive the $7,500 annual scholarships in order to escape rotten D.C. public schools, and four times as many apply for the scholarships, yet Congress, beholden to the education establishment, will end funding the school voucher program.

Teacher’s unions are not interested in being paid to perform, they want to be paid regardless of whether they perform. That is why they oppose voucher programs, which give parents a choice. If parents can choose, then schools that insist on retaining teachers who can’t teach will finally come under pressure to fire those teachers and find some better ones. More money thrown into the fire is not the answer.

Williams continues:

Any long-term solution to our education problems requires the decentralization that can come from competition. Centralization has been massive. In 1930, there were 119,000 school districts across the U.S; today, there are less than 15,000. Control has moved from local communities to the school district, to the state, and to the federal government. Public education has become a highly centralized government-backed monopoly and we shouldn’t be surprised by the results. It’s a no-brainer that the areas of our lives with the greatest innovation, tailoring of services to individual wants and falling prices are the areas where there is ruthless competition such as computers, food, telephone and clothing industries, and delivery companies such as UPS, Federal Express and electronic bill payments that have begun to undermine the postal monopoly in first-class mail.

Here is an article from the extremely left-wing Los Angeles Times that explains what it takes for a school to succeed. A school needs stay away from unions and educational bureaucrats, and stick with the basics: math, reading, writing and discipline. Let’s take a look at an Oakland school that serves the poorest, underprivileged minorities, but still manages to deliver the goods.

What kind of teachers teach in the American Indian Public Charter schools?

We are looking for hard working people who believe in free market capitalism. . . . Multicultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply.”

Good start. But are they “progressive”?

That, it turns out, is just the beginning of the ways in which American Indian Public Charter and its two sibling schools spit in the eye of mainstream education. These small, no-frills, independent public schools in the hardscrabble flats of Oakland sometimes seem like creations of television’s “Colbert Report.” They mock liberal orthodoxy with such zeal that it can seem like a parody.

Well, surely they must embrace teacher’s unions?

School administrators take pride in their record of frequently firing teachers they consider to be underperforming. Unions are embraced with the same warmth accorded “self-esteem experts, panhandlers, drug dealers and those snapping turtles who refuse to put forth their best effort,” to quote the school’s website.

But what about the need for compassion, tolerance and empathy?

Conservatives, including columnist George Will, adore the American Indian schools, which they see as models of a “new paternalism” that could close the gap between the haves and have-nots in American education. Not surprisingly, many Bay Area liberals have a hard time embracing an educational philosophy that proudly proclaims that it “does not preach or subscribe to the demagoguery of tolerance.”

The LA Times article shows that conservative, anti-union schools work for the poorest children. But there are challenges that are blocking the expansion of charter schools, such as “hostile state legislatures and arbitrary caps”, according to the Heritage Foundation.

Their article cites Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) as follows:

These caps are often the consequence of legislative trade-off – representing political deal-making designed to appease special interests who prefer the status quo rather than reasoned education policy. As a result of the caps, children across the country now languish on daunting wait lists, just waiting to enroll in the public school of their choice, simply because it happens to operate as a charter. An estimated 365,000 students are on charter school wait lists today. That’s enough students to fully enroll 1,100 new averaged-size charter schools.

As I discussed before, there are almost no males involved in education in the classroom, which means that the classrooms will emphasize compassion, tolerance, equal outcomes, non-judgmentalism and self-esteem. Competition and excellence are definitely out. In order for Americans to continue to have the same level of prosperity, we need to focus on academic excellence, not secular-leftist indoctrination.