Powerful teacher unions make good schools

From a column by Washington Post writer Matt Miller, “Romney vs. teachers unions:  The inconvenient truth”:

That reality is this: The top performing school systems in the world have strong teachers unions at the heart of their education establishment. This fact is rarely discussed (or even noted) in reform circles. Yet anyone who’s intellectually honest and cares about improving our schools has to acknowledge it. The United States is an outlier in having such deeply adversarial, dysfunctional labor-management relations in schooling.

Why is this?

My hypothesis runs as follows: The chief educational strategy of top-performing nations such as Finland, Singapore and South Korea is to recruit talent from the top third of the academic cohort into the teaching profession and to train them in selective, prestigious institutions to succeed on the job. In the United States, by contrast, we recruit teachers mostly from the middle and (especially for poor schools) bottom third and train them mostly in open-enrollment institutions that by all accounts do shoddy work.

As a result, American reformers and superintendents have developed a fetish for evaluating teachers and dismissing poor performers, because there are, in fact, too many. Unions dig in to protect their members because . . . that’s what unions do.

When you talk to senior officials in Finland, Singapore and South Korea, it’s as if they’re on another planet. The question of how they deal with low-performing teachers is basically a non-issue, because they just don’t have many of them. Why would they when their whole system is set up to recruit, train and retain outstanding talent for the profession? [emphasis added here]

Whose approach sounds more effective to you?

Miller suggests, among other things, raising starting pay for teachers — $65,000 to $150,000 — and greatly boosting the rigor of training for teachers.

Any such hopes for effective reform could not occur under the “austerity budgets” proposed in Utah, Wisconsin, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and the U.S. Congress.


3 Responses to Powerful teacher unions make good schools

  1. JamesK says:

    Projecting, why do you want to screw over average workers so much?


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Your handle is apt, YouAreProjecting. Sadly.

    Look at the facts: Every nation that has an education system that performs better than the U.S.’s, especially with regard to student achievement, has a powerful union. Every one. No exceptions.

    What part of evidence and/or rhetoric did you sleep through to miss that?


  3. Youareprojecting says:

    Narcissistic self delusions; wishful thinking

    This is just the usual Irresponsible doging of reality we get out of Liberals, particularly those in the “education establishment”

    The Teacher unions have got us into this mess. Not many Low performing teachers? Hogwash.

    Just look at the crisis, the test score. Teachers are responsible for this. We have some of the worst teachers in the Developed world.

    Public education is little more than a patronage system for the Democrat Party, and a means to indoctrinate the young in the ways of collectivism.

    Shame on you.


Please play nice in the Bathtub -- splash no soap in anyone's eyes. While your e-mail will not show with comments, note that it is our policy not to allow false e-mail addresses. Comments with non-working e-mail addresses may be deleted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: