Friday, September 17, 2010

Teachers Break Union Ranks

A GREAT article in today's WSJ by Barbara Martinez about an exciting new teacher organization, Educators 4 Excellence (with a nice mention of Jonathan Bing):

As a teacher, Sydney Morris wants to be rewarded if she can show she helps students make progress in her classroom. She also wants to make job protections such as tenure more difficult to get, and in the event that layoffs have to happen she wants the worst teachers to be let go first, no matter how long they've been teaching.

Those are radically different positions than those espoused by the union that represents her, the United Federation of Teachers.

Ms. Morris is not alone. In March, the Bronx teacher and a colleague, Evan Stone, started a group called Educators 4 Excellence, which has since signed up 700 teachers. While that's a pittance compared with the nearly 80,000 teachers under the UFT, her nascent movement may represent the seeds of a growing population of teachers who are breaking ranks with the traditional tenets of unionism.

This school year, Ms. Morris and Mr. Stone took a break from teaching and are instead working on building up their organization, including identifying "school captains" at the city's schools—much like the UFT has a "chapter leader" at every public school. They also continue to work part-time at their Bronx school developing curriculum and mentoring novice teachers.

Ms. Morris stresses that her group is "not anti-union, nor are we an alternative" to the UFT. Instead, the group is made up of "educators committed to amplifying authentic teacher voices that are not yet being heard in order to improve the education system to benefit our students."


Teachers Break Union Ranks


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