Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Role for Teachers Is Seen in Solving Schools’ Crises

Joe Williams with a great quote in this NYT article about the labor-management summit Sec. Duncan hosted last week in Denver (that the UFT's Mike Mulgrew boycotted in a snit over Bloomberg and Black pushing for an end to last-in-first-out):

"Teachers' unions have been blocking education reform, and my bill will deal with the problem," Ms. Maggart said.

But Sharon Vandagriff, president of the teachers' union in Hamilton County, Tenn., who came to Denver for the conference, said her union had worked for years with school authorities to overhaul struggling schools in Chattanooga. Across Tennessee, unions made concessions that paved the way last year for the state to win $500 million in federal Race to the Top money, she said, adding that Ms. Maggart's bill has demoralized many teachers.

"It feels like an attack," she said.

Some Democrats, too, are adopting a tougher stance toward teachers' unions.

"We think they have a right to exist and a role to play in education reform," said Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, an advocacy group that pushes for charter schools. "But we wish management would be more aggressive. When management tries to appease, we end up with contracts that aren't good for public education."

Charles Taylor Kerchner, a professor of education at Claremont Graduate University who studies labor union history, said, "This is the harshest time for teachers' unions that I've seen since the advent of legislatively sanctioned collective bargaining half a century ago."


Role for Teachers Is Seen in Solving Schools' Crises



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