Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Teach union goes wild & Woody

Michael Goodwin with a spot-on piece on how far the unions have fallen from the days of Al Shanker, whom they revere but don't follow what he stood for:

Its bitter resistance to charter schools, and attacks on philanthropists who help fund them, is a defining moment in union history. The sorry state of affairs makes clear how far the organization has drifted from Shanker's vision of building a union that was powerful but also respected because it demanded excellence and results from its members.

Shanker, a Queens native who died in 1997, was a brilliant labor organizer devoted to quality public education. He proposed a national teachers exam to foster standards and sought ways to separate incompetent teachers. Alarmed by the declining quality of those joining the ranks in late 1970s and early '80s, he said the union should not offer membership to anyone who couldn't meet high standards.

Although he led the charge against vouchers, he vigorously supported school choice in the public system, saying in a 1985 speech that giving parents more options "would go a long way toward getting rid of the notion that people are captives." He warned that if teachers advocated only for themselves, without regard to students, it would be impossible to earn respect and fair compensation.

If Shanker were the "Sleeper" coming awake today, he couldn't be happy with how his union heirs have undercut that vision…


Teach union goes wild & Woody


Last Updated: 6:25 AM, May 30, 2010

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