Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Who matters most, teachers or students?

This is a sad story, no matter how you look at it.  The school was a perennial failure.  Something had to be done.  I am greatly impressed that the school board and superintendent had the determination to do something.  I'm not positive that this was the right answer.  But it shows that the top priority is the children, and not the teachers or their union.

I certainly feel for the teachers who are being laid off.  Up to half of them might be re-hired, if their unions will allow them to go back to work.

I understand the necessity of unions to negotiate on behalf of workers.  But this becomes less and less relevant as we deal with more and more professional workers.

The teachers have to accept some of the blame for the school's performance.  Insisting on $90/hour for the additional work it would take to get back on track is not how one should behave when accepting responsibility.

I fear this story is not over.  And I fear that it will be repeated.  Lawsuits and counter-lawsuits.  The union may well boycott the school or district.  But this is clearly a watershed moment for the teachers' union.  They need to think very clearly about their next steps.  They don't really want to see non-union teachers take over the school and improve performance.  That would be the worst possible outcome for the union.  But I wouldn't be surprised at all to see exactly that outcome.

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