Saturday, September 1, 2012

Good Teachers versus Teachers' Unions

We must always differentiate between the interests of good teachers and teachers' unions. In the main, their interests aren't compatible.

Unions thrive on dues. Dues come from teachers. That's how unions survive and how union leaders are paid.

Good teachers want to keep as much MOM as possible. That means they would prefer, all other things being equal, to keep and spend MOM as they choose. Often that MOM choice wouldn't include paying union dues.

Accordingly, union leaders, supported by many so-called "public servants" in government, either coerce or otherwise convince teachers to pay union dues. Otherwise there's no union.

Democrats thrive on union support. That brings us back to union dues and coercion.

Subverting the Unions reviews the soon to be released movie "Won't Back Down."  My guess is teachers will like it while union leaders will hate it, as most Democratic Party leaders will as well.

The review says the following:

"The movie "Won't Back Down," which chronicles the challenges a teacher and mother face in their campaign to take over a failing public school in Pennsylvania, may be fictional, but it feels true to life. And a little too true for the unions to countenance.

The film was screened in Tampa this week at the Republican National Convention in advance of its Sept. 24 premier and will also be shown next week at the Democratic convention in Charlotte. Regardless, the unions are denouncing the film as right-wing, anti-union propaganda. Their outrage, however, merely underscores one of the film's themes: that teachers unions are entrenched and reactionary creatures—hostile to anything that threatens their hegemony, including teachers themselves.

"Won't Back Down" is based loosely on California's parent trigger law, which allows a majority of parents to take over a low-performing school by signing a petition. The trigger law in the film, however, is more union-friendly since it also requires a majority of teachers to back the takeover. That's a tall order, as the film shows.

One union leader tries to coax the mother into dropping her campaign by offering to help get her dyslexic daughter a scholarship to a prestigious private school. When that doesn't work, the union slanders the teacher organizing the drive and warns the rank-and-file that they could all lose their jobs under new school leadership. The labor bosses justify the skullduggery in the name of "protecting teachers" against a national assault on unions. Plus, they say it's not fair to blame unions for bad schools since many of the students are poor.

Which is basically the union' response to the film. On the Washington Post's education blog, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, writes that the movie is "divisive and demoralizes millions of great teachers" at a time when "more and more children are falling into poverty" and "teachers are being demonized, marginalized and shamed by politicians and elites."

What may sting more than the film's critical portrayal of unions is its courageous depiction of teachers. "Won't Back Down" demonstrates how teachers can independently organize and drive changes at their schools. They don't need to seek their unions' support. And that's how the film really subverts the unions."

Summing Up

We the People need to encourage the teachers to begin an entirely voluntary new movement in each local school.

Such a grass roots "union" would skip all political activity and work exclusively to bring about better schools. Its "members" would not pay union dues. They could consider naming it "We the Teachers."

If that were to happen, our teachers, parents, students, communities and nation would all be the better for it.

The unions as they currently exist would simply disappear. Their former leaders would then have to seek and find other work of a non-destructive nature.

Thanks. Bob.

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