Sunday, August 08, 2010

The Teacher's Union Continue to Whine

Karen Aronowitz is president of a local teachers union. You will be shocked to learn that she finds teachers unions to improve schools. Usually, people like Karen do not bother to defend their existence, so this deserves a look, eh?

It is with dismay that I listen to the relentless attacks against public school teachers and their unions. Let's set the record straight.

Only one side is guilty of relentless attacks. Let us, at long last, hear the voice of the teachers and their unions, whose influence heretofore has been unseen.

Teachers' unions lead the way in educational reform initiatives, fighting for our teachers to have the resources, materials and support necessary to deliver high quality instruction to America's students.

Okay, but they suck at it. If the goal of teachers' unions is to provide teachers with the resources to deliver high quality instruction, then they have failed.

Also, if they want to lead the way, they should do something about hanging apostrophes. They make sentences appear as though written in a southern dialect. No more hanging apostrophes on my blog.

I am proud of the work United Teachers of Dade has done to mobilize the public to vote for and support Florida's Class Size Amendment.

Who cares? Your pride means nothing to taxpayers.

Charter and private schools brag about their small class sizes because of the individualized attention their students receive. We are forced to fight for appropriate class sizes for the students in our public schools.

So, you are fighting for that which others have already achieved at a lower cost per pupil. Please explain why this is a source of pride.

I am proud of our members who organized with parents to insist that our schools maintain physical education, the arts, music, world languages and bilingual education.

The last of these, of course, is the most controversial, least effective, and, therefore, most important to teacher's unions. So, basically, private and charter schools save a lot of money by getting rid of programs nobody wants to pay for. They use that money to reduce class sizes. There is no lesson to be learned, of course.

I am proud that our School Board took a position opposing Senate Bill 6 after the members of United Teachers of Dade made them aware of the destructive measures of this piece of legislation, an assault against the teachers and students in our public schools.

Senate bill 6 would have imposed merit pay for teachers. Anyone who is familiar with the abyss that is Florida schools knows that merit pay was a desperate first step toward rendering education functional. Karen is proud of making sure that any parent with any sort of wherewithal will send his or her child to private and/or charter schools in the foreseeable future.

Florida is again a finalist for President Obama's Race to the Top grant.

This refers to grant money distributed to failing school districts, in an attempt to help them "Race to the Top". Looks like Karen is on board with the fact that we need to change...

Our state is in a much stronger position to win,

Wow. This is like bragging that you have the most food stamps of anyone on the block.

Only because teachers' unions said no to the punitive requirements of the initial state application was a positive, collaboratively developed application submitted.

Karen is trying to shoehorn so many talking points in here that here sentence just exploded. What Karen means to say is:
Due to the collaborative efforts of teacher's unions, who opposed punitive assessments in favor of real solutions, the state's application took a decidedly positive tone.
Far be it from me to demand that someone proud of their educational achievements actually possess the ability to communicate in sentence form, but...

At the national level, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten works with philanthropists such as Bill Gates to bring reform initiatives to teacher-evaluation systems. Weingarten established AFT Innovation Grants, given to local unions to bring new and creative programming to our hometowns. Teachers are the authors of these initiatives.

These grants are worth $5 million, or enough to run D.C. public schools for about five hours. That said, it looks like Ms. Weingarten has earned her $600,000 per year. What about NEA president Dennis Van Roekel?

National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel has continued reform initiatives that include Read Across America, which partners with the National Football League Player's Association to make reading a joy for our students.

So, when prompted to name the teacher's union's two most prominent contributions, Karen cites a trifling aid package from Bill Gates & Friends and an NFL reading program of some sort. Shame on me for criticizing these people. In fairness, Van Roekel only makes $425,000.

Our teachers work their hearts out every day for the students they serve.

Some do, some don't. Either way, this is the old trick of conflating teachers with the unions who represent them. Again, $425,000 per year... NFL Reading program.

Teachers' salaries are the last item in the budget to see an increase, and the first to be frozen.

So, thanks to the efforts of the teacher's unions, pay for administrators, new carpeting, NFL reading programs and additional flat screen TVs come before teachers. Great work, Karen.

United Teachers of Dade makes no apologies for fighting on behalf of our teachers and educational support personnel to earn a decent living.

Nobody asked you to make apologies for fighting. Nobody asked you to make an apology at all. We simply want you to go away and or cease to be a soulless bureaucratic machine that has mad a lie of our national commitment to educate every student. Is that too much to ask.

How our teachers are treated is an object lesson to the students before us. They learn how society values education by the value that is placed on our educators.

So let's teach our students that, no matter how spectacularly one might fail, they deserve the same compensation as everyone else. This is a valuable lesson to those students who will wind up on welfare, which, for those suffering through the Miami public school system, is a rather likely outcome.

And what of the bad-teacher label applied to teachers in America's lowest performing schools? Let's be honest. The national discussion about our teachers is not about the teachers in our middle- and upper-class neighborhoods.

Huh? Here's some honesty for you. I went to Richfield High School, which is located in a decidedly middle class district. By any empirical standard, that school is simply abysmal, and it's failure derives from the (largely) poor quality of staff who work there.

That's the national discussion. Nobody gives a damn about city schools because nobody who gives a damn sends their kids to city schools. This is a tragedy, of course, and has allowed teacher's unions to exploit the poorest members of our poorest communities for their own benefit (Aronowitz makes $175k), but it has nothing to do with the valid complaints the average parent has about the quality of education in this country.

There is a groundswell building in our nation to provide equitable resources, including appropriate buildings and the capital to maintain them, for all students in our country.

Yeah, that's what people care about. Nice buildings.

Parents, civil-rights organizations and teachers' unions will not allow our public schools to be stolen under the guise of choice when there is no requirement that every child have a seat in a charter school.

Blockbuster Video executives will not allow their video stores to be stolen under the guise of choice when there is no requirement that every person be given a subscription to Netflix.

Public schools that are the heart of inner city communities are being closed.

Because nobody wants their kid to attend them and, when they have the choice, they make another choice.

Our public schools take all children, regardless of circumstance. Public schools do not cherry pick students and throw back the ones that can't or won't comply with their regulations.

Well, unless they live in a different district, are white, and did not win a lottery. But that only applies to the very few public schools anyone would like their children to attend. Also, cherry picking has nothing to do with unions. This is turning into one of those whiny educationist rants. I deserve better.

We deserve better.

The teacher's union mantra. You have an NFL reading program, Karen. What more could you want?

3 Comments:

Blogger buck said...

I'm married to a teacher and her mother is a teacher. I've spent 8 long years trying to get them to stop thinking their union is even closely looking out for their best interests.

The union is classic. Their only solution to every problem is "give us more money, and DO NOT ask any questions or look any closer at us."

My wife is an excellent teacher (bias, but fair opinion). I tell her everyday that if schools were like businesses, she would make triple her salary on the open market because of how good she is. For some reason, her union has told her to even think like that is a crime, so she says I'm nuts.

Whatever, it's all broke and a union will defend the only thing it knows how to do - act like a union and bully everyone who disagrees. (See: Obama, B)

3:17 PM  
Blogger Eric Jensen said...

I have no idea why is says my name is Buck. Sorry to thread jack your article.

Eric Jensen

3:20 PM  
Blogger Kevin Sawyer said...

I used to work with a Buck (who is not, by any means, a Republican), and I thought he was stopping by to give me crap until I read the comment.

Congrats on the baby.

4:02 PM  

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