Monday, February 22, 2010

Leave it to the experts?

During my MBA I applied for Education Pioneers - a non-profit educational thingy - and we had a very interesting interview process. Six of us sat around and did a case study about a charter school where the issue was unionization. The applicants were all extremely talented individuals and also very liberal, yet every single group came to the conclusion that unionization was not the way to go. Why? Because despite being liberals, these folks were passionate about education and actually had principles. Unions, our case study in particular, added little value to the educational experience and had the unfortunate effect of detracting from it.

Unions have their place in society and I bear no ill will towards them. But the stark reality is that teacher unions are destroying our nation's youth and I do take offense to that. In this Wall Street Journal editorial, there are many examples of the ways teacher unions put themselves first at the expense of your children.
This means that large numbers of ineffective teachers wind up with ironclad job protection. When low-performing teachers can't be fired, it's the students who suffer. A New Teacher Project study last year looked at tenure evaluations in multiple states and found that "less than 1% of teachers receive unsatisfactory ratings, even in schools where students fail to meet basic academic standards, year after year." Less than 2% of teachers are denied tenure in LA, where the high school dropout rate is 35% and growing.


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