Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009 | As a teacher for seven years in junior and senior high schools, prior to the advent of teachers’ unions, I considered myself a “professional” and was recognized as such by my supervisors, employers and the public.
In that regard my colleagues and I participated in all in-school and outside activities such as visiting student homes, attending parent-teacher meetings, supervising in-school and extra-curricular activities, all without recompense or special recognition. As a result teachers were appreciated and respected, and learning took place in and out of the classrooms. And, I might mention, our compensation was far below that of carpenters, plumbers and electricians, but our students learned and achieved and we teachers took satisfaction in our profession.
Looking at the state of affairs in schools today, one cannot miss the sad fact that in many cases students are not learning, discipline and student behavior are distressing, families are not connected with schools and teachers, and the focus of teachers unions is not on student learning nor the welfare of students and families, but rather on wages, benefits, and working conditions of members who are compelled and constrained by the strictures of “closed shop” participation and mandatory dues.
How sad, that which has happened to public education.
Is it any wonder that charter schools, private schools, and the voucher system are gaining support? For many students, alternatives to traditional schools are a must, and union adherence solely to wages and benefits plus protection of non-professional and non-dedicated members will only exacerbate public education’s decline. How sad!