Feed on

The other day a public school teacher and I were talking and she suggested to me that the public perception of Teachers Unions is wildly off-base. The teachers, she claims, care deeply about the kids and are just as frustrated about the lack of progress as the rest of us. No comment on this now. Here are two relevant pieces from today. First, from the Wall Street Journal reporting on the performance of Charter Schools as they compare to the selective public schools:

The Success schools are performing at the same level as NYC’s best schools—gifted and talented schools that select kids based solely on rigorous tests—even though gifted schools have far fewer low-income and minority students. In short, with a population that is considered much harder to educate, Success is getting champion-league results.

Rest assured, the status-quo, poverty-is-destiny crowd will try to explain away these remarkable results. They will selectively point to small differences and argue that the charter schools are “creaming” the better students, i.e., not accepting kids with greater needs or lower test scores.

But the dramatic difference in results renders these nitpicks trivial

And in my “favorite” news item of the day, the Teachers Unions in Louisiana are (threatening) suing a Catholic school for having the audacity to accept vouchers:

In a stunning move, attorneys representing the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) have threatened litigation against schools participating in the state’s voucher program.

The LAE recently filed suit, arguing that the voucher program is unconstitutional. The suit is currently pending in the 19th Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The union’s request for an injunction was denied on July 10.

On Wednesday, the LAE’s attorney, Brian F. Blackwell, of Blackwell & Associates in Baton Rouge, sent letters to each of the schools that have elected to participate in the state’s voucher program. In the letter, Blackwell claims that any school participating in the voucher program would be receiving “an unconstitutional payment of public funds.”

The letter goes on to insist that each school inform the Department of Education that it will not accept funding through the voucher program until the legal challenge has been resolved. Failure to do so by Friday, July 27 at 4:00 P.M. will result in the union instituting litigation against the school.

Maybe, as my teacher friend tells me, the teachers are not being well represented by their union leaders. That’s a story for another day – a strange position to hold for a group of folks with post-modernist tendencies.


3 Responses to “Teachers Unions, All About the Kids”

  1. Speedmaster says:

    >> “Teachers Unions, All About the Kids”

    That headline was the best laugh I’ve had all week! 😉

    When school children start paying union dues,
    that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.
    – Albert Shanker
    (1928-1997) former president of the American Federation of Teachers

    The education of all children,
    from the moment that they can get along without a mother’s care,
    shall be in state institutions at state expense.
    – Karl Marx

  2. Student says:

    Speedmaster, I actually couldn’t believe the quote you put from Albert Shanker that I had to look it up. I couldn’t find a good source and it sounds like it is heavily disputed, but whether or not Shanker ever said the quote is mostly irrelevant. What is relevant is that (and maybe this is my bias showing) reading the quote makes me feel physically sick because it captures exactly how I feel teacher’s unions are run.

    Regarding the case in Louisiana, are any The Unbroken Window readers well versed in constitutional law and can you explain what, if any, case the teacher’s union has?

    • Michael says:

      I can’t remember all the case law, but I seem to recall that public funds are not able to be used to directly support private Christian schools due to separation of church and state. From the ever-reliable wiki (meaning you should look further into depending on interest):
      “The Supreme Court decided Committee for Public Education & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist and Sloan v. Lemon in 1973. In both cases, states—New York and Pennsylvania—had enacted laws whereby public tax revenues would be paid to low-income parents so as to permit them to send students to private schools. It was held that in both cases, the state unconstitutionally provided aid to religious organizations. The ruling was partially reversed in Mueller v. Allen (1983). There, the Court upheld a Minnesota statute permitting the use of tax revenues to reimburse parents of students. The Court noted that the Minnesota statute granted such aid to parents of all students, whether they attended public or private schools.”
      The side in favor of vouchers would state that the program isn’t directly funding the schools, but the parents to attend a school of their choice. My own opinion is that the unions probably have a 50-50 chance these days.

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