Monday, June 11, 2012

Not Every Teacher Wants to Join a Union

Great opinion piece in the Dallas Morning News this morning from Esther Cepeda letting people know that union leaders don't represent all teachers.  There are many teachers who are forced to join a union and have the union dues deducted from their pay - and they do not like it.

How does he prove that union members and leaders are not always on the same page? Because according to the Washington Post almost a third of union members who voted - voted for Walker in Wisconsin even though it was the unions who lead the call for his recall.

Education Next tracks attitudes towards teacher unions and up until 2009 they are fairly contestant.  This year opinions of teacher unions fell sharply.

  • People with a positive view of unions dropped to 22% from 29% last year
  • 58% of teachers had a positive view of unions - but only 43% had a positive view this year
  • The number of teachers with a negative view of their own unions NEARLY DOUBLED to 32%!!
What does that mean?  From Esther's article:

"Could this be because teachers are getting tired of being political pawns? Is it possible they’re annoyed because they show up for work every day desiring only to teach children but are bombarded with union propaganda that seeks to paint the communities they teach in as toxic toward educators? Teachers tend to be particular about their classroom autonomy, so it’s reasonable to believe that they’re getting fed up by the constant pressure such as I felt to toe the union line while instructing my students.
Or maybe teachers no longer want to be represented by organizations that insist on portraying their rewarding white-collar profession as being on par with the struggles of coal miners.
Either way, the number of teachers who agree with standards anathema to unions — that pay should be based on performance and not on seniority or accumulated college credits — is on the rise, according to the National Center for Education Information’s “Profile of Teachers in the U.S. 2011.” The same goes for the number of teachers who see getting rid of unions as a way to strengthen teaching as a profession."
There are some things that unions do that make a lot of sense - especially when it comes to ensuring that teacher evaluations are fair. But they have gone off the rails in so many ways and it looks like their main constituency is starting to question their relevance.