The NY Times, in it’s Magazine section (May 23), tackled one of the most challenging areas of education reform. Bravo. Even raising the issue is dangerous. Teachers unions. Only the brave teachers will come out in favor of changing the game here. The biggest issue is quality control and job security – seniority. Unions typically work with the approach that after just a few years of work a teacher has a job for life – barring EXTREME behaviors. You practically have to commit a criminal act to lose a teaching job these days.
Yes, teachers have a tough job. No one debates that. Yes, all kinds of children show up at school not prepared to learn, ill-equipped. There are innumerable challenges of every kind. But, the fact remains that regardless of school district, state, socio-economic population, etc…. there remain teachers who get the job done nuder those circumstances and those that do not. It’s not sufficient to argue that “I can’t teach these kids”…. you find a way, many have.
In most jobs, you either get the job done well or your employer will find someone else who can. Nothing else makes sense. Don’t rail against right-wingers and the market… you’d do the same thing if you were an employer, if you’re honest you’ll recognize this. Nothing efficient ever got achieved by people whose jobs were guaranteed.
Let’s change this part of the education conversation too.