, Newburyport, MA


October 9, 2012

How are teachers the problem?

I’m still irked by the keynote address of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at the Republican National Convention. To listen to him, teachers unions are the ruin of Western Civilization and need to be crushed.

To the best of my knowledge, teachers haven’t added a dollar to the national debt. Wasn’t it the large bankers and Wall Street brokers who caused the meltdown that led to the current global economic crisis? Why isn’t Christie calling for the crushing of bankers and brokers?

Sure, teacher compensation impacts the local budget, but teachers too are citizens and taxpayers who contribute to both national and local tax revenues.

The word “union” is not a dirty word. It’s from the same root as “E pluribus unum,” “United we stand, divided we fall” and, yes, even the United States.

Unions historically rose in response to poor working conditions (textile mills, meat packing plants, one-room schools with unmarried women as teachers … ). In education, current contracts are bargained to improve both compensation and working conditions that are student learning conditions. With teachers unions under attack, with teachers expected to take the cuts to balance the budget, who will be the teachers of the future?

Several attacks on teachers unions need be addressed.

First, the issue of tenure: Tenure was designed to protect teachers from arbitrary retribution for the freedom to think and speak and teach in an open, exploratory atmosphere. Tenure is reached only after three years of satisfactory performance. If a fourth-year contract is granted to an unsatisfactory teacher, who is not doing his or her job?

In my own case as a journalism teacher who advocated for students expressing their views in the local weekly newspaper and as a special education teacher who advocated for some often controversial services, wouldn’t I have been at risk without tenure?

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans