The Teachers Union Should Be Supported
Opinion/ News Analysis
Living as we do, in an America carefully crafted over 35 years by right wing think tanks, sometimes the pervasive propaganda seems as if it were some collective a priori knowledge, even perhaps simply our own common sense. The 'frame' of the public policy debate has been seized long ago by these right wing interest groups to such an extent that it now seems perfectly reasonable to large numbers of non-wealthy people that labor unions work against the common good, that they are greedy and controlled by "bosses". The Teachers Union has been especially vilified by anti-public education interests, pilloried in the public square for their "greed" and their "standing in the way of children's education".
As our own School Board votes to cut the budget and lay off teachers, right wing derived memes are rising up in the public debate even here in Emeryville. Some parents are using the budget crisis to assail the Teachers Union for the use of "bumping rights", the union's policy of protecting their senior members as they're hit with lay-offs.
These parents say that teachers should not behave in a protectionist manner and instead simply concern themselves with educating the children. The "bad" teachers should be layed off, not the least senior they say. It's only common sense after all. They're only interested in the welfare of the children, these parents sanctimoniously state.
This kind of talk enables the anti-public education meme and pushes down reasoned education policy debate.
In fact real common sense tells us that teachers do care about educating children. They're the ones in the educational trenches as it were. Teachers should be deferred to. They have the ability and the motive through the Union to rid their ranks of any "bad" ones among them, all the hyperbolic right wing claims to the contrary.
"Bumping should be seen as
a necessary thing to
protect the profession
for professional teachers"
The anti-bumping crowd gets it all wrong. The teaching profession needs to be valued. Teachers need to be better paid with better job security to attract the best and the brightest to the profession. It's not rational to continue relying on "do gooders" to fill out the ranks of teachers, as is often the case, if we really want to provide our children with the best educational prospects. Teaching is a profession and should be treated as such with at least as much deference as management administrators receive.
A would be great teacher is less likely to enter a field where there's low pay and low job security. The Teachers Union should be supported by parents as allies in the work to educate their children.
Emeryville parents should not take the right wing bait. They should see bumping as a necessary thing to protect the profession for professional teachers, to snatch them away from other higher paid careers. Teachers shouldn't have to go through what our society puts them through to assuage their desires to teach children. They should be afforded at least a modicum of job security.
As the Emery School Board goes on its budget cutting spree, we need to realize the Union is critical to providing what it takes for education to happen here. Instead of turning on the Teachers Union, we should fight the lay-offs. We should fully support the teachers.