Teachers union: roadblock on the path to education reform

The evidence is clear: All-day kindergarten would benefit
Gilroy’s students, getting them off to a solid educational start.
But implementing that within our school district is problematic
despite the fact that students would benefit.
Why? Because, to a large degree, the teachers union did not
support it.
1. Needs of the students and the community must come first

The evidence is clear: All-day kindergarten would benefit Gilroy’s students, getting them off to a solid educational start. But implementing that within our school district is problematic despite the fact that students would benefit.

Why? Because, to a large degree, the teachers union did not support it.

It’s just one example of cold water which can too easily be thrown on education reform efforts by teacher’s unions which far too often place the needs of the members above the needs of the students.

2. Test scores should, obviously, be a part of teacher evaluations

Another example has recently surfaced. President Obama’s Race to the Top legislation would require, among other things, that student scores be linked to teacher evaluations and that teacher evaluations be conducted every year. The Gilroy Teachers Association opposed applying for Race to the Top funds which could net Gilroy $1 million annually because of the federal strings attached.

It seems almost surreal that teachers would oppose being evaluated annually – wouldn’t they welcome the feedback? And it only makes sense to look at student scores in an evaluation process. That’s the product of a teacher’s work, just like sales figures are the product of a real estate agent’s work.

3. Teachers need to rise up and break the chains holding back progress

Of course, there are arguments ad infinitum which can be made about the variables related to a teacher’s classroom. But honestly, comparing Teacher A’s student test scores in English 1 to Teacher B’s student test scores in the same class can be an effective tool that ultimately leads to a better education for students. Isn’t that what it’s all about? It should be.

Yes, poor evaluations could lead to a teacher being fired – a near-impossible occurrence now. Constructive critiques could also lead to a teacher becoming more effective and more satisfied with their work.

Teachers need to rise up and break the chains of protectionism which are holding back progress in American education. The system is not working, and the teacher’s unions are a big part of why that is the case.

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