Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dissension among the Union Ranks

Everyone knows that all of the members of every union will not agree on everything the union does. It is no different than that of a normal grouping of random people, because of this differing views are prevalent. Take for instance the amount of money spent by unions on politics. Not every union member agrees that Democrats are the only way to go. That doesn't matter to the unions though, because the "leadership" thinks that Democrats are the only way to vote. Take into account that in some states workers are denied the most basic right of free choice and are forced to join unions and sometimes you are going to have problems. Unions are typically good at keeping those problems quiet though.

Today is not one of those days, however.
The heads of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association apparently receive very large paychecks. On top of that they receive very large raises that almost no one else is receiving as well.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten's pay jumped to $407,323 between 2010 and 2011, while her counterpart at the National Education Association, Dennis Van Roekel, got a raise to $362,644. Factor in stipends and other paid expenses and Weingarten took in $493,859 and Van Roekel $460,060 for 2011.

Take into account that the average teacher makes 44,000 a year and you end up with some problems in the ranks. At least some of the teachers are starting to realize that the unions don't care about them, and they sure as hell don't care about the students.

The union bigwigs are well-insulated from the paycheck-to-paycheck lives of most schoolteachers, said Tracie Happel, a elementary school teacher in Lacrosse, Wisc., who has spoken out in the past against the practices of the unions.
“It’s always about the union. It’s never about the teachers or students,” Happel said.

The Mackinac Center, a think tank in Michigan, believe that unions are right to pay the heads this kind of money because public education needs union leaders that will fight for them since politicians are always quick to "abandon public education".

Excuse me, I must be confusing public education with something else. Last time I checked we spent more money per student in this country than any other in the world. Take NY for example, each students costs over 12,000 per year. Private schools could educate your children much better and actually you know teach them something for that amount or less.

Thus is the problem here. The reason some politicians will run away from public schools is because they are failing. Why are they failing? Because the unions refuse to allow reforms that would encourage improvements in the schools. Things like merit based pay, school choice of any public school, allowing the worst teachers to be fired, all which would improve public education.

Here is another one for them that the unions would never allow. Student based funding. When you enroll your child in school that school gets the money for that student. If you don't like that school because your child isn't learning as well as you think they should, move them to a new school. Best part about this plan, the money follows the child. No matter which school they go to.

Increase school vouchers for private and parochial schools and you just might introduce better education into this country. Failing schools would close, competition would be introduced to the market and that can only lead to good things.

Of course that's exactly what the teachers unions don't want. They know they could never compete in that world. Of course since technically school teachers are state employees I still don't understand why they are allowed to unionized anyway.

But that's a fight for a different day. 

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