education philosopher

A Case Against Teachers Unions

Posted in Politics of Education, Teaching by KevinCK on June 23, 2009

Here is an articleexposing one of the pernicious effects of teachers unions; since teachers are so difficult to fire, an exorbitant amount of tax money is spent paying bad teachers NOT to teach. This sould anger the hell out of taxpayers, who have no choice but to pay for, and in most cases send their sons and daughters to, increasingly ill-run public schools.  Here’s an excerpt:

NEW YORK – Hundreds of New York City public school teachers accused of offenses ranging from insubordination to sexual misconduct are being paid their full salaries to sit around all day playing Scrabble, surfing the Internet or just staring at the wall, if that’s what they want to do.

Because their union contract makes it extremely difficult to fire them, the teachers have been banished by the school system to its “rubber rooms” — off-campus office space where they wait months, even years, for their disciplinary hearings.

The 700 or so teachers can practice yoga, work on their novels, paint portraits of their colleagues — pretty much anything but school work. They have summer vacation just like their classroom colleagues and enjoy weekends and holidays through the school year…

Because the teachers collect their full salaries of $70,000 or more, the city Department of Education estimates the practice costs the taxpayers $65 million a year. The department blames union rules.

One of the things that angers me about this article is that the last sentence quoted blames unions, which is only partially true. In order for unions (involuntary ones that teachers MUST join to teach in the schools), government has to give them the power of exclusivity. One does not generally have these types of problems in districts where being a union member is voluntary. So, let’s not just blame the unions, but the governments that gave them monopoly power over the supply of teachers! (more…)