FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Assault on Teachers Unions

by

Although I can understand the relentless anti-union crusade being waged by free market fundamentalists who wish to: (1) weaken the American labor movement, and (2) do away with the public school system (because there are hundreds of millions of dollars to be made by “privatizing” education), I am stunned by the public’s willingness to accept what is, on its face, a monumentally stupid argument.

While no one ever hears of American colleges and universities being accused of producing consistently “bad” accountants or bad pharmacists or bad historians or bad computer programmers or bad anthropologists, apparently, those same colleges and universities have turned out a disproportionately high number of “bad” teachers.

Even though these idealistic men and women busted their humps earning their college degrees and teaching credentials (which, by law, are required to teach in a public school, but are not required by private schools), once they entered the classroom and began plying their trade, they turned out to be a bunch of incompetents and slackers.

Of course, the explanation given by the anti-labor, privatization propagandists is that these teachers came out of their colleges and universities in satisfactory shape, but turned “bad” as soon as they became union members, because the teachers’ union, as we all know, was put on earth to protect bad teachers. Yep, as a former union president myself, I can attest that there’s nothing we union honchos admire more than a shitty worker.

Here’s something to think about: Airline pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, firefighters, nurses, actors, writers, directors, coal miners, and that woman who plays oboe in the symphony orchestra are union members. They are good at their jobs. Being represented by a union didn’t turn them into bad workers.

Southwest Airlines is the most unionized carrier in the industry and, last time I checked, it was among the most profitable. If you want to accept the outrageous falsehood—the outright lie—that union members are bad workers, that’s your privilege, but unless you have a death wish, I suggest you stay off airplanes.

Here’s something else: Some of the best school districts in the country are heavily unionized. Something else: Demonstrating that the whole thing is mainly socio-economic, schools in stable areas perform better than schools in poor, distressed areas, and unions have nothing to do with it. And something else: Non-union teachers across the country get fired at about the same rate as union teachers. It’s true. Why don’t more non-union teachers get fired? Because they don’t deserve be fired.

Has anyone who did poorly in school ever blamed the teacher for their lack of success? Has anyone ever said, “Man, I would’ve been a kick-ass student if only my teachers had been capable of teaching me”? I’ve never heard one person say that. Instead, they either blame their parents for not having assisted or “pushed” them enough, or blame themselves for simply not having put in the necessary work.

Again, this whole assault on the teaching profession is a hoax. It’s designed to beat down the unions and convince people that “private education” is the way to go. And in order to win, they need to convince a critical mass of parents that the only reason their little Johnny or Judy isn’t performing like a budding genius is because of “bad” teachers. That people believe it is a shame.

David Macaray is a labor columnist and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor, 2nd Edition).  Dmacaray@earthlink.net

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is “Nightshift: 270 Factory Stories.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 08, 2016
John W. Whitehead
Power to the People: John Lennon’s Legacy Lives On
Mike Whitney
Rolling Back the Empire: Washington’s Proxy-Army Faces Decisive Defeat in Aleppo
Ellen Brown
“We’ll Look at Everything:” More Thoughts on Trump’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
John Stauber
The Rise and Fall of Obamacare: Will the Inside Story Ever be Told?
Ted Rall
Ameri-Splaining
Michael J. Sainato
Mainstream Media Continues Absolving Itself From Clinton, Trump Election Failures
Ralph Nader – Mark Green
Divest or Face Impeachment: an Open Letter to Donald Trump
Gareth Porter
US Airstrikes on Syrian Troops: Report Data Undermine Claim of “Mistake”
Martha Burke
What Trumponomics Means for Women
Ramzy Baroud
Fatah, Hold Your Applause: Palestinian Body Politic Rotten to the Core
Steve Horn
Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Attorney General Pick, Introduced First Bill Exempting Fracking from Drinking Water Rules
Joe Ware
The Big Shift: Why Banks Need to Stop Investing Our Money Into Fossil Fuels
Juliana Barnet
On the Ground at Standing Rock
Franklin Lamb
Aleppo Update: An Inspiring Return to the Bombed Out National Museum
Steve Kelly
Hidden Harmony: on the Perfection of Forests
December 07, 2016
Michael Schwalbe
What We Talk About When We Talk About Class
Karl Grossman
The Next Frontier: Trump and Space Weapons
Kenneth Surin
On Being Caught Speeding in Rural America
Chris Floyd
In Like Flynn: Blowback for Filth-Peddling Fascists
Serge Halimi
Trump, the Know-Nothing Victor
Paul DeRienzo
Flynn Flam: Neocon Ex-General to Be Trump’s National Security Advisor
Binoy Kampmark
Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan and Beijing
Tom Clifford
Trump and China: a Note From Beijing
Arnold August
Fidel’s Legacy to the World on Theory and Practice
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix a ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
John Kirk
Cuba After Fidel
Jess Guh
Repeal of Affordable Care Act is Politics Playing with the Wellbeing of Americans
Eric Sommer
Team Trump: a Government of Generals and Billionaires
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Reactions to the Death of Fidel Castro
John Garvey - Noel Ignatiev
Abolitionism: a Study Guide
Clancy Sigal
Caution: Conspiracy Theory Ahead!
December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewal of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail