Jewish Journal


July 31, 2009

Teachers Unions and Change—Again


It must be in the air.

Our blog of earlier this week about teachers unions and the forces—from Washington to Sacramento—that are pushing for serious reform is being echoed from some serious sources.

We wrote,

The weeks ahead will give us a clue as to where the priorities of local teachers’ unions lie—-are they all about themselves and continue to view as a potential threat every piece of information and datum that administrators might have about how they perform; or are they willing to work cooperatively to help move our schools and students forward?

This morning the Los Angeles Times opined about the role of teacher accountability and the need for teachers unions to participate in the changes that are around the corner:

Now that politicians are speaking up for students, their next task must be to engage California teachers in meaningful discussions about how to shape accountability in ways that make sense in the classroom. Student scores are obviously part of a teacher’s job, but they should not be the only issue, or even the single most important one. Nor should low-performing teachers be summarily fired, but tenure robs administrators of the authority to compel improvement. If union leaders want a role in these discussions, they’ll need to abandon their hidebound positions and take a place at the reform table.

Today the New York Times wrote very much the same thing:

Similarly, the process requires states to develop systems that evaluate teacher performance, taking student achievement into account. States must also be required to make sure that poor and minority students finally get a fair share of high-quality teachers. But that requirement will be meaningful only if the states are forced to develop serious teacher-quality measures.

Something is happening, and it’s happening in the right direction.


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