Reap What You Teach
Submitted By Todd on October 15th at 4:15pm
speak the truth.
Good schools constitute a far more potent weapon against poverty than welfare, food stamps or housing subsidies.That's what leftist columnist Nicolas Kristof writes in today's New York Times. Think about it - if you educated poor people, you would eliminate much of the need for assistance to the poor - in a generation. Which may help explain why Dems aren't in a hurry to fix education.
Yet, cowed by teachers’ unions, Democrats have too often resisted reform and stood by as generations of disadvantaged children have been cemented into an underclass by third-rate schools.Consider what Kristof is saying - the compassion party has fought reforms that would have provided hope to millions of poor kids. What an insidious accusation!
President Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, are trying to change that — and one test for the Democrats will be whether they embrace administration reforms that teachers’ unions are already sniping at.We are at a critical juncture - a split is developing in the Democratic Party over it's willingness to sell out children and minorities in order to please it's number 1 partner, the Teachers Unions.
It’s difficult to improve failing schools when you can’t create alternatives such as charter schools and can’t remove inept or abusive teachers. In New York City, for example, unions ordinarily prevent teachers from being dismissed for incompetence — so the schools must pay failed teachers their full salaries to sit year after year doing nothing in centers called “rubber rooms.”It's no surprise that unions want to grow. And their business isn't education, it's collecting union dues. More teachers equals more dues, so the unions support policies that would result in hiring more teachers. Shockingly, if you examine the talking points of Democrats on education, you'll find that they line up exactly with those of the unions.
In California, we see the same pathology — as long as the students in question are impoverished and marginalized, with uncomplaining parents, they are allowed to endure the kind of teachers and schools that we would never tolerate for our own kids.Something's got to be done to give educators the right to control schools rather than unions, and the Charter School movement provides the opportunity.
The Los Angeles Times investigation found that it is so expensive to remove teachers that the authorities typically try to do so only in cases of extreme misconduct — not for something as “minor” as incompetence.Kristof, having so nicely laid out the structural impossibility of improving schools given the partnership between the Dems and the unions, gets weak-kneed and falls over on his action plan.
I’m hoping the unions will come round and cooperate with evidence-based reforms, using their political clout to push to raise teachers’ salaries rather than to protect ineffective teachers.Obviously, that's not going to happen. Remember, unions have no interest in good schools, just more teachers paying dues.
This is the central front in the war on poverty, the civil rights issue of our time. Half a century after Brown v. Board of Education, isn’t it time to end our “separate but equal” school systems?Inner city kids deserve better education, not equal education. When Democrats start losing elections instead of pulling the wool over the eyes of the American people, that's when they'll stop destroying the hopes of millions of children for a better future.