Magazine article Insight on the News
Teachers' Unions Try to Maintain Their Stranglehold
It is amazing how many people who are "pro-choice" when it comes to abortion are against choice when it comes to education. Indeed, that is the official position of the Democratic Party.
Despite Vice President Al Gore's rhetoric at the Democratic convention in July about being against "powerful special interests" there is no more powerful special interest in the country -- nor one with more destructive impact on more people -- than the teachers' unions. These unions -- the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) -- are dead set against parents having a choice of where to send their children to school.
The last thing these unions can afford to let happen is open competition between the public schools that their members have dumbed down and other schools that are free to omit the fads, bureaucracy and red tape that have ruined the public schools. Despite the unions' big lie that parental choice will cost more money -- "drain money from the public schools" is the pat phrase -- in reality, voucher schools get less money per pupil. That leaves more money per pupil in the budget for those students who remain in the public schools.
The teachers' unions do all they can to create the same handicaps for the voucher schools, or for homeschooling parents, as already exist in the public schools. Among these handicaps are requirements that teachers, including homeschooling parents, must be "certified" -- that is, subjected to the same Mickey Mouse courses in education that serve as a barrier to keep out many well-educated people who would like to teach but hate this junk. Studies show that such courses do nothing to make teachers more effective in the classroom. Moreover, students taking such courses have some of the lowest test scores of people in any field.
The AFT has complained that teachers in charter schools and voucher schools do not have the "protection" of labor unions. But the whole point of having alternative schools is to get away from the things that are dragging down the public schools. Iron-clad tenure for incompetent teachers and paying good and bad teachers the same salary are among these handicaps created by teachers' unions. …