I’m pretty passionate about this, since both my parents and all their friends were teachers, and since my father had something to do with the founding of the teachers’ union.
Moreover the dishonorable legal war being waged by rich people using poor people as pawns, to accuse teacher tenure of everything that’s wrong with education − although it has nothing to do with the people waging this war, since they all support charter schools which do not hire unionized teachers − is infuriating, for all the above reasons.
But I just picked up this story about how an activist teacher was fired for being an activist, and better than anything I could say, it thoroughly explains why there must be teachers’ unions. Here’s the beginning of DailyKos’s article:
If you’ve wondered why teacher tenure was being so hotly debated, here’s a great example of its importance. The Massachusetts Department of Labor has found probable cause that a teacher and local union leader’s job—a job that wasn’t protected by tenure—was terminated after he spoke out against school district policies.
In February, Agustin Morales was part of a group of teachers and parents that went to a school committee meeting to protest the use of data walls in Holyoke, Massachusetts, schools. The data walls included students’ standardized test scores and in some cases their names, publicly shaming them as part of the drive for higher scores. When schools superintendent Sergio Paez tried to claim that teachers had not been instructed to put students’ names on data walls, they produced slides from a PowerPoint presentation in which the sample data walls were shown with names—with Paez listed on the slides as present to give welcoming remarks.
Morales went on to be elected president of his union local—but at the same time, he says he was targeted for eventual termination, despite having received good teaching evaluations up until he started speaking out. That speedy termination was possible because he hadn’t been at his job for long enough to be covered by the Massachusetts equivalent of tenure protections.
And here’s the full article: Massachusetts finds probable cause to investigate firing of activist teacher.