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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Teachers unions to lose "Special rights"

The Tennessean looks at some of the "special rights" teachers unions could lose and what students could gain.

From the article...

Deep-sixing teachers' collective bargaining privileges would mean that Tennessee's school children will no longer be forced to settle for budget leftovers.
It would also give individual teachers the ability to negotiate directly with their administrators and school board. Teacher unions say that unionization is necessary for educators to be treated as professionals. The exact opposite is true. True professionals want to be rewarded for their individual performance, whereas the union's fixation on tenure protection and seniority rules have the effect of treating teachers as interchangeable workers, no better and no worse than any other.

It terms of serious education reform, it appears that HB 130 is the tip of a very large iceberg.


  1. I noticed the comments there seem to deal with one issue (as usual) and surprise, surprise, it isn't the students or their academics.

    It's always about the money - and comparing teacher salaries to 40 other states that allegedly pay more (while ignoring the higher cost of living in those states, state income taxes, etc.), everything would be better if only they were paid more, etc. What they never seem to realize is that the paying customers (taxpayers) aren't interested in the pay scale as much as the academic achievement scale. Public schools exist solely to educate students - not pay teachers. Who gives the best academics for the money is the question. Nation-wide, it isn't the biggest spenders.

  2. Believe the article was written by gentleman from Michigan. Apparently they have done such a good job in Michigan he wants to export their system to Tennessee. Continuing to blame unions doesn't educate one single child and this isn't about education, its about payback, pure and simple. Joining TEA is VOLUNTARY, not mandatory as some of those pushing these bills have said. TSBA is also an education union that collects dues only theirs comes directly from taxpayers whereas teachers dues are paid out of their pocket. Why doesn't individual school board members have to pay their dues out of their pocket instead of taxpayers paying them?

    Mr. Holcombe is right in that this isn't about students or academics. This is about power. Teachers have no power to change their curriculum, the course they teach, the amount of time they have to teach it, school board policy, etc. He is wrong in that surveys have shown that taxpayers believe teachers SHOULD be paid more. If you truly want to see educational reform take the shackles off educators and allow them to do their job! Taking away their rights as Senator Campfield and Ramsey among others want to do will not accomplish what they think it will. Teachers working conditions are student learning conditions. Create instability in the schools by taking away teacher stability and you are going to drive the young teachers out of education along with the seasoned teachers. Very poor short-term thinking on the heels of last years cooperative effort between TEA, Governor Bredesen, and the legislature to secure Race to the Top funds.

  3. It shouldn't matter that the man writing the article is from Michigan. If it does matter to the TEA, then maybe the TEA needs an executive director from Tennessee.

    "TSBA is also an education union that collects dues only theirs comes directly from taxpayers whereas teachers dues are paid out of their pocket."

    ...which comes directly from taxpayer's pockets. Or they lose their house to tax liens. They aren't voluntary.

    I agree the average public perception is that teachers should be paid more. I also argue that almost none of those people can tell you how much teachers are paid - OR more importantly, how much they are spending per pupil in those school systems, or how much they could pay to educate privately in their community.

    But, most can spout off the NEA/TEA mantra that TN is "49th in education" - of course that was only in spending.

  4. By the way, this worked well for UPS drivers for a while. They had sympathy of the $7-10/hour shipping clerks/dock workers at businesses wherever they delivered - explaining why they were threatening the paying customers with service failures via their usual 3-year strike if they don't get a(nother) raise.

    Until the shipping clerk found out the UPS drivers were already making $20/hour (in the early 90's).

    Teachers need to understand the median household income in our state is less than 40k. Most of those people work all 12 months of the year for that amount too. They have no idea what a pension even is - let alone that they are paying for them for certain other people.

  5. It would be great if legislators told the truth about what children need in classrooms. Believe or not, what teachers fight for is in the best interest of the child. Teachers want classrooms where students have the resources they need, including a professional who is certified in the education arena. Legislators are only listening to a few well paid lobbyists. If legislators would stop being bullies and listen to teachers, they would learn that teachers who work for less and do more than they are required are our children's best resources.


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