19 October 2014
Education: Teacher’s Union Power
Over the years unions have provided many benefits to union workers through collective bargaining. One of the biggest union forces in the United States is the teachers union. With almost close to 5 million members nationwide, the teachers union is one of the most powerful unions. Through collective bargaining, problems have been created for the public school system which takes place at local school districts; rules have been imposed to create ineffective forms of organization at schools. The rules that are currently in place by collective bargaining are also creating a big disconnection with many public schools, that being the interest of the children. The teachers union is one main role players that is behind the organized education system of the United States. So, why are the public schools systems in the United States failing? The answer can be complicated a one, one of the reasons why the public school system is broken is due to the collective bargaining through the teachers union. Collective bargaining has made great impact on student achievement, as a result, the teacher unions have often used their political power to block or weaken major education reform efforts, efforts that would expand school choice for many students and parents. School districts that engage in collective bargaining only promote job interest for teachers. The collective bargaining with teachers union does not promote an effective way for students to succeed in the classroom.
Teachers are the most important people in children’s lives, their role is significant when it comes to educational achievement. In order, to have students succeed and reach academic success teachers help develop and implement a system that best fits the student; Unions play a big role when developing these systems or processes. Unions are there to protect and promote their occupational interest for the teachers; unions are not designed to help children. Unions use their political power to block or weaken systems that can be put the teacher’s job at risk. Unions shapes the schools from the bottom up by creating restricted work rules, salary rules that pay teachers based on seniority with no attention to performance holding no one accountable. Unions play an influential role from the top down by using political leverage, the unions are able to block or weaken new laws they do not want by using the American system of checks and balances.
Since the early 1980s improving public school performance has consistently been a top priority for the American government. Education policy expert, Terry Moe who is also a political science professor at Stanford University mentions that since the publication of A Nation at Risk in 1983 public officials have been under intense pressure to improve academic performance. During this time the teachers union have also had an enormous support, this includes close to a million members, political activists, and large sums of money for campaign contributions and lobbying. The teachers unions have also helped shape the way American public education is set today. Many teachers belong to the NEA (National Education Association union), the NEA which was founded in the 1900’s, the NEA was controlled by administrators in the 1900’s and opposed unions at that time. During the 1960’s and 1970’s the NEA converted to a union membership and collective bargaining. This meant that the NEA would become the largest union force of any type in the country. The teachers unions have used their political power in shaping the nation’s schools not by implementing policies into schools, but by blocking reforms that can hold teachers accountable by the performance of the classroom.
The NEA and the AFT represent millions of teachers throughout the country. Moe indicates that teachers unions are known has political powerhouses which contribute millions of dollars to campaign