I caught the tail end of this CBS News report this morning. It’s the typical kind of media coverage of teacher unions that gives one hugely horrible example of how tenure protected someone who shouldn’t have been in the classroom in the first place and then suggests we need to get rid of unions completely. If the laws are making it difficult to get an abuser out of the classroom then those laws need to be modified. But doing away with teacher unions, which is the real purpose of the multi-billionaires who are funding this lawsuit, is not the answer if the question is how do we make teachers more effective and students more successful?
How great it would be if the billionaires put their money into the classroom to provide coaching and support for teachers to help them become more effective. Think of how far all that money that is currently going to lawyers on both sides would go if the two groups worked together to identify the most challenging environments where teachers, students and their families need substantial social, emotional and economic support to succeed. Let’s move beyond union busting to have the harder conversations about equity and opportunity in this country. Maybe like they are doing in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
At the end of the piece, the commentators all agreed that providing the best education for these kids is the answer to everything so even though they sympathized with the teacher, we just have to guarantee that a good teacher is in every classroom, and they seemed to support this lawsuit. Certainly having effective teachers is essential, but I’m not sure this lawsuit would really make that happen. And, honestly, the better answer to everything would be to figure out how to lift every kid out of poverty.