Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Will Obama Finally Take On the Teacher's Unions?

This article in the New York Times reports that the U.S. spends more money per student than any country in the world yet its achievement is in the bottom 1/3 of developed nations.

Not all of the blame can be laid at the teacher's feet. Some of it, for example, is the result of America's insistence on putting students of all abilities in the same class and forcing ever more of them to read Shakespeare even if they're reading on the 5th grade level and to solve quadratic equations when they can't do simple arithmetic in their heads.

But certainly some blame must go to the teachers' unions who, because the Democrats so fear their political power, have managed to continue to get contracts which give teachers virtual lifetime job security after just two or three years--even if a teacher burns out and her/his students learn less than similar students in other classes. In another blow against quality teaching, teachers get paid exactly the same whether they're excellent or poor.

The article suggests that President Obama may be willing to try to convince Democrats to take a stand. If anyone has the ability to persuade, it's him. Let's hope he succeeds.


Sharon said...

You're right about putting students of all abilities in the same classroom.

I was a reading aid in my daughters class about 4 years ago and they had a kid who could not read paired up with my kid who was reading chapter books. Needless to say, my kid got bored of reading class and the other kid never did learn how to read by year end.

Maureen said...

Best example of this insanity is my professor who stabbed his wife 14 times, spent a year in the county jail and was right back teaching at his old job the following year -- because he had tenure. He's still teaching.


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