Saturday, March 05, 2005

Los Angeles Teachers Choose Militancy

With mounting pressure to raise test scores and frustrations with stalled contract negotiations, The Los Angeles Times is reporting that teachers in Los Angeles Unified School District have given their somewhat moderate union leadership the boot in favor of a new group of Union activists who promise to be even more militant and confrontational with the District's administration:
The union's newly elected officers promise a more militant approach, one that will energize teachers, challenge district bureaucrats and mobilize the community to push for more funding for public schools. Given the political climate, militancy alone won't do it. Their agenda should also include a push for progressive reforms that will improve education for the district's 750,000 students, who often wind up as odd man out in district-versus-union power struggles.
It has been our experience with teachers unions that they care more about bigger pay-raises for those teachers on the verge of retirement (who "just happen" to be about the same age as the typical union's leadership) than working conditions for either younger or mid-career teachers.

That's why (almost every time) Unions start-off with the laudable idea of advocating smaller class-sizes but end-up "dealing away" smaller class sizes in exchange for a higher across-the-board pay raise. And since those raises are usually "X" percent, those teachers (again the ones with 25+ years of service) get a much larger raise in terms of dollars than a beginning teacher that is struggling to make ends meet.

For most teachers unions, it really is "about the money."
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