I oft hang my head in shame reading these stories, remembering I am a union member in good standing with two unions: the AFL-CIO, and the AWPPW
Teachers’ Union Attempts to Strangle Charters
"Teachers’ unions are using the same kind of approach to kill charter schools that abortion opponents use to shut abortion clinics down: pile up expensive regulations that make it increasingly difficult to operate."
The regulatory states primary purpose is to stand athwart progress shouting, STOP!
"The hostility between many teacher unions and the charter school and voucher movement is a tragedy of modern American life. What we really need is a proliferation of teacher-owned, teacher-managed cooperative educational ventures—operating either in public school buildings or in churches or in other community spaces. These coops should receive favorable regulatory and tax treatment, and give teachers the latitude to teach in an environment they control. Different coops would cater to different kinds of students, or different age groups, or offer different educational philosophies. Parents would be able to chose among many alternative programs, and teacher assessment could be something that the community would do in a much richer and holistic way—good coops would get good word of mouth.
Developing an education approach that offers more choice, that prioritizes the needs of poor students, that offers rewards for good teachers while setting them free to run their own programs rather than kowtow to administrators: this is something America can and ought to do. We can spend less money on administration and centralized bureaucracies while putting more resources in the hands of teachers—teachers who are closely watched by parents and accountable to them, but also who are independent professionals whose achievements bring them status, security and respect."
Mead's ideas here are excellent, as usual. I have long thought that the best option would be to explode school districts, allowing the parents of each school, the teachers, and the principal to have full control and sway over the education policy, materials, etc. Then the state, and the local should simply attach a voucher to the blouse of each child each term/semester, and the school the child attends, gets the money. Allow the schools to charge additional tuition if they desire. Services like accounting, and legal services could be handled privately by bid.
Teachers could unionize if they thought it necessary, although it would likely make the school uncompetitive. Schools could aggregate to create bureaucracies, although that would likely make them uncompetitive. I suspect the focus would quickly turn to education, and the other less educational components like sports would likely be taken up by clubs, and teams unaffiliated with schools.
Within a decade, this huge idea incubator would find many good ideas, and many bad ideas. Over time, the competitive pressures would drive these schools to creatively incorporate more of the good, and disincorporate more of the bad. The education of students would improve, as would the choices in education, including vocationally focused education, technically focused education, academically focused education, and professionally focused education, among myriad others.
Yet we procrastinate because we are so conservative, and so fearful that anything we do could hurt our children's education. During this wasted time, the quality of education continues to plumb new lows. This excessive conservatism is a form of mental illness. This is an area where action is necessary, and soon.
7 Signs That U.S. Education Decline Is Jeopardizing Its National Security