ICYMI, from the leaders of the Connecticut Education Assocition. I think there could be a little more to this story, don’t you? Does anyone really think that the school reform bill as it stands now will do much to change the path we are on in our lowest performing schools? There still needs to be a compromise, one that means changes are made at struggling schools.
Here’s what the union leaders write in the Courant. It’s all about class-warfare and teacher bashing, they say:
Why are teachers and their union the focus of such falsehoods? Teachers didn’t wreck the economy. Wall Street investors and shortsighted bankers did. Why do teachers continue to be bashed with the false dichotomy that we cannot be for both positive change for students and for collective bargaining? It’s because we’ve stood tall as a counterweight to the wealthy and powerful interests who want to relegate us to the sidelines in the most important education debate in a generation.
… To the benefit of students and public education, teachers’ voices were heard by members of the General Assembly’s education committee last month as it adopted a substitute education bill in a 28 to 5 vote. To their credit, the lawmakers’ vote indicates they regard teacher professionalism and unionism as compatible. They recognize that collective bargaining helps establish mutual respect between teachers and management, essential to accelerating student improvement. It also anchors the change process in good faith, written agreements and a formal dispute resolution process, making everyone accountable by clearly setting expectations.
The substitute bill recognizes that teacher contracts improve student learning and help attract high-quality teachers to low-performing schools. States and nations that have some of the best schools have unions that are afforded a well-deserved voice. Think Massachusetts. Think Germany and Finland.
Now look at the spin from the other side, in this case the education reform group ConnCAN, in a memo yesterday:
Teacher-bashing. Robber barons. Profiteering. Privatization. Stealing from our community schools. These are just some of the vitriolic comments that have been proffered and promoted by those who stand in opposition to S.B. 24. While it is a traditional campaign ploy – making personal attacks when one cannot win on the issues – it is a tactic that has undoubtedly clouded the education reform discussion, to the detriment of students. Given the proliferation of hateful speech and misinformation, well-meaning legislators must take a closer look at the actual legislation and its original intentions to separate the policy facts from the political rumors.
Isn’t it clear that an agreement lies somewhere in the middle here? Of course teachers shouldn’t be demonized. But the CEA has to be willing to make concessions to allow reforms in the most troubled schools.