The Idaho state legislature approved a bill on Tuesday to strip public school teachers of many of their collective bargaining rights while protesters in five states rallied against Republican efforts to curb union power, Reuters reports. The Idaho bill, which excludes issues like class size and workloads from negotiations for the state’s 12,000 unionized teachers, was given final approval by the Republican-led House and is expected to be signed by Republican Governor Butch Otter. The bill also eliminates teacher tenure, limits the duration of teacher labor contracts to one year and removes seniority as a factor in determining the order of layoffs……Read More
With states and cities going through hard times, teachers, their pensions and their unions have become big targets for budget cutters, says the New York Times. Lawmakers in some states are trying to change teacher tenure rules and school districts are laying off teachers by the thousands. In public debate and private conversations, teachers have come under increasing criticism for being ineffective and overpaid. Yet not long ago, education reform efforts sought to elevate the prestige and pay of teachers as a key to improving achievement in the classrooms……Read More
Are teachers unions the reason America’s schools are failing? According to one increasingly popular narrative, they are, reports the Christian Science Monitor. It’s hard to think of a time in recent decades when teachers unions have been more under attack, not only from those on the right but also from many on the left, including President Obama and Arne Duncan, his Education secretary. The recent documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman,’ ” by liberal filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, cast unions as the “bad guys,” fighting to help even incompetent teachers retain their jobs. Michelle Rhee, the former District of Columbia schools chancellor and frequent union foe, just launched Students First, an organization that directly opposes the positions of many teachers unions. In numerous cities and states, lawsuits and legislative battles are being fought over tenure, seniority, and teacher evaluations–with the union-backed position often losing.
And in December, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the local teachers union the “one unwavering roadblock to reform”–a statement that would have been unthinkable several years ago coming from a major Democratic politician, himself a former organizer and lobbyist for teachers unions…