Have the bullies met their match? You will soon find out. In New York.
Earlier this year a few groups challenged the teacher tenure laws of California. They argued that tenure laws violate the civil rights of students. Because they protect many incompetent teachers. The argument is that kids are damaged by the incompetence that is protected.
A California judge ruled for the students and against the tenure laws. Against the teachers’ unions.
The NY City Parents Union has filed a similar suit. To overturn New York tenure laws similar to California’s.
In California billionaire David Welch contributed $3 million to the effort. His advocacy group hired pit bull attorneys to argue against teacher union lawyers.
This week Welch said his group would join the New York effort. And thus, the battle is joined.
The unions’ first response was to attack wealth. One union president said the city is used to meddling billionaires trying to destroy public education. He was referring to former Mayor Bloomberg. Bloomy pushed charter schools big time. Charters that employ non-union teachers.
The union leader claimed that “…New York parents realize due process helps teachers defend their students’ interests.”
He has to know he speaks rubbish. His union bought the support of the new mayor with mega-buck contributions. When the new mayor moved against charter schools the roof fell in. Parents roared. He has since backed off.
Let us imagine that the NY suit succeeds. If it does, we could witness the end of the old tenure system. More important, we could witness the end of incompetent teachers hanging on like leeches. We could see the handcuffs come off administrators and school boards.
The unions deserve this. They have been hard-headed on the issue. They have rejected compromise. They have knowingly protected some horrible teachers for years. They have forced school systems to create “rubber rooms”. Principals send the worst of the worst to these rooms. To do nothing. While taxpayers have to keep paying their salaries.
If the suit succeeds the unions will change their tactics. That is my guess. They will offer compromises. They will try to negotiate changes. Changes that still protect good teachers. But make it easier to boot the worst. Call it “tenure light”.
Meanwhile, the tactic of citing billionaire-meddling will fail. It will fail because parents can see through it. They know the tenure system stinks. They know many teachers don’t support what the unions push for. Many teachers don’t like being forced to pay high dues. Many don’t like their dues ending up in coffers of corrupt politicians.
Many taxpayers will feel the meddling by billionaires levels the playing field. If groups of parents challenge tenure laws they cannot afford much of a challenge. Teacher unions spend fortunes fighting them. That is why I called them bullies at the start of this. They use the millions from dues to try to steamroller any groups that oppose tenure laws.
It could not be more clear that the unions have ignored the needs of children. Especially kids in lousy inner-city schools. It is clear the unions have ignored the wishes of many teachers.
The unions’ first concerns are salaries. And tenure. And as much control over education policies as they can get. To achieve these goals they grease the palms of politicians. They threaten to try to oust any politician who steps out of line.
Against this power our kids deserve to have someone in their corner. Taxpayers who feel current tenure laws are rotten deserve the same.
At the moment, it looks as if David Welch and his lawyers have moved into that corner. Round One is coming up.
From Tom...as in Morgan.