The purpose of this blog is to know and understand the teacher's perspective concerning current issues on education reform and the teaching profession. Inputs from the ones who probably knows what is best for students academically -- the teachers -- are rarely considered in decision making of policies. Yet, these so-called education experts and lawmakers dictate how we do our jobs and what we should teach. That's not right!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining: A Tale of Three Cities' Locals

As a part of my daily morning routine to skim various online newspapers, magazines, and blogs, on the front page of Huffington Post's Education page was this headline:

Union leader to Michelle Rhee: "We invite you to work with us"

My immediate reactions were WHY, RANDI WHY? OMG! UGH!

While I shouldn't be surprised by this, AFT President Randi Weingarten rather offered an olive branch to Rhee than mobilized her base for an inevitable fight against her and the other ed deformers. On too many occasions, Rhee has consistently made it known she has no interest in working with teachers unions like AFT in reforming education. The kind gesture wasn't necessary, Randi! Trying to play "the good guy" here isn't working for you, Randi! In fact, it makes us more vulnerable to scapegoating and look weaker. This appeasing efforts of yours, Randi, can be easily equated with President Obama as he is currently seeking to "make-a-deal" on extending tax cuts for the rich with GOP Congressional leaders, all of whom made it known they are seeking to end his presidency in 2012. I can't tell how much you and Obama continue to disappoint me!

Thank God for a silver lining!
On a local level in three cities, union leaders are winning battles as each of these locals are "cleaning house" by ushering in new leadership:
Therefore, the moral of the story is CHANGE MUST BEGIN FROM THE BOTTOM UP! Even within our teacher unions, there is a need for change as our leaders, especially at the national level, are compromising our interests for the sake of getting along with the powerful and wealthy ed deformers. They are not willing to keep the peace; so why should we? Our unions need leadership which reflects that. As eloquently, yet concisely stated by education blogger William Ferriter in his HuffPost-Education blog entry last week:

Teacher working conditions are students learning conditions.

Despite what the ed deformers say, most teachers are not seeking a lucrative career in which they will have for life. Instead, we are looking for ways
  1. To protect teachers from arbitrary termination via due process rights; 
  2. To improve school culture and physical conditions that foster learning in a safe environment; and  
  3. To enhance the professional image of teaching by meaningful professional development, attractive salaries and benefits, teacher leadership opportunities, and collegiality among teachers
These are the fundamental precepts that teachers unions should always fight for in ensuring that every child receives a quality education in an adequate school setting. If union leaders fail to adhere to the fundamentals, then they needed to be booted out!

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