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(35,125 posts)
2. Yeah.
Sat Aug 17, 2013, 02:54 PM
Aug 2013

I have mixed feelings about the teacher's union.

The steelworkers' union my parents belonged to never went on strike with the claim they wanted to make higher quality steel. They never wildcatted to increase the amount or the adherence to specifications. Never did they claim to have the steel's interest at hearts, nor to be fighting for the consumer of steel.

They struck for higher wages, safer conditions, more benefits, more control over their own schedules, more representation, or lighter workloads.

The teachers' unions I see always claim something like the first: They strike for higher quality education, they strike for better teaching, they strike with the children's interest at heart and to help the parents. But in the end they usually actually demand higher wages, on occasion safer conditions, more benefits, more control over their lives, more representation, and lighter workloads.

Sometimes there's a direct connection: Lighter workload can = fewer students; among low SES students fewer students = easier classroom management = more engagement and that allows greater learning.

Sometimes the connection psychic and can never be uttered. "Pay me more and I will work harder. Yes, I said that last time, but I sort of slacked off." For many teachers it's not an accurate connection. Pay them more and they won't work harder; they're already maxed out.

In some cases it's true--then again, I know a teacher making $80k/year, wife also works, and they're just scraping by on $150k/year so he mows lawns evenings and weekends to supplement his wages. I'd like more money. I'm a teacher. On the other hand, I'd really rather my current pay increase went for other things--more equipment in the classroom, another teacher so I have more planning time, possibly textbooks.

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