Rather than cede education reform to politicians who portray unions as obstacles to good schooling, teacher’s unions offer their own solutions to closing the student achievement gap.
In New Jersey, Governor Christie claimed the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) prioritized job security above good teaching.
The NJEA’s response? Changes in the tenure process to winnow badly performing teachers from the rest by using “nationally certified arbitrators” instead of administrative law judges to rule on firings, stepped-up efforts to fund innovative programs initiated by teachers, a push for laws that expand oversight/accountability of public charters, and the launch of union-sponsored charters (Full summary here (pdf).)
In addition, the union proposes that New Jersey support expanded preschool and all-day kindergarten. Particularly savvy is the link the NJEA will draw between excellent schools and property values, and the role of teachers’ unions in maintaining high quality schools.
Meanwhile, UTLA, the teacher’s union for LAUSD professionals, has embraced teacher-led reform since long before Mayor Villaraigosa’s recent condemnation of unions as obstructionist and upholding the status-quo.