A Fox News article from July 14, 2012 discusses how the high salaries of teachers’ union leaders are drawing jeers – from the very teachers those unions supposedly represent.
It looks like rank and file members within the education community are not happy.
Fox quotes teacher Kristi LaCroix, an English teacher from Kenosha, Wisconsin, sounding a lot like me when she says of her union’s leaders:
“They want us to be seen as laborers and not professionals. I get nothing for my dues except them going to keeping (sic) ineffective teachers employed and treated like a servant.”
Certainly, we have seen evidence that the Kentucky Education Association and its local affiliates have not always operated in ways that are consistent with treating teachers as professionals.
A classic example was when the union contract in Louisville interfered with restaffing of that city’s Persistently Low-Achieving Schools with experienced teachers. See pages 36 to 37 in Kentucky LRC Research Report 377 for more on how union’s self-interests were placed in front of the needs of Louisville’s children.
Page 15 in the same LRC report points out that the Kentucky Education Association “is not an advocate of merit pay for highly effective teachers or differential pay for teachers of hard-to-staff subjects.” That teachers-as-one-size-fits-all sort of factory worker mentality makes it hard for Kentucky to attract enough good teachers to those demanding assignments.
Kentucky needs a change. It’s time for its teachers’ union leaders to start thinking and acting like representatives of professionals, not factory floor workers.
I sense that, and it looks like working teachers are starting to recognize the disconnect between their profession and their union, as well.