Civic leaders in Cincinnati get it: Teachers union contracts can stifle educational improvement
The Sunday print edition of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Enquirer has a rather remarkable letter to the community from a host of the area’s civic leaders.
This “Letter to the Community from Strive Partnership” pulls no punches about how the current contract between the teachers union and the Cincinnati Public School System (CPS) “continues many of the failed policies of the past.”
The letter lists some of those failed policies. These include:
• Rewarding “…teachers for seniority while ignoring the success or failure of their students,”
• Restricting “…the superintendent’s ability to create innovative alternative schools,” and
• The fact that “…teacher transfer and placement processes prevent schools from assembling the best possible instructional teams.”
It’s good to see that so many civic leaders understand these issues and are willing to speak out publicly, with their names included, in such a frank letter.
It really is time for teachers’ unions everywhere, and that definitely includes Kentucky, to step up to their responsibilities. Teachers unions represent professionals, not factory workers. That requires some changes in union leaders’ thinking if we are ever to see new standards that will grow the performance and prestige of this absolutely critical profession while insuring that the members of the profession are treated fairly.
School system denies 70 percent of parent requests to avoid onerous busing plan
Now, the Courier-Journal reports that 70 percent of parent requests for transfers out of the busing chaos, about 1,200 of them, have been turned down.
Instead, Kindergarten and first grade students will be forced to ride buses up to an hour each way to school, sometimes having to negotiate a bus transfer in the process.
And, parents with legitimate hardship situations are really upset.
For example, Brandy Schad doesn’t think she got treated fairly. Schad’s husband has Crohn’s disease and Schad tried to get her son assigned to a school where the family could get help when her husband was hospitalized, which apparently happens frequently and without warning.
Now Schad is interested in joining the growing lawsuit against the busing plan. As of July 12th, a total of five parents were interested in joining the suit. Now, the Courier reports the count of parents seeking to join the suit is up to eight.
The really sad part of all of this is that just throwing different kids into a low-achieving school isn’t likely to improve education in that facility. It’s just going to wreck the lives of different children. If Jefferson County schools would get serious about improving the performance of its schools, then the pressure to bus would pretty much go away.
And, I just can’t see any caring parent of any race getting excited about their child being forced to spend two hours on a school bus every single day. Whether that bus is headed to Louisville’s upscale Eastern end or its urban Western section, after an hour ride the kids are going to arrive at the school door already tired, bored, and not in much of a mood for learning.
1- Public Transit – The Cato Institute takes a look at the disproportionate percentage between spending and usage of public transportation over the last 40 years.
2 – Operation: Open Records 2010 – We have updated many of the records requests on the Open Records 2010 Portal. We are working to promote transparency and accountability in Kentucky government. Check out these requests and their responses!
3 – Closing in on a milestone! – FreedomKentucky.org is closing in on 1,000,000 visits!
4 – The Economics of the left: Unemployment Benefits create jobs – Check out this blog post about the myth of unemployment benefits helping to cure the unemployment problem.
5 – Friedman on Government and the Poor.
The Bluegrass Institute is hosting a “What would Friedman do?” lecture at the University of Louisville on July 30, 2010. Learn more here.
Kevin Jackson was the keynote speaker at FreedomFest in Frankfort, Kentucky on July 10, 2010. Here he is speaking about the current political climate, race, and the need to return to the founding ideas and values of our nation.
See more Bluegrass Institute videos here.