The Effects of Unions on Schools

If you haven’t noticed, society is not too fond of unions. Yet many states require workers to be part of one as to secure themselves. As it was explained to me in school, unions originally were supposed to serve the purpose of securing valuable jobs. What unions do now is the same, but if you have ever questioned why such a bad teacher was not fired, chances are, it’s because unions made it harder for officials to do so.

Teachers join together in Vancouver to protest for better working conditions. (photo by Caelie_Frampton)

Regardless of where a student is at, it is imperative that students would be different if given a different teacher. These teachers could adversely effect the students both positively and negatively. It is in this way that teaching well becomes a necessary good. It is a shame that a profession of teaching is revered as unskillful and that any states at all must protect teacher wages with unions. The protection for their wages is called tenure, which basically states that after a certain amount of time, a teaching job is relatively sealed and permanent. One of the aspects of tenure is that it protects teachers who can not teach adequately. According to teachersunionexposed, only one in every one thousand teachers are fired for poor performance, while, for example, one of every ninety-seven lawyers loses their license to practice.

Why is it that our society would not hire a plumber who didn’t know how to plumb, but we allow teachers to teach for the future of our society poorly? If society is using logic, why is that acceptable? Teaching should be based on skill just like any other job, and truthfully, it is not easy. Not everyone can do what a teacher does. Teachers are not adequately paid regardless of their skills because of groups such as teacher unions.

Ultimately, it is the students that suffer. City-journal states that, “ In the final analysis, no school reform can accomplish much if it does not focus on the quality of the basic unit of education—that human interaction between an adult and a group of children that we call teaching. The big teachers’ unions, through the straitjacket of work rules that their contracts impose, inexorably subvert that fundamental encounter.” There will always be a large amount of people willing to teach, however, if they are not of substance, what good are they to students? The students would not learn the same from teacher A than teacher B.

Unions, though having the intent of good, do not necessarily benefit those who complete their jobs adequately. As quoted from my high school economics teacher, “I know I will always have a job as a teacher. If you ask me why, I will say that it’s because I do my job well. Better than other teachers, perhaps worse than others, but I will always do my job well.” Thankfully for him, he does not have to pay labor union fees, as Florida is a Right to Work state. However, others aren’t as lucky. For a quick briefing of your rights to work, click here.

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