teachers union

teachers union

Mitt Romney Speaks Against Teachers Unions

Members of teachers unions across the nation will probably not be voting for Mitt Romney if it comes down to him and President Obama in November. Romney recently announced plans to push back against these unions if he is elected president later this year.

“But the role I see that ought to remain in the president’s agenda with regards to education is to push back against the federal teachers unions,” Romney said. “Those federal teachers unions have too much power, in some cases, they overwhelm the states, they overwhelm the local school districts. We have got to put the kids first and put these teachers unions behind.”

Romney also hinted at his plan to combine the Department of Education with other governmental agencies.

It might seem that Romney’s plan is a strong contrast to Obama’s policies concerning education, all of which have aimed to improve the quality of education that students in the U.S. receive. However, he doesn’t seem to think so. Read the rest of this entry »

Students Voice Their Outrage at Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street Sign: "Save Our Schools"At a time when high unemployment coincides with an all-time high in student debt, it’s unsurprising that students are an important demographic at the Occupy Wall Street (#OWS) protests. According to the New York Times, over 20 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed, and of those who do have jobs nearly a third have positions that do not require a college degree. These conditions are symptoms of an ailing economy, which the protesters argue has been exacerbated–if not caused–by Wall Street institutions. Some have remarked that #OWS has galvanized young people more effectively than existing labor unions, perhaps due to the inclusive nature of the protests and its anti-leadership mentality.

On Wednesday October 5th, a major walk-out joined students with other protesters at Foley Square, followed by a march to Zuccotti park, often referred to by its former name, Liberty Square. The demonstration attracted students of all ages from a diverse range of institutions. High school students from around the city marched side-by-side with college students from the CUNY and SUNY systems, Columbia University, The New School, New York University, Cooper Union and many others.

The coordination of campuses across the city with major labor unions was not only an important moment for students expressing solidarity with each other, but also for the #OWS movement as a whole. Students at all levels have found institutional support from teachers unions and university professors. The United Federation of Teachers is supporting the movement, along with other major union groups. According to The Occupied Wall Street Journal, a crowd-funded newspaper, 137 faculty members marched from The New School alone.

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Catholic Teachers Return to Class After Two-Week Strike

Association of Catholic Teachers Union LogoTuesday was the first day of class in two weeks for some Catholic students in the Philadelphia area. The Association of Catholic Teachers Local 1776,  negotiated for several months, went on a two-week strike and finally reached an agreement on Sunday night.

With 17 schools and 16,500 students in the area, the strike affected a large part of the high school population.

“Our teachers could not be happier to head back into the classrooms,” Rita Schwartz said, union president. “We have been waiting a long time for this day, and we are relieved that it’s finally here. Now it’s time to get back to the real work which is educating our students.”

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The NEA Supports President Obama’s Campaign for Re-Election in 2012

In early July, 2011, the National Education Association did something a year earlier that no one expected them to do. It was not an overhaul of the public education system nor was it the passing of a new rule that would improve the quality of school lunches. No, instead, the NEA publicly announced their endorsement of President Obama for re-election in 2012.

Representing more than 3,000,000 teachers, the NEA is the largest teachers’ union in the USA. The president of the NEA, Dennis Van Roekel, feels confident that supporting President Obama for re-election will make the organization’s members happy. He feels that the President “shares our vision for a stronger America.”

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Wisconsin Teachers Protest Over Budget Cuts

Wisconsin Governor

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Scott Walker, new Republican governor of Wisconsin, proposed a budged that triggered a massive protest in Madison today. The budget cuts include making public workers pay more for health insurance, which will reduce take-home pay for many by about seven percent. Walker also wants to strip unions of much of their collective bargaining power. He says the measure is necessary to make up the $137 million deficit.

Thousands of teachers attended the protests, one estimate said that 40 percent of the state’s educators came to the capitol. Many schools were forced to close as teachers took a sick day to attend the protests. Some who are against the cuts are concerned that education will suffer if the school systems loses teachers. “Nobody got into this because they were going to get rich, but they did think they would get treated fairly,” Wisconsin Education Association Council President Mary Bell told Channel 3000.

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NYC Teachers Sue Over Political Expression

Here’s an interesting issue.  According to the New York Times, the New York City teacher’s union is suing because teachers have been forbidden from wearing political buttons and displaying political signs on the job.  The union feels this is a violation of the teachers’ right to freedom of expression.  However, the school system feels that teachers have an obligation to maintain a strict sense of neutrality in the classroom when it comes to politics.

I tend to side with the teachers’ union on this issue — but I can certainly see both sides.  On the one hand, teachers have a right to free speech just like everybody else.  Teachers have an obligation to make sure their students feel 100% comfortable speaking their own minds about opinions, even if they don’t agree with the teacher — but that doesn’t mean that the teacher can’t express an opinion of his or her own.  This kind of open exchange of ideas teaches kids to participate in an intelligent and open minded way in political discussions, which is an important skill for learning to be a citizen. Read the rest of this entry »


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