Teacher unions are not reformers or student advocates, despite what the striking teachers in L.A. would have us believe. As Jason L. Riley writes in the WSJ, “Teachers unions are unions first.”
Their real agenda—their only agenda—is to protect their members by any means possible. No matter what those picket signs said, the unions weren’t helping students. They were using them.
On Strike for Better Wages, Benefits
When the United Auto Workers walk off the job, no one pretends that they are acting in the interests of car buyers. Everyone knows union members want better wages, benefits, working conditions and job protections, and going on strike is an effective way to exert pressure on employers.
AFT President Randi Weingarten wrote, “Everything teachers are demanding would strengthen public schools,” adding that the strike is about “ensuring that all public schools have the conditions they need for student success.”
Only Public Schools that Employ Union Members
Ms. Weingarten’s reference to “all public schools” is misleading. She really means all public schools that employ union members. Public charter schools, which are mostly nonunionized and growing rapidly in the city, don’t count in her estimation.
Families Fleeing Union-Run Schools
Charters now enroll about 20% of public school students in Los Angeles, up from 12% seven years ago, and curbing the expansion of schools that don’t employ their members has long been a major priority of teachers unions.
58% of Students Unable to Read at Grade Level
The Los Angeles Times reports that only 42% of the district’s students can read at grade level, and math proficiency is an even lower 32%. Families are fleeing union-run schools, so labor leaders are trying to block the exits. Whether students benefit from more school choice is not something that concerns teachers unions. They care whether their members benefit.
Read more here.