Monday, September 7, 2009
Teachers in South Central choked on their coffee this morning while reading today's editorial in the L.A. Times. We are pleased that this important conveyor of information realizes that the elimination of unions, especially in professional fields such as teaching, is to the detriment of all Americans.
You cannot turn teachers into cheap labor. None of today's leaders (or editors at major newspapers) were educated by "dispensable commodities." Why should we condemn today's children to be educated by people who see teaching as a paycheck, on the road to bigger or better jobs? Will people with school aged children or grandchildren really feel comfort and security knowing their children are in good hands when the instructor is a 23 year old whose only knowledge of the teaching profession is a 40 hour boot camp that focuses on crunching the numbers of the periodic assessments? Or, on the first day of school, do they want to entrust the care of their precious child to a person for whom teaching is their chosen profession, their craft, their passion, and whose commitment to children and education is an unwritten social contract that doesn't compare to that of privatized educational company employees? I think we all know the answer to that.
One bone to pick with this editorial is the contention that unions have been against reform. Could it be that any said opposition (no one ever mentions what actual reform was opposed) was motivated by a better understanding of students than say..a newspaper reporter or politician? Or that teachers in the classroom can tell you off the bat whether a reform will really work, or not?
LAT isn't off the hook yet, though. The role it played in the passage of the Yolie-Flores Aguilar motion is evident to anyone who keeps up with education politics in L.A. First, you demean an entire profession by focusing your reporting on the less than 1% of teachers who have been accused of wrongdoing, then you sing the praises of one public school that turned charter (minimizing their equally low scores and unsustainable funding), and finally you endorse the proposal to hand over control of a significant number of public schools to private operators. I wonder if when Villaraigosa boasted of having six votes in his pocket, he already felt he had public opinion behind him thanks to LAT? Teachers will wait and see if LAT truly means the words written today.
And finally, this editorial explains that long-held rancor of the LAT towards unions. We're sorry your building got burned down in the early 20th century, almost 100 years ago, courtesy of anarchists/union rogues. But you are right to assert that job protection and security is pivotal to the health and well-being of the teaching profession. In the classroom, it is a beautiful thing to see when a child reaches his moment of understanding. Today was a beautiful morning.