. . . the UFT is an advocate for teachers . . . The UFT is not there to protect education or to insure excellence in the classroom.
The UFT . . . Their job is to protect us, not the students.
. . . when students start paying dues, that's when the union will start representing them.
These are lifted from teachers’ comments over at a NYC Educator post where they were lamenting what they considered to be a teacher-bashing New Yorker magazine essay about the infamous ”rubber room”. Most readers would probably agree that this piece was not kind in its treatment of NYC teachers.
Although I certainly don’t fault these teachers for their candor, it did surprise me a bit. I rarely see this type of honesty from educators, where they openly admit that the union’s goal is to protect the teachers, not the students. Interestingly, on their website the UFT claims it is “an advocate for public school students”. Now, some would argue that protected teachers = well-educated students, but I would disagree that it works out that way all the time or even most of the time.
On the other hand, there is no doubt in my mind that the overriding goal of parents is to protect their children. Parents want to insure excellence in the classroom for their children. Let’s be clear, although unions and parents are often supportive of each other, in many ways this is an adversarial model at work, with each side protecting its own interests. I would like this to be uppermost in the minds of all involved in education reform efforts, especially whenever the unions agree to participate with disingenuous claims that it’s all “for the children”.
As we at KTM have been saying for years, parents should not be shut out of the education debate. If teacher unions, politicians and education bureaucrats are the only ones allowed a place at the table, how likely is it that our children’s interests will be prioritized as they should be? Parents, specialists in the various disciplines and other interested parties should be included in order for there to be any chance for a fair and productive resolution of our nation’s education crisis.