On my way out of town yesterday on business I listened to this radio interview. Davis Guggenheim is the producer of an important new documentary “Waiting for Superman.” Its got the teacher’s unions riled up and several annoyed teachers phoned in to whine about his beating teachers up. As he took pains to explain he has nothing but sympathy for the challenges teachers face.
Perhaps my biggest gripe about teachers in union controlled schools is their unwillingness to accept the idea that changing the school system they work in could make schools infinitely better for children.
Schools can work much better and can probably do so without burning out teachers, although that is the challenge. Unions do seem to stand in the way of reform and generally advocate throwing more money at teachers as the solution to all out problems. I think Duluth teachers have been ill served, even sold out, by their union which deferred to the construction trades who were desperate for work no matter what the Red Plan would do for our schools and to the teachers.
Guggenheim mentions “thin contracts” a great idea in my view. Laments the Unions attempting to kill off the confrontational new Washington DC Superintendent of schools and has lots of excellent observations about how some charters (about one in five he says) and KIPP schools are paving the way to a Renaissance in public education. Its worth a listen.