The Los Angeles teachers union (the same teachers who have staged walk-outs on their own students) is now boycotting the LA Times for "publishing a series of articles that uses student test scores to estimate the effectiveness of district teachers."
It's funny, isn't it? Teachers are teaching to the tests, saying how important these tests are, and judging their students by these tests... but they cannot take their own medicine. OK, even if they have a valid disagreement with testing (sure, I'll bite-- no one, including the students and teachers, can or should be judged by test scores alone, though it is one acceptable part of the puzzle), how about dealing with it more proactively instead of so negatively? LAUSD needs to be saved from being one of the very worst school districts in the country (this is an established fact, not an opinion). The teachers union is not being proactive about this problem.
It just seems that the union protects a broken education system and is loath to make the truly drastic changes it needs to make. I am sure most of its members have their hearts in the right place, but the leadership and system is protecting bad teachers. Unions are supposed to protect the good workers. Teachers, in turn, are supposed to do what helps their students.
These are the facts that the LA Weekly reporters uncovered about the LAUSD's poor performing teachers. And if you are wondering why it costs so much to fire an ineffective teacher, and why, in the end, it's almost impossible to fire even a proven bad teacher, it's because the teachers union protects poor performing teachers and makes any challenges against them too costly to pursue:
"In the past decade, LAUSD officials spent $3.5 million trying to fire just seven of the district’s 33,000 teachers for poor classroom performance — and only four were fired, during legal struggles that wore on, on average, for five years each. Two of the three others were paid large settlements, and one was reinstated. The average cost of each battle is $500,000.
During our investigation, in which we obtained hundreds of documents using the California Public Records Act, we also discovered that 32 underperforming teachers were initially recommended for firing, but then secretly paid $50,000 by the district, on average, to leave without a fight. Moreover, 66 unnamed teachers are being continually recycled through a costly mentoring and retraining program but failing to improve, and another 400 anonymous teachers have been ordered to attend the retraining."
In today's LA Times, the union has stated that it has its own method for handling poor performing teachers-- a retraining program. The very same, costly, ineffective one that the LA Weekly has uncovered.
I think the teachers union needs new leadership and a new, less negatively focused purpose. Hey, what if our school kids formed their own union to protect student rights and needs? What if grade school students performed walk-outs and boycotted tests? What would the teachers union say to that? I know, the state of California protects the rights of school children. Perhaps they are tired of fighting the teachers union. Too costly to fight? What do you think?