Tag archive for teachers unions

California unions target business-friendly Dems

Last week’s study by the Tax Foundation rated California’s tax system the third most anti-business in the country. Other studies have ranked California’s business climate even lower. So it’s not surprising that some business-friendly Democrats are gaining traction by making the case that California needs …

More on Chicago teachers strike

I’ve written an op-ed for cnn.com on the Chicago teachers strike, focusing on the larger issue that goes well beyond what’s happening in Chicago–namely, that the key decisions about education in this country are heavily shaped by the power of special interests.

Here is the url:

California teachers want to collectively bargain accountability standards

I’ve written here before about California’s AB 5, the proposed law that the all-powerful California Teachers Association is attempting to use as a vessel for union control of teacher evaluations. With the Golden State coming up against its deadline to pass legislation tomorrow, there is a mad dash to get the bill to Jerry Brown’s desk in time. If that happens, the consequences for California’s schoolchildren will be dire

California teachers union attempting to manipulate accountability standards

California lawmakers should be reading their Ralph Waldo Emerson. There’s a great bon mot from the transcendentalist author — “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.” — which bears on the future of education in the Golden State. When the California Teachers Association — the enormously powerful union that resists teacher accountability at every turn  — gets behind a bill that claims to implement performance measures for educators, you know it’s too good to be true.

The S&P and public pension funds

Recent trends on Wall Street, where stock prices have been jitterbugging for a while now, do not auger well for public pension funds with fiscal years ending June 30.  Most funds are clinging to an 8 percent projected rate of return, but the S&P 500 …

Teachers unions on declining membership: “Things will never go back to the way they were”

During speaking engagements and media appearances for my recent City Journal piece on the depredations of the California Teachers Association — the Golden State’s most powerful teachers union — one particular question came up with metronomic regularity: how do we diminish the power that unions have to set education policy in America? My answer was twofold — through public policy changes that diminish union power and through consumer mechanisms that allow parents to bypass union monopolies altogether. Based on a report appearing in today’s USA Today, it appears as though the combination of precisely those factors is already starting to enervate the nation’s largest teachers union.

L.A. Schools solve personnel problems by compounding fiscal ones

The Los Angeles Unified School District is to be praised for the seriousness with which it’s attempting to address its personnel problems. As I chronicled here, the district was caught flat-footed earlier this year when a scandal involving a teacher sexually abusing students revealed that, under the terms of a contract negotiated with United Teachers Los Angeles (the local union), complaints against educators that don’t result in disciplinary action are disregarded after only a few years (unsurprisingly, the teacher in question had a long paper trail). In reaction, the district has now initiated a massive audit of teacher personnel records … but the cost at which it’s doing so is truly phenomenal.

The impossibility of firing a California teacher

In my recent City Journal piece chronicling the depravity of the California Teachers Association, I pointed out that the CTA’s influence on the process by which the state’s public school teachers get fired has made it virtually impossible to remove educators for almost any reason. For insights into why, see this stunning chart linked to in Larry Sand’s excellent new City Journal California piece, showing exactly how byzantine the process of attempting to fire an underperforming teacher is

In San Francisco, struggling schools hit hardest by seniority-based layoffs

The decline of California’s public education system — once one of the country’s finest, now near the bottom in most national rankings — owes to a wide variety of wayward public policy choices. One that has a particularly deleterious effect on some of the Golden State’s worst schools is the practice of laying off teachers by seniority, so that the most junior instructors are the first to be relieved of their employment, regardless of classroom performance. This is particularly noxious for underperforming urban campuses, where young, energetic teachers (often with special training) tend to be the only instructors capable of turning around flagging institutions. Now, in San Francisco, precisely that kind of progress is being snuffed out through union opposition.

2012: Year of the urban fiscal crisis

Last year was marked by crises in state government public finance. This year is shaping up to be the year of urban fiscal crises. As my colleagues on this blog have been covering the major stories are from places such as Stockton and San Diego, California and Yonkers, New York. This is because many states balanced their budgets last year by pushing the pain down onto localities. Those decisions are now hitting home.

The battle between big city mayors, most of whom are Democrats, and public employees unions is therefore heating up. So far this has been primarily a battle between mayors and teachers unions, which is not surprising since teachers are often a majority of government employees in many jurisdictions. The battles have been taking place in Newark, Cleveland, Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Battles between mayors and teachers unions can be epic. And mayors often lose.