I have served as a building principal for 13 years in two different states...one that did not allow unions and one that did . I have never heard this point discussed on any talk show, either Progressive of Conservative. I would love for your producer to contact me so that we could have an extended conversation on this issue.
I have my M.S. degree from the University of Houston with a concentration in item statistics and tests and measurement. My focus as a principal has always been on student acheivement. I also have 36 hours of post-graduate study to qualify for the Texas Superintendent Certification. I am a serious guy.
My major point is this: When unions enter the workplace in schools, the focus turns from what is best for the students to what is best for the teachers. In Texas, when a teacher, or a parent, or anyone else came to me for an idea for changing something, my first question to them was "Is it good for the kids?". Usually their response was a positive one. When the same situation occured in Colorado, and I asked the same question, I was usually met with a "deer in the headlights" look and a stuttering reply that it might be, but it would definitly be better for the staff.
This is wrong. Schools exist for the benefit of the students not the benefit of the staff. If you disagree with this, please.....let us talk about it!
Another result of the presence of Unions in the workplace is an incredibly high incidence of teacher turnover. In Colorado, any teacher who recieves his fourth consequtive contract is considered "tenured." As a result, school districts are hesitant to renew a teacher for that fourth year as the are effectively "marrying" that teacher. The most talented and innovated teachesr are often dismissed before his fourth year because their innovative and "out of the box" thinking is threatening to the status quo....whether it be administrative, parental, or school board related.
One year after I was released, mostly because I was such a threat as a supervisor to the staus quo, my wife was non-renewed for the first time in her 30+ year career, even though she produced the best state test results in the history of the school district. This move was announced to us on the last day of school and came as a complete surprise. All acceptable actions under the "collective bargaining agreement" between the teachers and the school district.
These two items are the most negative influences of the presence of unions in schools. I would love to discuss these with you on the air so that your vast audience could benefit from the discussion.
John Johnson, Parachute, CO, 970 309 7418