Doesn’t Debate Require More Than One Point of View?

When you see a op-ed headline that reads, “Teachers Union Battles Powerful Interests,” you can be sure of two things: 1) it was written by an officer or employee of a teachers’ union; and 2) it will contain a few howlers.

And so it is with the Hartford Courant piece penned by Connecticut Education Association president Phil Apruzzese and executive director Mary Loftus Levine – authors of the “we are not happy when you publicly disagree with us” doctrine. There is a lot to chew on in their editorial, but my favorite was this:

The substitute bill recognizes that teacher contracts improve student learning and help attract high-quality teachers to low-performing schools. States and nations that have some of the best schools have unions that are afforded a well-deserved voice. Think Massachusetts. Think Germany and Finland.

Now is the time, more than ever, for teachers to be part of the discussion and debate.

Apruzzese and Loftus Levine are referring to the legislation they helped craft in a closed-door meeting with Democrats on the education committee. Neither legislative Republicans, school administrators, parents, nor anyone else was invited to this private session, which was held in an office building near the Capitol to avoid press attention.

And the “strong unions = better schools” argument works better when you cherry-pick your examples. Think Massachusetts, but don’t think California or Hawaii. Think Germany and Finland, but don’t think Mexico and Greece.

In the interest of collaboration, let’s all agree that “powerful interests” have too much influence over education policy. It makes you think our legislators are for sale.