Once upon a time, in this country, early in the last century hoards of Italians, (like me!), Irish, German, Jewish peoples and more descended on this land in search of something better. From the schools to the sweatshops, they took jobs that paid little and demanded much. Haste, greed and neglect soon became the norm in the American workforce. Labor unions stepped, to collectively support and advance the rights of people to work and be given adequate wages, benefits and a quality environment. It was great, when it was needed.
Today those same unions -- in this case in education -- no longer protect people who are being abused, neglected, forced to work 15-hour days with no break for food or bathroom. Because of enlightened leaders, workers and yes, labor's past contributions, today we and our institutions are protected. Those protections however, may have swung too far past the original intentions. For when it comes to teachers unions, protections now are all about labor not product.
Consider the attack by the United Federation of Teachers of New York in successfully challenging a new state evaluation system that would allow schools, parents and the public to know for certain if the people teaching our kids actually is successful at it!
The national unions have been fighting efforts to allow parents to turnaround failing schools. They oppose California's parent trigger law and have well-documented tools for members who succeeded in squashing a similar proposal in Connecticut. The unions not only oppose real performance evaluations and parent choice but even standards and testing, funding teachers to rally in Washington over efforts to hold schools accountable.
This is what labor unions have become?
Movies have been done, books written, and hundreds of thousands of blogs, tweets, and news articles on the same subject.
This Labor Day -- which most Americans simply use as a needed day off before the annual renewal of the post-summer work period and back to school season -- let's resolve to change the system that once was needed but is no more. All of our great labors day in and day out aside, our schools and public institutions need the right to put results and effort first.