I know unions have their shortcomings and I know some unions have been agents of stasis, but I see more positives than negatives, especially in my local. Here is a quick brainstorming list of why I approve of my union (state and local):
- My local uses interest-based bargaining, so both sides win something and no enemies are created.
- I don’t believe teachers are worse today than teachers 30 years ago; thus, my union protects me from baseless attacks.
- I don’t have the advantages of private schools and charter schools, and my union advocates for me.
- My local union has no problem pointing out that society has changed greatly, which creates many of today’s challenges.
- My union has stopped ridiculous legislation that could put excellent teachers at risk.
- I know how much levy equalization helps my students, and my union fights for it.
- My union fights to have the state fully fund education (still working on this one).
- Bad administrators don’t get rid of bad teachers, and my union points this out.
- Research shows time and again that relying on standardized testing is not a good backbone for education, and the union presents this repeatedly.
- My union protects my pay, working conditions, and benefits.
- Great teachers, not others in the system, have the greatest impact on student learning, and my union knows this.
- My union points out what I need as a classroom teacher to be successful.
Ok, ok. I know unions aren’t perfect, but I do know that in a time when budgets are cut and teachers are attacked daily, my union is fighting for me.
Now, we just need to avoid making too many concessions. You hear me WEA?