August 2, 2006

Why teacher unions

Leo Casey has a great autobiographical entry on his entry into union activism. Hat tip to Sara Mead. Leo finishes with a discussion about the intertwining of teachers' and students' lives and contrasting that fact with claims that teachers and unions are only about material self-interest.

Reframing the self-interest claim would be healthy for the education policy debate. As the person who conducted my coaching certification class earlier this summer noted, few who volunteer to coach youth sports do it "for the kids." Or at least he was skeptical. Unless any of my readers put in the weakest kids at a critical point in the game, I think you'd have to admit most youth sports coaches like to win. They also want to think of themselves as being "for the kids." That need to reconcile one's actions with one's ideals is also a matter of self-interest, and it's a powerful motivator. Too bad we don't see the analysis of different levels of self-interest all that often in education politics. But we don't, because the phrase is used as rhetoric to attempt to delegitimize one's opponents, not as a tool fo analysis.

Listen to this article
Posted in Education policy on August 2, 2006 7:25 PM |