Occam’s razor: LIFO and tenure are about making teachers cheap, that’s it. Case closed. #ctustrike

I challenge anyone, anyone in the world, to read this short, insightful piece from Truth-Out and tell me that eliminating tenure protections, due process, and LIFO is NOT about “proletarianizing” the teaching profession in order to make things cheaper, and and and, allowing the “conservative” wet dream of vouchers more palatable.

Then, considering how unbelievably misguided this all is, tell me why it is more appropriate to spend millions on political campaigns to end tenure, LIFO, and collective bargaining when those monies could be used to feed and clothe impoverished students so they are ready to learn.

I’m looking for anything, any justification. I can tell you there are none.


  1. First, complaining about wasting money on a political campaign instead of spending it on students is a cheap shot. Imagine if the millions spent on union bureaucrats was instead spent on students. Imagine if the days spent striking were spent teaching. Imagine if union dues were used to feed the hungry…

    Second, do you really not get that there are parents who genuinely believe that LIFO is keeping terrible teachers in the classroom? I’m not yet a parent, but my motive is my brother. I have absolutely no ulterior motives. I don’t work for a charter school or for-profit school. 5 years ago, my younger brother had a class with a teacher who showed up about 70% of the time and played movies when she did show up. That was when she wasn’t busy belittling the students. I spoke to the principal who said he wanted to fire her for 10 years, but the union won’t let him. LIFO, job security, tenure…

    Until teachers’ unions stop prioritizing teacher job security over ensuring quality education in the classroom, there will be a battle between well meaning parents and the union.


    1. This is not a zero sum game, days spent striking does not necessarily mean a loss of learning overall. Additionally, I can’t imagine students were doing much learning in dilapidated facilities.

      Look, we can have conversations about “bad teachers” when we’ve given teachers and students the conditions where they can perform the best. If you examine private schools, they have all been given the resources they need at school and in the home to do their best and they perform their best. When we do that, if all things are indeed equal, then we can certainly have a conversation about evaluations based on test scores. I’m still not going to agree, but we’ve at least crossed the crushing conditions of poverty off our list.

      There are examples of unprofessionalism. I get you there, just like in all professions. But teachers have been historically the doormat of all professions. They have been beaten the hell out of in the press. Without certain union protections, I can’t even imagine what would have resulted. Essentially, this is being spun by management and capital as a fight between the public and private employee. What the public employee gets does not take away from what the private employee gets. Just because a teacher gets certain benefits does not injure you or anyone else. The idea is not to demand that promises made to educators are withdrawn. The idea is for private employees to pressure their bosses, like Wal-Mart, to provide them fair wages and working conditions.

      Perhaps public employees have some advantage that they can vote folks out of office who don’t have their interests in mind. But a Board of Directors or CEO cannot necessarily be voted out. It takes tremendous amounts of consumer pressure to change things. Private companies have done terrible things to their workers, exploiting them in the US and around the world. Every $200 iPhone we purchase is exploitative to workers somewhere. To keep costs down, companies have destroyed the environment, destroyed communities, and ruined lives. Public unions can prevent exploitation and increase the health and welfare of their members. Rather than begrudging unions for their victories, go and argue for your own victories in what you do. If you’re too lazy and hopeless to do that, then you get what you deserve.


  2. I think there are other nefarious reasons for attacking permanence. Like making it look like you are powerful in a tough-guy, macho kind of way and not tolerating “bad” teachers. The American public loves the cowboy politician.


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