That's the system we work in
Many moons ago, I wrote about the 10 Most Annoying People on Staff. Here's what I wrote about the fourth person:
4. The Union Thug--As soon as the clock hits 2:30, he's gone. You won't seem him until 7:00 a.m. If the principal has a new idea that might solve some problems, it has to be a violation of the contract. Nothing this person does is an action of his own. He is a follower at all cost. He is the reason why the outside world rags on teachers anytime we complain about pay. The building rep is on his speed dial, and there is no convincing him to budge a millimeter--it is the difference between being respected and taken advantage of.
This week the Union Thugs have been out in force. I dared to challenge the establishment, the system that we operate in and always have operated in.
The establishment believes that tenure and seniority are the way to eliminate positions when funding decreases.
I believe that competency or lack of it is the way to eliminate positions when funding decreases.
The American Federation of Teachers claims the following as its mission statement:
The mission of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, is to improve the lives of our members and their families, to give voice to their legitimate professional, economic and social aspirations, to strengthen the institutions in which we work, to improve the quality of the services we provide, to bring together all members to assist and support one another and to promote democracy, human rights and freedom in our union, in our nation and throughout the world. (emphasis added)
If I understand this properly, the AFT wants to put out the best quality of service which would strengthen the schools we serve. Then why won't the AFT come out and support a policy of eliminating teachers based on competency?
On high school tennis teams across America, players challenge one another for the top spot. The winner earns the right as the number one player. You are right if you are thinking that a clear winner will always exist in tennis. Okay. In high school bands across America, musicians challenge one another for first seat. The teacher listens, evaluates, and then makes a decision. If we can trust human band teachers to make the choice, can't we trust human administrators to identify the best teachers, regardless of service years?
Simply resting on the way we have always done things will never get good schools to become great schools. It certainly won't get failing districts to become good districts.