A Child’s Mind is too Precious to be Bargained For
To quote the slogan of West Virginia Professional Educators, “A Child’s Mind is too Precious to be Bargained For”
Monopoly bargaining is compulsory unionism, pure and simple. Even in a Right to Work state like Louisiana, teachers will be forced in to representation they neither need nor want because some teacher union officials are looking for power and forced dues money.
Louisiana teachers are well-represented by the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, with no bargaining, and no dues for politics. Say no to monopoly bargaining. For the sake of the teachers. For the sake of the students.
Kevin Kane presents a complete picture of monopoly bargaining in Louisiana in the Pelican Press.
School board must choose between advancing student outcomes and pleasing special interests
On Tuesday the Jefferson Parish School Board will meet to consider approving a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Jefferson Federation of Teachers (JFT). The board elected not to renew the CBA last year, opting for individual contracts with teachers.
Like New Orleans, Jefferson’s reforms are now bearing fruit. And like New Orleans, Jefferson benefits from leadership that places students above special interests. Here are five reasons why approving a new CBA would stymie momentum and risk recent gains:
1. Schools Are More Autonomous, Innovative and Accountable Without CBA Constraints
2. Collective Bargaining Agreement Prioritizes Union Wants Over Student Needs
3. Financial Resources Are Being Deployed More Effectively
Unfortunately, JFT has not been eager to embrace this responsible approach. The union continues to promote inefficient policies that drive up costs and do nothing to improve educational outcomes.
Public finances at the state and local level are likely to be stretched thin for decades to come. Success in this challenging environment will require the kind of prudence and flexibility that unions consistently oppose. If the district hopes to allocate its dollars in the most effective manner possible, rejecting the CBA is imperative.
4. Existing Law and Policy Already Protects Employees
5. Academic Outcomes Demonstrate Validity of Current Approach
Jefferson Parish is at a pivotal point in its history. New Orleans is now appealing to many of the young families who in the past would have migrated to Jefferson. Many of those who choose to live outside of New Orleans are opting for the North Shore. If Jefferson is to thrive, strong public schools are critical.
Policymakers at all levels tend to shy away from direct conflict with teachers unions. This is understandable – teachers are pillars of the community, and many of us have friends or family who teach. But it is clear that a CBA is not needed to protect the interests of teachers.
Further, the union has aggressively fought against the statewide education reforms in Baton Rouge in recent years. While district leadership in Jefferson has embraced teacher accountability, school choice and other sensible reforms, the union has resisted them tooth and nail. A union that rejects the JPPSS approach to education reform should not be surprised when the district elects not to empower them through an ineffective and burdensome CBA.
The role of a school board is not to court popularity, but to ensure that children in the district have access to a superior education. Recent reforms have gone a long way to guaranteeing this access. A new CBA would endanger this turnaround and raise questions about the long-term prospects of Jefferson Parish.