I am sure that the people who support and boost and voluntarily belong to unions have genuine puzzlement about why union membership and popularity is at an all time low in this country. If they want an answer, they need look no farther than this exchange between the head of the Colorado Education Association and Colorado state representative Paul Lundeen. Unions used to stand for protecting good employees from management abuses and unsafe work practices. Now, they essentially stand for protecting bad or mediocre employees from reaping the just rewards of their bad/mediocre job performance.
Don’t believe me? Listen to the exchange at the link above. For those who don’t have audio, the transcript is as follows:
Lundeen: Since you won’t engage on that question, let me reframe it and ask it this way. Is there a circumstance in which a more highly effective educator should be paid a higher wage?
Dallman:I do not believe so. All teachers do the same job. The circumstance I would see a different compensation working is when teachers take on additional teacher leadership roles. Or a hybrid role in which they are doing some leadership staff development supporting their fellow educators in the building in addition to teaching and I do believe that when the role changes that compensation should change. But, I do not believe we should be basing salary decisions solely on a system that has yet to have proven itself and that has been implemented with such disparity across the state.
(Emphasis mine). All teachers do the same job. This is literally the public position of the Colorado Education Association. Contrary to the experience of literally everyone who has gone through the public school system, the union’s position is that there is no such thing as a bad teacher. Of course, the converse of that is that there’s no such thing as a good teacher, either. Non-ironically, the union position on excellence perfectly matches that of Syndrome from The Incredibles:
This public position is insulting to the intelligence of everyone who heard it. Moreover, it is insulting to the efforts of the good and hard-working school teachers of Colorado who are forced to join these unions and have their hard earned salary confiscated by it for dues that are mostly used to elect Democrats. If you’re a good teacher who puts in the extra hours and actually takes an interest in the educational well being of your students, you are, in the eyes of the union, no different or better than your colleagues who punch a clock, do the minimum, and perform their jobs with indifference (or malice). If this is the way your union sticks up for you, why should you bother working hard to better yourself as a teacher?
Perhaps a better question might be – why should you belong to that union?