Education Breakthrough Network

We advocate for School Choice and education reform in the United States.

We didn’t bargain for this

We didn’t bargain for this – As far as I am concerned, collective bargaining for wages is an overwhelmingly supported, hard-won American right.

It’s obvious goal is to balance out the power between those who manage an enterprise and thus control application of available resources, and those whose work makes the enterprise possible.

But I find it harder and harder to equate classic employee/management negotiations with the massively detailed teacher contracts whose salary components are nearly an afterthought.

The most poisonous aspects of school management right now are a result of “collective bargaining”.

These bargained for prohibitions include the inability to hire and fire on the basis of student success, to compensate for merit; or even to pay for more time and effort from those willing to give it.

Frankly, what I adamantly favor are job protections for workers whose jobs risk their health and safety, or those whose life experience simply makes them vulnerable to unfair work demands.

I have to say I am really struggling with the entire notion of teachers as a profession being in need of those same protections.

When I look at the schools of choice that are most rapidly advancing the achievement and students and transforming the face of American education, I see teachers who themselves have taken on the management role.

I see school environments where a shared sense of mission looks a lot harder, but a lot more satisfying than the oppressive settings where a workday is counted in minutes, and nobody gets to operate outside a tediously defined role.

We don’t just need choice for students. We need it for teachers.

Rachel Steeves

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