If you are a corporate education reformer, with the requisite pathological desire to want to fire educators, having educators stand in your way, blocking this deep seated desire is something that must be overcome.
We therefore see a secondary policy preference expressed by those wanting to privatize and corpratize public education. Policies designed to remove the collective voice of educators.
SB5 is a very clear example of this, and while publicly it was couched in "reform rhetoric", the governor has already expressed his desire to "break the back of organized labor in the schools". Scott walker in Wisconsin, Mitch Daniels in Indiana, and the legislature in New Hampshire have all tried similar approaches to removing educators voices.
But even with SB5 massively defeated, corporate education reformers like the Fordham Institute continue to push for such approaches
Teacher unions are among the most powerful political actors in America on a wide range of issues (just ask Terry Moe, Paul Peterson, or Mike Antonucci). It’s not a given that that should be so, however, or that union intervention in partisan elections is always (or even often) good for teachers as a whole. Rhee and other education reformers would do well to add paycheck protection to their toolkit of reforms to increase parent power over education policy – and protect the rights of teachers to spend their paychecks on political issues they believe in, not on the agenda of labor leaders.
We left the following comment on their post "this is a very ill informed post.
Teachers can opt out of funding unions and pay only fair share to cover the costs of professional services. Political advocacy of candidates is NOT paid out of any dues, but instead is paid by VOLUNTARY contributions by educators, typically into the Fund for Children and Education (FCPE).
One would hope that a "policy fellow" would at least avail themselves of some basic facts and understandings before espousing an opinion on a topic they clearly have no understanding of.
But the folks at Fordham aren't the only ones who would like to see educators slip quietly into the background. The Columbus Dispatch often published opinion pieces that echo these desires, and did, publishing a piece by Pat Smith, titled "Expert panel could revamp education in Ohio"
An expert panel in Ohio could identify similar savings and direct them where they’d do the most good. Such a panel ought to include certified public accountants, economists, futurists and technologists and perhaps be chaired by Ohio’s state auditor.
We're not sure what a "futurist" is, but we are sure educators are not on that list, indeed educators get a special mention - "It should welcome input, but not control, from educators..."
We asked Ms. Smith "Curious why you do not include any teachers/educators in your list of people who would serve on your proposed expert panel?". She was kind enough to respond, and her response included this
No one is more supportive of teachers than I am. I come from a family of teachers: mother-in-law, aunts, sister-in-law, my daughter and, of course, my own experience - four different systems under five different principals. But, I think the kind of expertise we need to improve the productivity of the entire state system has to come from those with different sets of skills: technology gurus, numbers crunchers, data experts, demographers, futurists, etc. Yes, as I said, they need to have input from educators (the editor edited out the adjective "strong" before "input.") But, you know as well as I do, much of the decision making in education circles revolves around ideology and not about what really works. Also, the educators tend to wear down others on panels. My worry is that there is only a finite amount of resources that is going to go into education and that we must make the very best use of those resources and that educators don't know or agree how to do that. For example: should we fund early education or lower class size? Yes, a surgeon has the expertise to operate, but not to run the hospital where he performs the surgery.
We're not sure what's more insulting, the mistaken belief that educators have no expertise in these matters, or that they constant pointing out of ill-conceived ideas wears the purveyors of those ideas down. But at least in this exchange we can see why educators simply must be silenced.
According to ODE statistics, Ohio teachers have an average of 15.08 years experience, giving them a combined 1,560,379 total years of experience. Each day they add almost a million hours of experience to this massive total. Who else in the state has this amount, depth, and level of expertise in public education?
Anyone who doesn't recognize that educators have earned a central role in education policy reform isn't serious about reforming education, they are instead more interested in partisan politics.