June 14, 2007

I like teachers.

I really do. But this recent kerfuffle (thanks, Mr. Taranto!) about supposed mischief with the grades at our local middle school has caused me to have quite a bit more dim view of teacher's unions.

Apparently, there was a computer problem with the grades. It needed to be caught, and needed to be fixed, and parents need some assurance that it won't happen again.

But the idea that if you find something wrong with some student grades and the first thing you do is run to the head of the Jefferson County American Federation of Teachers makes me think you might have your own agenda going there. Don't give me that crap that it's about the students, or the sanctity of the teacher's gradebook or the integrity of the system. If that's what concerned you, there should have been at least ONE stop to complain to the people in charge of it BEFORE you went running off to the teacher's union and the news media.

I like teachers, but I like my kids more. Publicity stunts like this designed to attempt to play "gotcha" with administrators doesn't make me sympathetic to you or your compatriots. One of the reasons I voted for our own school system is local control, and friends, that doesn't mean having to put up with political crap from the union. Second, going off and assuming bad faith on the part of administrators and raising a stink before you even know what the problem is doesn't make you look very smart. And we've got enough stupid teachers being insulated from the consequences of their stupidity by the union.

So how about this--teach our kids, if you see a problem, try getting it fixed under the normal work rules, and THEN if you can't get some help, call upon your union reps. But you can drop the conspiracy crap right now, and quit running to Channel 6 when you think something might be wrong.

And by way of full disclosure, my father was both a Steelworker and an Ironworker, his father was in a railroad telegraphers union, my maternal grandfather was, and a host of uncles and cousins are, UMWA. I don't have any problem with workers collectively bargaining to ensure themselves a fair wage and safe working conditions. But unions shouldn't be about protecting the ignorant and the idiot at the expense of the customer, consumer, or client.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at June 14, 2007 10:37 AM