Our wonderful teacher unions are at it again... desperate to save their cushy, taxpayer-financed, difficult-to-fire-from jobs, they're attacking anyone who questions our public school system. Now it's John Stossel, of ABC's 20/20. John's had a series of tv and internet reports detailing some of the problems with America's education system. I'm sure everybody's heard the claims; U.S. students are falling behind in test scores, especially in the critical areas of math and science, when compared to the rest of the world; public schools are costing more money and delivering less product; school choice has worked in other countries and works here when it's attempted. (See some of his great columns here).
I don't know the answers, and I don't know enough to say whether John (and many others) are right or wrong. I do know, from personal experience, that public school teachers run the gamut from caring, very intelligent, highly effective teachers to lazy, incompetent slobs doing just enough to keep their positions. How do I know this? I work for an education software company in the research department, and I regulary visit and observe public schools.
My point, however, is that the teacher unions just plain don't want to address the issues that John Stossel raises. Instead of addressing the issues, they're demonstrating today at ABC offices in New York, Chicago, and others. The organizers claim his reporting "so violates the democratic principles of open-mindedness, balance, and fairness we hold dear as educators of Social Studies, and so departs from the standards of objective and unbiased journalism...".
Violates the democratic principles of open-mindedness? What the hell are they talking about? Just because they don't agree with John's reporting? C'mon, gimmee a freaking break. And why haven't they addressed the concerns and questions that are raised? Teachers unions are in a purely defensive mode across the country; how about spending some of this energy improving school education instead of attacking critics?