Tag Archives: UTLA

What’s the Future of Unions?

The recent ruling in the Vergara v. California lawsuit, in which Judge Rolf Treu struck a body blow against the power of teachers’ unions by declaring that five of California’s laws protecting teacher tenure, firing and seniority were in violation of the state constitution’s guarantee of equal education to all children, has implications so broad I don’t think we can even fully comprehend them yet.

I’ve written in earlier posts that though I absolutely think that bad teachers should be fired—and that last in, first out policies should be re-thought—they are not the core problem in the fight for equal education. I’m troubled by the witch-hunt zeal, the purge mentality, of this lawsuit, which implies that the layoffs that caused so many eager young teachers to be fired in the first place were some kind of natural disaster inflicted upon us by the gods that we should have diverted onto the heads of bad teachers.

But let’s be honest, California: those layoffs occurred because of budget cuts—and those budget cuts were our collective decision. And they were so radical that even if we had first fired the small percentage of bad teachers, we would still have been laying off a large number of excellent teachers. Continue reading What’s the Future of Unions?

Breaking Up (With Ed Reform) Is Hard To Do

Lisa Alva is a dangerous woman.  At least some people think so: last month, she published a blistering piece on the InterACT education website recounting her “broken romance” with some of the leading organizations in education reform.  Lisa had already butted heads with some union leaders by speaking out publicly against their seniority policies and resistance to accountability.  But her association with the reform movement ended abruptly this past December:

I phoned into a conference call that wasn’t what I expected, and it ended my relationships with the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, Teachers for a New Unionism and Educators4Excellence, and put some others in the doghouse…

Listening in to a conference call with the United Way that was supposed to be a talk with education groups but turned into a recruiting session to rally support for LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, Lisa “felt the hair stand up on the back of [her] neck” as she realized that the groups were brainstorming to throw their support to a superintendent believed by some to be anti-union and currently very unpopular due to his recent expenditure of a billion dollars to purchase iPads for LAUSD students. Continue reading Breaking Up (With Ed Reform) Is Hard To Do