the problem with teacher's unions

The problem with teachers unions is that the workers in these factories are the students and they are NOT unionized.  If a union is about workers versus management, the proletariat versus capital, then teachers unions do not fit that definition.  Unless you are willing to equate the children within the schools to the products manufactured on an assembly line.

I'm not.

Unions are good things and we could use more of them.  But the discussion on wage inequality is shallow and thin in the progressive blogosphere.  Unions are a good thing but there is a conversation that needs to happen about unions, profit-sharing businesses, co-ops and finding ways to make, as John Holt said, all jobs into good jobs.

Unions in the schools are a problematic issue and the unions themselves can make changes that will improve their standing.  But they will have to ally themselves with children and families as children are not widgets to be manufactured on the assembly line.  Teachers themselves would benefit the most from stopping grading as we know it and ending compulsory attendance: grading makes teachers cops on kids and compulsory attendance ensures a standard, measurable quantity is poured into each mind.  These have nothing to do with learning.

Children are the workers in these factories, the straight equation of worker/management does not fit.  Few parents are going to be sympathetic when their kids are unhappy in the system and the parents themselves are harassed and excluded.   Jobs are important but no parent can choose jobs over their children.

Corporateers use this fact to divide support and attack unions but it is not the union or lack of a union that really matters in school change:  it is the basic structure of compulsory attendance.  This structure, in fact, led to the easy import of unions from assembly-line work elsewhere.

I am not anti-union -- far from it -- but the unions themselves will have to grow past their own history of factory work rules when facing the issues involved in school change.
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