Sunday, June 6, 2010

Challenging Bennett's Argument

Oh, my goodness--a letter to the editor at the IndyStar that points to the obvious scapegoating going on from Tony Bennett and Mitch Daniels.  This blog is in no way meant to be an apologist for the unions (there are clearly problems there) but the union leadership has started to stand up to the mistruths and procedural wrangling of this administration.  After all, if a union won't stand up for it's members, then what's if for?  The other thing this points out of course is how through one side of the mouth folks will talk about the need for "data", they'll also, through the other side, advance policies that have no support in data or educational research.  Once again, what's most exciting is that the people are waking up to the hypocrisy and speaking out.

June 3, 2010

In his recent "My View" piece, Dr. Tony Bennett talks of "the negative impact teacher unions can have on classroom instruction . . ." Extending Dr. Bennett's logic, one would expect that a negative correlation should exist between teacher unionism and student academic achievement. In other words, a higher level of teacher unionism should result in lower academic achievement. But when one looks at the countries that perform well on international tests, some (Finland, for example) are highly unionized while others (some of the Asian countries) are not.
In the U.S., the region of the country that performs worst on achievement tests is the South, where teacher unions have historically been the weakest. Massachusetts, where teacher unions are strong, always ranks near the top academically. I challenge Dr. Bennett to cite any educational research that clearly demonstrates a negative correlation between teacher unions and student achievement.


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