The reality of violence directed against K-12 educators by students is highly concerning. For too many teachers, violence while on the job is prevalent, ranging from threats of physical violence to actual assault or physical abuse.
One reoccurring criticism of teachers’ unions is that they protect “bad” teachers—those “how are you still here?” teachers. But do teachers themselves share this same perception? According to a recent poll, they do. Teacher quality is a vital determinant of student achievement. There is a way to keep good teachers and remove inadequate ones. But the status quo needs to change first. And teachers are calling out the union for getting in the way.
Teachers were celebrated last week during National Teacher Appreciation Week. But even though the five days of nationally honoring educators has come and gone, teachers can and should continue to be recognized and supported outside the second week of May. In order to acknowledge what they really need—and deserve—we need to listen to their voices and restore respect for their choices.
The pension bill, which Gov. Mark Dayton supports, is expected to become law though some lawmakers are stunned at the growing expense. Pensions are supposed to be covered by employer and employee contributions that are then invested by the state, but Minnesota stopped paying the full cost of pensions in the early 2000s. Imagine if you did that with your mortgage and then tried to catch up to avoid foreclosure.
Minnesota secondary teachers have an average wage of $62,590 plus benefits. (Average annual wages for secondary school teachers, except special and career/technical education, May 2017.)
National Teacher Appreciation Week kicked off yesterday, but the biggest day for educators is today, May 8, as National Teacher Appreciation Day. On this day, students, parents, and communities around the country get to celebrate teachers and honor all they do. And while showing our appreciation shouldn’t be limited to this week and day, it’s a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how teachers and staff go above to help students go beyond.
A new project being launched on National Teacher Appreciation Day, Educated Teachers MN aims to inform and empower Minnesota K-12 educators by raising awareness of a U.S. Supreme Court case widely expected to end the forced payment of union dues and fees by teachers and other government employees as a condition of employment. Informed and empowered teachers are better suited to serve the needs of students and deserve the freedom to choose who represents them and how.
Workplace democracy is, unfortunately, a short-lived promise to teachers in Minnesota. While teachers’ unions often claim to favor a democratic approach to our public education system, teachers are rendered mute when it comes to choosing their own union. Workplace democracy is a principle, not a practice.