|SAVE OUR SCHOOLS!
April 14, 1997
Other questions asked
in this forum:
Would equal funding for all schools solve the problems in low-income area public schools? A prospective teacher asks about strategies to improve teacher quality. Are vouchers or school choice the answer? Is it time to rethink the traditional classroom structure? What role does parental participation play? How can communities foster constructive public dialogue on education issues? Additional questions and comments.
Return to the top page. A question from Mike Ritchie of Junction City, Kansas, asks:
What role do you think education labor unions do play/should play in the reform process?
Dr. Doris Alvarez, Principal of Hoover High School, responds:
Labor unions have an important role to play in reform. Bob Chase from the NEA admitted as such recently in a speech to his membership. They should be important players in policing their own as is done by such professional organizations as the American Medical Society. They should also be leaders in professional development and licensing of their members controlled by teachers.
Mr. Michael Casserly of the Coucil of Great City Schools responds:
Education labor unions, particularly teachers unions, play a huge role in school reform. Some would claim that it is not always for the good but the public should know that it is not all for the bad either. Unions have played an important and beneficial role in such reforms as site-based management, charter schools, early childhood development, teaching standards, academic standards and testing.
My opinion is that the biggest challenge for unions in school reform is in the area of teacher accountability. The issue of accountability for performance, generally, is one of the public's most pressing educational concerns at the moment. And the public concern stretches from the school boards and superintendents to the bus drivers. Designing systems of accountability that span these players in a fair, equitable and balanced fashion is one of our next biggest challenges in the cities--and it cannot be done without the unions.