Busting Teacher Unions for the Wrong Reasons

Many citizens, scholars, and politicians believe that enhancing the education of failing students includes busting unions.

Successfully busting unions will result in abolishing teacher tenure rights which may result in limiting the teachers' access to just wages and benefits. This will also undermine teachers' right to due process and could begin a national process for undermining the rights of all citizens.

Potential union busters need to understand that the union plays an important role in protecting teachers when faced with unfounded allegations.

Union busters need to understand that we must first address the defensive routines employed by teachers who are confronted with allegations of ineffective instruction.

When a teacher is confronted with ineffective teaching allegations they normally exhibit one of two defensive behavior patterns.

If the teacher is non-tenured they may attempt to make improvements in all required areas and if the students continue to fail they will blame the administrator for providing an ineffective evaluation and plan of action for improvement or they may blame students, parents, and other factors. The end result is the teacher has not improved to the level needed to increase achievement for failing students.

If a tenured teacher faces allegations of contributing to failing students they may also blame students, parents, administrators, curriculum, or the entire school system and bring in union representation to protect them from any further blame. Once again due to defensive routines the teacher may not improve to the level necessary to increase student achievement.

In both cases teachers are not afforded the opportunity to exist in an organization that enables them to grow. Instead the organization blames the teacher without admitting how the system contributes to the dysfunction of the school.

School districts must begin this process of growth by developing a shared vision. When school staff members have different visions for the students that they service the end result is a dysfunctional school which results in unnecessary student failures. Once this vision has been developed then school officials must provide a development process that will graduate the teacher to the developed shared vision. This process should be refined annually according to the vision of new incoming teachers.

Next, schools must involve teachers in team building which leads to the growth and success of the school's students. This will provide teachers an opportunity to address the needs of the students without it becoming punitive.

This process will offset the defensive routines that continue to contribute to dysfunctional organizations such as failing schools.




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