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How Teachers Unions Lead the Way to Better Schools
Diane Ravitch upends the "bad teachers" narrative.
By Amy Dean
I have a concern: Teachers are getting pummeled. Too often,
they are being demonized in the media and blamed by
politicians for being the cause of bad schools. Right-wing
governors, power-hungry mayors and corporate "reformers" -
all ignoring root issues such as poverty and inequality -
have scapegoated the people who have devoted their lives to
educating our children. Moreover, these forces are seeking
to destroy the collective organizations formed by educators:
The stakes for our country could not be more profound. The
labor movement and the public education system are two
critical institutions of American democracy. And they are
two that go hand in hand. Teachers unions have played a
critical role in advocating for public education, but you'd
never know it from mainstream media coverage. Therefore,
there is a great need to lift up this tradition and
highlight the efforts of teachers to collectively push for
top-notch public schools.
To figure out how we can push forward on this issue, I
talked with Diane Ravitch, one of the country's leading
education historians and public school advocates. A
professor at New York University, Ravitch is a former
Assistant Secretary of Education and the author of several
books, including 2010's The Death and Life of the Great
American School System: How Testing and Choice Are
|CFT president Pechthalt on Prop 30 victory, Prop 32 defeat|
November 7, Sacramento—CFT president Joshua Pechthalt issued the following statement this morning: "Educators are overjoyed that Proposition 30 passed. In standing up for public education and social services, a majority of Californians declared that we can turn the Golden State around. The huge blizzard of deceptive and scary political advertising couldn’t obscure the reality that our schools are underfunded.
"The people have spoken: the best way to build a better education system is to properly fund it by asking those who can most afford it, the wealthy, to pay their fair share in taxes. As a result, educators will be in a better position to help the students of the state achieve their dreams.
"The decisive victory of Prop 30 reveals an important shift in California’s orientation. For more than thirty years it has been common wisdom that “Californians don’t like taxes.” No more. Prop 30 shows voters once more understand what Oliver Wendell Holmes said a century ago: “Taxes are the price we pay for civilized society.” Prop 30 is a sign we can create a fair tax system to accomplish California’s priorities.