More Unionist than Professional
West Warwick teacher Paul Bovenzi appears to have attended a few too many union prep and pump sessions:
Teachers drive education, and know what’s best for children in their schools. Contrary to popular belief, administrators (or managers to use his misnomer) are no more educators than a hospital administrator is a doctor! Do you want a hospital administrator making medical decisions that affect your health?
Mr. Achorn wants to give these “managers” more power. I think they should get less. Administrators should do budgets, scheduling and handle disciplinary issues. Beyond that, we should let the educators take care of teaching children.
Mr. Achorn wants to give managers more evaluation power. I call for educators to push for a peer-evaluation system, much as the Rhode Island Bar Association evaluates its lawyers, Internal Affairs its police, or the American Medical Association doctors. Administrators have no business evaluating educators. The professionals in the field should evaluate and “police” themselves.
Besides, not to put too fine a point on it, but there is a dearth of any administrators out there, specifically good ones. Most administrators I have worked for can’t handle the responsibilities that they have now and could never handle more, especially a more rigorous evaluation system. Who exactly are these managers who are going to turn things around in the public schools all by themselves? I am not saying there are not good people doing these jobs, but there are no super-administrators with all the answers. If they are out there, I haven’t met them yet.
See, the problem with the union mentality is that the ostensible “professionals” lose credibility for their claims that they “know what’s best for children in their schools” and “should evaluate and ‘police’ themselves.” After some years of experience with strikes and “working to rule,” the objective taxpayer and parent is apt to wonder how that’s “best for the children,” and to wonder what real consequences will be imposed in the course of self monitoring.
No, I don’t want a hospital administrator making my medical decisions, but neither would I want doctors to be given too much rein to fashion the hospital with their own benefit centrally in mind. Indeed, were that to happen, I would go to all lengths to make sure that I received my medical services elsewhere.
And there’s the rub. Doctors and lawyers have to perform. They may have routes toward accreditation and consequences administered through professional organizations, but they still have to convince clients that their services are worth employing. Moreover, through their control over “budgets, scheduling and… disciplinary issues,” administrators exert influence over them, and over their organizations in whole.
As many of us have been saying for years: if teachers want to be respected as professionals, they have to begin playing that part, rather than the industrial unionist role that they’ve allowed to define them in Rhode Island.