Teacher Union Logic… Maybe It’s Me
There are a number of weird statements in this article about the Providence Teacher Union’s attempts to protect seniority-based hiring. First is this statement, which I’m not sure is entirely meant to say what it does but indicates a mentality that surely exists in the public school system:
The new BEP is designed to ensure that the most effective teachers are placed in classrooms of students who have the most need.
If the “most effective” teachers are serving the children “most in need,” what about the other students? Somehow our system seems to favor hard cases, which is fine, to an extent, but it doesn’t seem like the best strategy for building a globe-leading advanced nation.
Then there’s the peculiar union worldview:
[Union lawyer Marc] Gursky says it makes no sense to talk about seniority before the state has rolled out a new system for teacher evaluations, which will begin to take place statewide this fall.
“To say that seniority can’t be a factor before you have an evaluation in place is like putting the cart before the horse,” he said.
Evaluations and minimizing seniority-based decisions would seem to go hand in hand. Indeed, one way to find a merit-based system that works is to let administrators begin experimenting.
But the weirdest statement may be this one, in reporter Linda Borg’s paraphrase:
The PTU argument is similar to one made by the Portsmouth School Committee two weeks ago. In a lawsuit filed against the Portsmouth Teachers Union, the School Committee claims that it has final say over how teachers are assigned. The committee, in April, approved a new hiring process that diminishes the role of seniority in staffing decisions.
The Providence Teacher’s Union is arguing that the state can’t insist on an end to seniority, and the Portsmouth School Committee is arguing that it has a right to end seniority in contravention of contractual habits. How are those the same?