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Union Protection: Charm or Curse?

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A D.C. teacher-blogger, who calls himself Harry Potter because he bears a "shocking resemblance" to the wizard, recounts a conversation he had with his wife (pseudonym: Ginny) about Chancellor Rhee’s teacher-improvement plans.

Ginny:

I hear so much from the WTU, the AFT, and Randi Weingarten about how Rhee's proposal and the 90 day plans are bad because they mean teachers will be fired arbitrarily. But certainly not all firings can be arbitrary. Some must be legitimate. So isn't the union there to protect good teachers from being fired arbitrarily? . . . Why would you be concerned about being fired arbitrarily if you've got a union to protect you? Unless you don't think the union is competent enough to actually help you.

Potter is pretty sure it’s not just the teachers who lack faith in union leadership:

If the leaders felt they were themselves competent, wouldn't they just be against arbitrary firings instead of against all firings?

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It is not just the firings that are arbitrary, it is the definition of incompetency, too.

Until there is a clear and compelling definition of an incompetent teacher that does not depend on easily manipulated "standardized" tests all firings are arbitrary, even if some of the fired teachers are likely to be deemed incompetent under a good definition of the term.

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