WSJ on teacher unions, PPH on charter schools

WSJ on teacher unions, PPH on charter schools

August 3, 2009 Posted by Maine Heritage Policy Center - No Comments

They come from right of center and left of center, but the Wall St. Journal and the Portland Press Herald share some common ground on issues of education reform.

In an editorial today, the Journal describes two instances, one in Baltimore and the other in New York City, in which teacher unions undertake actions that benefit union members while harming students.

“Unions exist to advance the interests of their members
,” says the paper. “The problem is
that unions present themselves as student advocates while pushing
education policies that work for their members even if they leave kids
worse off
.”

Until school choice puts more money and power in the hands
of parents
,” the editorial concludes, “public education will continue to put teachers ahead of
students
.”

Ouch.

The Press Herald strikes a similar theme in the lead editorial it published today. Reporting on the troubling data about high school dropouts, the paper finds that it “is clear that with one in five students leaving high school without out a
diploma, the current set of programs in public high schools is not
working well enough.

That is why it is perplexing,” the Press Herald editorializes, “in the face of this demonstrated need for more alternatives, that Maine
has consistently resisted joining the rest of the country in creating a
legal mechanism to provide more. That would be charter school
legislation, which was again defeated this year in the Maine Legislature
.”

Charter schools have not solved the dropout problem in other states but they have been a tool that has proven to be effective” the paper concludes. “Maine should stop
limiting its options to address this problem and pass a charter school
law.

The key to meaningful reform of our schools, the two papers seem to be saying, lies in providing more options to students and parents, thereby breaking up a public school monopoly that too often underserves our kids.

Why didn’t we think of that?