The New York Post reported today that the teachers union spent $6.3 million to lobby for traditional public schools and teachers tenure while fighting to limit charter schools, which I think raises some serious concerns about what the teacher's unions have come to represent, what their priorities are, and how they are spending their money. Teachers serve the important role of instructing and molding our children but politics seems to get in the way of that mission, and the concept of doing what is best for our children has been eclipsed by the teachers unions' fight to protect their teachers. Shouldn't tenure be a mechanism for rewarding the good teachers rather than a way to insulate the bad ones? The recent abolishment of NYC's "rubber rooms," for instance, suggests that we will not insulate teachers who have committed serious errors just because they are teachers. So why should tenure be used as a source of immunity for teachers who are doing a poor job.
And with respect to the public school vs. charter school debate, what would happen if it were established that charter schools really do correlate with increased student progress (more research needed): would the teacher's unions continue its opposition because they have become accustomed to the benefits and security offered by the union? What if the teachers union saved some of the millions of dollars being used to lobby for public schools and against charter schools, and instead utilized that money in a way that could improve the public school system? Perhaps to incentivize and reward the good performance of its good teachers. The rights of children to receive an appropriate education should come first.