Pupils versus trade unions
Catching up on my reading. This from the Washington Post last month is interesting on the movement among Democratic mayors in America for schools reform, often striving to overcome opposition from teachers’ unions.
There are two big battles. One over tenure: the guarantee of a job for life for most teachers, which makes it hard to get rid of underperformers. The other over the length of the school day. Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago (pictured), wants to extend the school day there, which for most children in the city is five hours 45 minutes.
I didn’t agree with Michael Gove’s recent mild comments about longer school days, but I do think that diversity of provision is a good thing: long school hours and short holidays suit some pupils and not others. The important thing is that unions should be on the side of the children, not the convenience of their members. That applies in America as much as here.
Footnote on American journalism: I love the quotation attributed by WaPo to “one former national labor leader who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak frankly about another union”.
Photograph: Charles Rex Arbogast/APTagged in: public service reform, schools, schools reform
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