Wednesday, March 22, 2006

John Stossel Is Definitely Not Making Many Teacher-Friends (and good for him!)

Back in January, John Stossel of ABC's 20/20 killed a sacred cow, carved it up, barbequed it, and had it for dinner. He made some not-so-very-flattering comments about public education in a report called Stupid In America. The teachers unions were not impressed.

Protests. Letter-writing campaigns. Denunciations in the union rags. Calls for Stossel to teach for a day because he can't possibly know what he's talking about. You'd almost think Stossel had outright lied. It's not like he said that he hadn't had sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinski, or anything. =)

I don't know if this was part of the original plan or not, but Stossel's been writing about education every week now for about a month and a half now. Was this string of essays planned, or are they a response to all the flack he's taken from, primarily from teachers unions? I don't know, but I'm having a hard time finding where he's mistaken. If Stossel made any mistake at all it was in focusing too much on the situation in New York City; even though the lessons are applicable across the country, it would have been better to have picked examples from across the country.

Here are his essays:

Teacher Unions Are Killing the Public Schools

Teacher Unions Reward Mediocrity, Fail the Students

Competition Works. Let it Help Our Schools

The Inescapable Facts on Public Education

Answering the Teachers Unions

Public Schools Evade Real Accountability

Stossel and ABC are left-leaning. They have no reason to air these concerns except to report the truth. They have no dog in this fight.

The titles of three of the above posts refer to the unions. That should be an indication of part of what ails the education field. I'm currently reading a book called The Teacher Unions: How They Sabotage Educational Reform and Why--and the author's a former union organizer, negotiator, and delegate. Instead of addressing the issues that are brought to light by Stossel's reporting, by the book I mentioned, by the legions of people who opt not to be in a union (in right-to-work states) or who opt out as agency fee payers (like I have to do here in California), the unions merely shout down the opposition and insist everything's just fine, thank you. And why shouldn't they? They're entitled to my money by law here in California; they don't care one whit about me. They're not accountable to me; in fact, the unions aren't accountable to anyone. This point is made consistently, but what's the motivation for the unions to change? After all, they're going to get my money no matter what.

Anyway, I hope John keeps writing on this topic.


rightwingprof said...

ABC is left-leaning. Stossel certainly isn't.

Big Red Lance said...

Awesome Post!! Thanks for the links...Stossel is the man.

Although, as rightwingprof stated, Stossel is definitely not a liberal. He's, in fact, a very hard core libertarian. He definitely has many more friends on the right-hand side of things.

Thanks for the links. Keep up the good work.


Onyx said...

I adore Stossel and his fresh view point of reality. Teaching ain't for the faint at heart. The unions and majority of professional groups have long ago lost touch with the reality of the school world, as have administrators I might as well add. Let those with the BIG paychecks come and do what we do, with the limitations and expectations. They can't! It's been said that those who can't do teach, WRONG! Those who can do teach, those who can't administrate!