“We talk endlessly about improving public schools. So what’s standing in the way?” asks the following video from Prager Univeristy.
Indeed, even after all the money, the rhetoric, and failed initiatives by U.S. politicians, it doesn’t seem like things are improving for our schools. In fact, it’s seems like just the opposite.
So what’s the deal? What’s holding us back? According to Stanford Professor Terry Moe, it’s the teachers unions.
“[T]he teachers unions are by far the most powerful groups in American education,” says Moe. “More than that, they are special interest groups, which means that they use their power to promote the special interests — the job interests — of their members.”
“They are not in the business of representing the interests of children, and no one should expect them to do that,” he adds. “The purpose of a union is to represent the job interests of its members — and these interests are simply not the same as the interests of children.”
What methods do these groups use to go about pursuing their own self-interest?
“The first is through collective bargaining, which takes place in local school districts,” he explains. “Through collective bargaining, the unions are able to win restrictive work rules, written into legally binding contracts that specify how the schools must be organized.”
The second method, he explains, is through their enormous political influence.
“[T]hey simply have far more clout than any other education groups, by many orders of magnitude. They have over four million members, they’re top contributors to political campaigns, they have armies of activists in the electoral trenches, they have lobbying organizations in all fifty states, and much more,” he explains.
“They have used this political clout to block or substantially weaken major reforms,” he adds.
Moe concludes by stressing that unless the U.S. addresses its union problem, it will never fix its education problem:
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Featured image courtesy Getty Images.