In yet another eye-opening appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe, AFT President Randi Weingarten revealed her long-standing desire for politicians and citizens to get out of the way and let teachers police themselves. The discussion of the day was centered around pending teacher layoffs in the wake of the national budget problems.
In New York City where Weingarten ruled the local teachers union before taking on the national role she now occupies, past contract negotiations managed to protect bad or underperforming teachers with a 'last in, first out' layoff policy. Polls show that the people want layoffs based on performance and not seniority, and while it appears that Ms. Weingarten agrees with the public, she prefers to be the arbiter of what determines a good teacher from a bad teacher. Weingarten also has a small problem in her core beliefs, by her own admission on live television, the union president does not want ANY teacher laid off.
In this next clip, Ms. Weingarten also reinforces her position by reminding the panel that she has been against outsiders meddling with the operations of the teachers union for years.
'I said to the chancellor and to the mayor, stop it already, let us police our own profession.'
Some might defend the right of teachers to monitor themselves and set standards for what is considered to be a good educator or an expendable one. That argument sounds similar to one bankers and mortgage companies made as Senators and Congressmen talked about adding more government regulation to their businesses. The position taken by the lawmakers in the argument with the overhaul of the financial industry had much to do with not trusting an industry to monitor itself. We have heard similar arguments from police departments when communities demand that civilians are a part of local review boards. The transparency imposed by outside opinions included in any review process naturally removes some elements distrust and only serves to improve the outcome of the review.
Allowing only teachers to determine who is a good teacher and who is a bad teacher is akin to handing the students a blank report card and telling them to grade themselves.