Tuesday, October 11, 2005

New York Sun takes a stand on vouchers

Posted by Craig Westover | 11:25 AM |  

From a New York Sun editorial commenting on a recent settlement between the teacher’s union and the city calling for a 15 percent raise over four years plus a teacher’s retroactive bonus.
Such spending of taxpayers' money by the Bloomberg administration is going to have to be funded by New Yorkers who already live in an over-taxed city. It increases pressure for tax increases. Poor and middle-class parents can only be left wondering about the logic of a government monopoly in education and a union monopoly in teaching.

. . . there are deeper issues that the contract fails to solve, like parental choice. In a sense it is possible to see the proposed contract as reducing pressure for at least some consideration of a system of vouchers, the one approach that would afford poor and middle-income families the kinds of choice enjoyed by wealthy parents.

Our own view is that a system of vouchers needn't be beneficial only to parents and their children - it could actually be beneficial to the teachers union as well. While a voucher system would drain some jobs and money from the public school system, it wouldn't remove the funds and jobs from education altogether. It would provide the teachers with a greater number of employers and plenty of opportunities to organize. Private schools would be competing with public schools for the teachers and students. It's hard for us to see how this equates automatically as a bad thing for teachers . . . .
I would agree. Increasing the number and diversity of educational opportunities for students also increases the number and opportunities for good teachers. The operative word is good.

Private schools are not going to be competing for poor teachers and perhaps not even mediocre teachers. A competitive market place for teachers is the ultimate pay for performance plan. A teacher’s effectiveness is measured by the desire of parents to send their children to a particular school. There is no room for Q-Comp-like five-year plans and multiple-year minimal objectives where there is no penalty for non-performance and little required to receive a bonus.

And that’s the real strength of teacher’s unions -- providing a gravy train for the mediocre at the expense of good teachers and eager students.