Tuesday, December 16, 2008

American public see teacher's unions negatively

A recent Rasmussen poll shows that two-thirds of the public believe that the teacher's unions "are more interested in protecting their members' jobs than in the quality of education." Just under a quarter of the public believe the opposite and just over a tenth have no opinion.

Two-thirds also say "the secretary of Education should be an advocate for students rather than teachers".

While there are many decent, hard-working teachers the unions that exist have been a major reason for the decline of state-controlled education. The purpose of these unions is to maximize benefits for teachers not maximize education.

The simple facts are that unions care little about customers of a business or service. They care about their members who pay the union dues that give union leaders the big salaries they receive. When a business is hit by union action the union officials never ask themselves: "How will this hurt the customers?" They don't care about the customers. And when it comes to government controlled education the "customers" -- involuntary as they may be -- are the parents and students. The motto of the union is "teachers first!"

The political provision of education is a minefield which the unions exploit for their own benefit, to the detriment of the taxpayer, parents and students. What we have is a near monopoly-provider and a monopolized labor market for that provider. This is the worst of both worlds. With little competition in provision of education, and almost zero competition in the labor market we get the results of monopolization -- poor service and high costs.

I find it bizarre that the Left complains about monopolies constantly yet regularly work to create monopolies by government fiat. They don't advocate breaking up the state education monopoly and swoon over the self-serving unions, both of which are given monopolistic powers that would be denied in any other segment of the economy. The Left tells us that monopolies act against the interests of the public but flip-flop the moment the monopolies being discussed are a labor monopoly and the government-school monopoly.

I personally oppose monopoly privileges across the board. The best remedy to the problems of monopolization is competition. This is true in business and it is true in education as well as in labor markets.

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