Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Public Education Needs to Be Union Free

Here is Reason #999 why public sector unions, and teachers' unions in particular, need to be severely restricted, reformed and de-politicized. The Catholic Teachers Union in Ontario is charging all its members an extra $60 to help elect their bosses in the next provincial election. The political party thus elected with union money (the Liberals) will then continue doling out the goodies to the unions in the form of higher salaries, more luxurious benefits etc. It is a corrupt system and one that is going to bankrupt the country eventually.

The National Post reports:

An Ontario teachers union has approved charging its members an extra $3-million to fund a political action campaign aimed at keeping the Progressive Conservatives out of office in the fall provincial election.

The $60-per-member additional fee was passed by 67% of delegates at the Ontario Catholic Teachers Association’s annual general meeting last month in Toronto.

“Our goal is to elect an education-friendly legislature in order to protect the gains in education made over the past eight years,” says a letter from union president James Ryan sent to members.

The letter suggests the fund will not be agitating merely about policy. It says delegates left the meeting “acutely aware of how the election of a Conservative government under Tim Hudak would threaten the common good, particularly education.”

The fee will take effect July 1. All of the $60 will go to the teachers’ union’s campaign for the election on Oct. 6, when Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty will seek a third term. The local bargaining unit will get $12 of each payment to support local election-related activities.

With more than 45,000 members teaching all grades in publicly funded English Catholic schools in Ontario, the fee will generate close to $3-million for the election kitty, said Mr. Ryan.

What amazes me is how out in the open and brazen this corrupt, self-serving system is. Many of the teachers will vote Conservative but the union bosses don't care as long as they elect their Liberal pals and the teachers are forced to pay union dues for purposes they don't agree with forever.

Educational reform is badly needed in Canada. The power the teachers' unions must be broken. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is doing what eventually every state and province in North America must do in order to avoid fiscal collapse.

But the pernicious effects go far beyond the financial. The unions protect bad teachers and prevent them being fired. They marginalize the wishes of parents and impose the latest crackpot, "progressive" (read cultural Marxist) ideologies on the poor, unwitting students, and they thus decrease educational standards and shortchange students who graduate unable to read, write, and think logically for themselves. They also impose a pansexualist, promiscuity-glorifying, debilitating sexual education ideology on children over parents' objections.

None of these problems can be addressed adequately until the power of the unions is broken. How do we go about it? Maybe the best approach is simply to destroy the unions altogether and impose a process by which salaries and benefits are imposed by legislators beholden to citizens and taxpayers and then people can choose to work for the public education system or not based on whether they really want to teach or are just in it for the money.

Or maybe a move to a voucher system would be better. In that system, parents would be able to choose schools that they think are best for their children and some schools will choose to be union-free. If unions are so great, they should not be afraid of honest competition.

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