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Thompson: I Still Think Brad Jupp Is A Genius

Jupp I just read Brad Jupp's contribution to I Used to Think... Now I Think... and I find my opinion of him unchanged.  As for my own beliefs, well, I used to think that 49% of the union's job was protecting its members, while 51% was representing students.  Now I agree with Jupp that the primary purpose of unions should be measurable improvement of student performance.  I used to think that the best thing we could do for kids was to merge the teachers' and the principals' unions.  Now I agree with Jupp that unions should also recruit early childhood and adult educators, and teachers in dual-enrollment programs, charter, online, and private schools.  I still think that innovative union leaders like Jupp are moving as quickly as possible to bring the rank-in-file into the reform process, but now I agree that we need a mass movement to close the achievement gap.  Jupp respects the opinions of his former colleagues who say that teacher-bashing and simple-minded "reforms" are making it more difficult to persuade teachers to support innovations like the ones he pioneered, but he mostly blames the internal structure of unions.  I used to think that teachers would have to mount an aggressive legal campaign against the misuse of reforms pushed by Jupp's colleagues in the Duncan Administration before we can move forward collaboratively.  I still do. -JT (@drjohnthompson)Image via.

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I really have a hard time understanding why people push the idea that Unions should be for the children. Well, maybe I understand it to a degree, pro-union people feel put-out by the rhetoric that we ONLY care for ourselves so try to talk nice to get a seat at the table. Honest, we do like kids! we plea. But it is silly. Labor unions have really a few functions and were formed for these functions, to make sure workers are not abused by management and to make sure we get paid what we were promised to get paid, and to work for better working conditions. How can a labor union help children? Now, the other part of this talk which drives me batty is that it assumes Rhee Reformers are right, that all teachers care about is themselves. Teachers spend 8-10 hours a day with kids, of course we love kids. 99% of our energy is on kids, 1% on our working conditions. How much time does Rhee spend with kids in a day? Yet teachers let her and her type (and some labor leaders) have the high ground on this point. Teachers love kids, why else would we take such a hard, low paying job? And we also want a job where we are not abused and treated like crap. There is no shame in that. Do you think Rhee would put up with a job where she was constantly abused by her bosses? No chance. That is one lesson teachers could learn from her.

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