The recent strike by the Teachers is causing concern in the US.
The major issue is the Evaluation of the Teachers.
This problem is quite normal in India to the extent where we can predict when the Teaches would go on strike and for what.
Normal issues in India, are.
Reservations for jobs.
While wages is a common problem through out the world, the Transfers and Reservation in Jobs are unique in India.
In State run schools,for getting transferred to is an Industry by itself.
The minimum going Rate for transfer is rs 100.000!
A sham of ‘Counselling’ is done.
This is a formality if one were to grease the right palms.
Reservation is a process where that if you belong to certain social group(called Caste), you get priority.
Your qualification/experience does not matter.
This is done as an atonement for ‘the Oppression of the Group’ by the Society in the past.
Normally there is hardly anything against this principle , but there are at least two or three a year agitating for inclusion of one or another group in the Reservation List.
It will be interesting to note that till date there has been NO agitation concerning Education by Teachers.
Wages,yes, they are underpaid by the standards of other professions.
While the Teachers in State run Schools get a Higher pay, teachers in the Private Sector are paid one-third of the State pay( excepting in some cases where they can not do with out good teachers)
While Physics,Chemistry,Mathematics,Biology and English for Higher class Teachers get a Higher pay other Teachers such as Regional language,Physical Training,LKG/UKG,Computers,Social Studies are paid a pittance.
Managements,since they pay a minimum wage encourages students to have Tutoring done by the Teachers of the Schools to enable them to make extra money and even in this the Schools take a percentage , normally 33 %!
Unions are basically three types.
Of The Ruling Party.
The Opposition and
The Communist oriented, which will switch sides mostly depending on who is in power.
Strikes are not education centric at all..
Academic evaluation system does exist only marginally.
So there is no question of raising the issue.
Coming to the issue of Unions in the US,
Teachers unions are to blame for low test scores and high dropout rates.
‘Where the unions matter most in the education debate is in their influence on how teachers are supervised and evaluated, who is granted tenure, and who is dismissed. These have all been flash points in Chicago.’
There is abundant evidence that school districts don’t do enough to retain the best teachers or weed out the low performers. For instance, a 2009 report by the New Teacher Project found that 94 percent of teachers in Chicago received “superior” or “excellent” ratings, and just four in 1,000 were rated “unsatisfactory.” Considering the poor performance of Chicago’s schools, there’s no way nearly all of its teachers are superlative. Clearly, the evaluation system is broken.”
The evaluation of Teachers is an ongoing process and as such one can not arrive at a decision on this.
As I have indicated in my earlier blog the evaluation is subjective as the Students are not quantities to be measures and the system of education is not focussed whether it is job oriented or Value oriented.
As there are different grades of Students such as below average,Average and above average, it becomes difficult to evaluate the Teachers on the basis of teaching in a Class consisting of all these three categories.
Teachers unions are similar to private-sector unions.
Like unions representing autoworkers or flight attendants, teachers unions focus on workplace issues. They engage in collective bargaining with management for wages, benefits and other conditions of employment.
But teachers unions are different from private-sector unions in some fundamental ways. For starters, in the private sector, companies can go bankrupt. This generally creates a check on unions’ demands at the negotiating table because neither side wants an employer to downsize or go out of business. Public schools don’t go out of business. Officials involved in the Chicago negotiations said the union’s early demands for salary increases of more than 30 percent were impossible for the cash-strapped city.
In the private sector, there are genuinely two sides negotiating contracts. But teachers unions and other public-sector unions often exert power on both sides of the bargaining table. They exercise political pressure by supporting candidates financially, with coveted endorsements or by calling voters. Because school board elections are often held separately from other elections and have low turnout, teachers’ unions often dominate them. Autoworkers don’t get to pick the board of directors of the car company; but teachers, in effect, can.”
” Teachers unions fight any kind of reform.
Stanford University political scientist Terry Moe says getting teachers unions to embrace reform is like asking a cat to bark, because unions are fundamentally about protecting their members and can’t be counted on to improve schools. Yet there are some examples of labor and management working together to bring about change in education.
In Pittsburgh seven years ago, a teachers union leader and the city’s superintendent began to work together to involve educators in decisions about closing schools and revamping the teacher-evaluation system. And in New Haven, Conn., in 2009, the teachers union and the city agreed on a new evaluation system that includes students’ test scores as well as classroom observations. Last year, 34 teachers lost their jobs based on the new system.
Today, with a new union leader and a new superintendent, reform is slowing in Pittsburgh. And in New Haven, many observers believe it was the threat of unilateral action by the mayor that got the union to make a deal. Regardless, under the right circumstances, even superintendents who have locked horns with their unions say they can be partners to effect reform.”
As is wont in Democracy it more the Party than issues that count.
“What’s good for teachers is good for students.
Union leaders like to say this. It’s an appealing sentiment, and it’s sometimes true. When the teachers unions protect education spending in state budgets, that’s good for students. But there are times when students’ and teachers’ interests diverge.
Consider some of the big sticking points in the Chicago teachers strike: One major issue was what to do with teachers displaced by layoffs as a result of declining student enrollment. According to sources involved in the negotiations, the union wanted to keep teachers who could not find a new teaching position on the school district’s payroll indefinitely. A similar policy has cost New York City more than $100 million in pay to teachers who are not teaching. That sort of job security is obviously good for adults, but using scarce education dollars to pay hundreds of people who are not working is clearly not good for students.
Teacher contracts are loaded with such inefficient provisions. In a 2007 analysis for the think tank Education Sector Marguerite Roza estimated that provisions that are popular with unions but have a weak or nonexistent relationship with student learning, such as arbitrary limits on class size and automatic pay raises, consume almost 20 percent of an average school district’s budget — more than $77 billion in nationwide education spending annually.
So as we’ve seen in Chicago, what’s good for teachers is only sometimes good for students.”
By the very nature of the group they are representing the Unions refuse to see the larger picture.
It is the basis for their existence.
All said and done as stated in Hinduism Education is personal and it can be imparted best personally paying attention to the student individually by one whose character is unimpeachable and whose authority can not be questioned.
The Society must undertake to support the Teachers and accord them the Highest respect and the teachers must realize that their profession is one of the noblest and they shape a generation and in the eyes of a man a good Teacher is the lasting influence.