SYRACUSE, N.Y. – How’s this for a very dumb idea? The Delaware Elementary School in Syracuse has been a miserable failure academically. The state wants to close it, or see dramatic changes in short order, according to a post on Syracuse.com.
Amazingly, one of the solutions being discussed is allowing the local teachers union to run the school.
Have these people lost their minds?
The presence of organized labor is undoubtedly one of the reasons that the school is failing in the first place. A lot of teachers are obviously underperforming, but many are protected by tenure and union seniority rules.
More than anything, failing schools in urban areas need non-union teachers whose first and only concern is the students. They need to be liberated from union rules that prevent administrators from putting teachers in their most effective positions, getting rid of incapable teachers, and keeping younger teachers who are better than older ones at layoff time.
Union rules stifle the kind of ingenuity and creativity necessary to turn around a failing school. Union labor costs suck the life out of struggling school budgets, leaving little to be spent on programs that benefit students.
Teachers unions have also been notorious for protecting members that sexually abuse students.
Most charter schools purposefully hire non-union teachers for all of the reasons listed above, and then some.
But now officials are thinking about turning Delaware Elementary over to the same union that caused so many of its problems in the first place.
We hope state officials take a good look at the UFT School in New York City before it makes a final decision about the future of Delaware Elementary. That school – operated by the city’s teachers union – has been an abysmal academic failure, to the point where the state has threatened to shut it down.
It’s bad enough that collective bargaining for teachers and other employees will probably remain intact at Delaware, according to the story. That means the new version of the school will have to open with the same old ball and chain around its ankle.
Officials should at least make sure there are non-union supervisors in charge, so at least a few people will have student’s best interests in mind.
Otherwise there’s no point in keeping this failure factory open at all.