Education historians said the unions were facing the harshest political climate since states began extending legal bargaining rights to schoolteachers decades ago.Role for Teachers Is Seen in Solving Schools’ Crises - NYT, 2/15/11
The conference, convened by the Department of Education, drew school authorities and teachers’ union leaders from 150 districts across the nation to Denver to discuss ways of working together. To participate, each district’s superintendent, school board president and teachers’ union leader had to sign a pledge to collaborate in good faith to raise student achievement....
The conference comes at a time when thousands of districts are facing their most severe budget cuts in a generation, and union contracts calling for layoffs based on seniority could force many districts to dismiss their most energetic young teachers.
But changing these policies could also prompt some districts to remove more experienced, higher paid teachers to balance their budgets.
In Idaho and Indiana, legislation has been proposed limiting the role of unions in the design of education policies. Given that the primary goal of unions is to protect the rights of its members, I see the wisdom of these proposals. Should parents have a stronger voice than teacher unions in setting education policy?
In Wisconsin, legislative action to limit union rights has led to massive protests by teachers, shutting down Madison public schools
In addition to eliminating collective bargaining rights, the legislation also would make public workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care coverage — increases Walker calls "modest" compared with those in the private sector.In Tennessee:
The Senate Education Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to abolish collective bargaining between teachers unions and school boards across the state.