Speaking Truth to the Wall Street Journal

Published November 26th, 2012, in The Wall Street Journal

In your Nov. 19 editorial "The Evil Empire Strikes Back," you claim that "No reform effort is too small for the teachers union to squash," citing union opposition to, among other things, charter schools. "Unions fight as hard as they do because they have one priority—preserving their jobs and increasing their pay and benefits." You then urge President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to "speak truth to union power."

As an educator of 29 years whose only priority has been to inspire children, and who gave up much more lucrative careers to do so, I'd like to "speak truth" to the Journal. The truth is that the comprehensive study of charters by Stanford University's Center Research of Educational Outcomes found that, despite all their advantages, only 17% of charter schools outperformed their regular public school counterparts, while 37% actually lagged significantly behind. Black and Hispanic students generally fared worse in charter schools.

The truth is, as Diane Ravitch, assistant secretary of education in the first Bush administration, points out, those states with the strongest teachers unions have the highest test scores in the nation, while those with weak unions languish at the bottom.

The truth is that unionized Finland, with the highest test scores in the world, long ago eschewed all the ideologically based "reforms" Messrs. Obama and Duncan currently inflict on my students.

See awful comments in response:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324851704578133492170215174.html?mod=ITP_opinion_1

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