Education

Pro-Union, Elite Harvard Students Against Teach for America, School Choice

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We've all heard the stories about how smart, ambitious, and clean-smelling Harvard students are, right? I mean, Harvard is like the Cadillac of college (and I mean back when Cadillac meant high standards and luxury, not whatever it might mean today), the gold standard in a world of fiat currencies. And the students come from money, with over 45 percent hailing from families pulling in $200,000 a year (and 21 percent coming from the above-$500,000 mark).

So you can rest assured that Harvard students know what they're talking about. And these days, they're trying to get the university to pull out of Teach For America if it doesn't start only placing its participants in unionized public schools. The Harvard Crimson reports that the school's Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM) sent a letter to President Drew Faust that went like this:

The letter to Faust addresses three areas in which students hope to see reforms to Teach For America: demanding the organization only send students to areas in which there is a teaching shortage, providing corps members more education and training, and cutting ties with corporations the students think threaten teachers unions such as Exxon Mobil and JPMorgan Chase.

Failing that, reports the Crimson, SLAM "asks that Faust sever ties with the organization."

Because we all know, right, that protecting teachers unions is more important than, you know, offering educational options to kids.

The Harvard effort is part of a larger one directed by the student group United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), which equates education reform solely with stronger teachers unions. Seriously:

Corporate-backed behemoths like the Walton (Walmart) and Fisher (Gap Inc) foundations are pouring millions into manufacturing a new pro-corporate education reform consensus on our campuses, propping up groups like Teach for AmericaStudents for Education Reform, and countless sponsored academic research programs. Their goal? To privatize our public education system, turning over a major public good into private hands, in the process smashing the only organized force that has dared to stand up to them: teachers' unions.

Emphasis in original.

The Harvard prodigies and the organizers at USAS are about the last people standing who think that unionizing teachers is the last, best hope of improving American education, especially for students from lower-income, higher-risk-for-failure backgrounds. Good luck to them as their reactionary attitudes leave them further and further in the rear-view window as the rest of the country moves into a future of increased options for all, regardless of family income and ability to pay.

Watch Reason Foundation's education expert, Lisa Snell, explain 3 Reasons School Choice is Growing: