Charter Schools

Mass. Teacher's Union Snubs First Charter School Teacher of the Year

Sydney Chaffee was the first charter school teacher to win the national honor.

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This year Sydney Chaffee, a humanities teacher at Codman Academy, became the first charter school employee to win National Teacher of the Year, one of her profession's highest honors. This displeased the Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA), which just voted down a motion to commend their fellow Massachusetts teacher.

The motion to honor her was proposed by a retired public school teacher, Peter Mili, who insists his desire to see Chaffee honored was not about supporting charter schools. (Mili opposed a failed ballot initiative that would've expanded Massachusetts' charter schools.) "I was disappointed that, as an organization of educators, we couldn't for the moment put aside the charter school issue and national politics and just recognize this individual for her accomplishments and her work with children," Mili told CommonWealth magazine.

Mili seems to have fallen for a common line advanced by teachers unions: that their organizations put children first. In fact, teachers unions put their members first. That is the point of unions. And while there's certainly nothing wrong with looking out for your own interests, it gets dangerous in the public sector, where government agencies don't face the kind of competitive pressures that theoretically keep private unions from making demands that would drive their employers out of business. Government officials are also often captured by public sector unions, and thus do not represent the public's interest very vigorously when negotiating with the unions' representatives. The result is rules that protect bad actors by design.

The "children's first" mantra is an attempt to cloak such agendas in the rhetoric of the greater good. When the MTA voted down the motion to honor Chaffee, they inadvertently exposed the duplicity.

Charter schools have grown tremendously since the first one opened in Minnesota in 1991, as parents, especially in underperforming and mismanaged urban school districts, have embraced school choice as a way to improve their children's education. That growth continues: Last week two school choice advocates won school-board seats in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest school district in the country. Teachers unions are losing the long war over parental choice. Petty moves like the MTA's only re-inforce that development.

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  1. Charter schools have grown tremendously since the first one opened in Minnesota in 1991

    Score one for the home team.

  2. “I was disappointed that, as an organization of educators, we couldn’t for the moment put aside the charter school issue and national politics and just recognize this individual for her accomplishments and her work with children,” Mili told CommonWealth magazine.

    Oh, Mr Mili. I’m afraid the times they are achanging.

    1. Cult behavior 101: adherents can do no wrong; heretics can do no right. In the event that an adherent does wrong, they are excommunicated to maintain the former illusion.

      1. I need to write this quote down. It’s so applicable to everything else going on

        1. This is why any time you see a headline about a cop being charged with anything, you know it’s going nowhere. When the headline says former cop, you know his ass is going to jail. No cop anywhere has ever been punished for anything, it’s only former cops.

    2. For a good time say “Betsy DeVos” around public educators. That woman is FEARED like no one else. Looking forward to the future…

      1. I live in Mass and have a friend who’s mother is a teacher. Betsy DeVos is the name that is not to be spoken lest the rage be released.

  3. a common line advanced by teachers unions: that their organizations put children first.

    That’s why they go on strike: to ensure children are receiving the highest quality education possible.

    1. The only time they do.

  4. Petty moves like the MTA’s only re-inforce that development…look up “petty” in the dictionary, there’s a group photo of the executive board of the MTA…

  5. If you’re not in the Union, you’re not one of Us.

    1. One of us being spoken monotone and without sense of self.

  6. Sydney Chaffee represents what the MTA and their national group the NEA cannot tolerate – superior results. Fifty years ago when they were lobbying to establish the Deptartment of [inferior]Education, they told us “all students will receive the same education.” The national teachers’ unions have just about accomplished that – most public school students are very poorly served.

  7. “I was disappointed that, as an organization of educators, we couldn’t for the moment put aside the charter school issue and national politics and just recognize this individual for her accomplishments and her work with children,” Mili told CommonWealth magazine.

    Mili,… to a modern Progressive,… EVERYTHING,… ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY EVERYTHING is political.

    1. When something is political then it is decided and enforced by government. As in violence. Like Ayn Rand said, leftists worship violence.

    2. And importantly, no one is to be recognized as an individual.

      You are defined by the group identity assigned by the proglords.

  8. Mili seems to have fallen for a common line advanced by teachers unions: that their organizations put children first. In fact, teachers unions put their members politically-connected union leadership first.

    FTFY

    1. +1 Hoffa

  9. What’s sad is that charter schools ARE public schools in the sense that they are fully funded by the taxpayer.

    1. But in the (more important) sense that they do not sanctify the union, they are anathema.

  10. What was that line by a union thug…. I’ll start caring for kids when they pay union dues

    I mean I have no problem with someone representing the people they are paid to (although in that case it’s forced payment), but to act as if teachers as a monolith or their union care about kids is laughable.

    When I was in high school 15 years ago I had several awesome teachers, and they all hated the union, opted out of as much stuff as they could. Tell me how it’s not fucking extortion to say “hey you can work here but you gotta pay this middle man first”

    “Nice job you have there…. it’d be a shame if someone… unionize it”

  11. it gets dangerous in the public sector, where

    Government officials determine pay to unions, which then determine “donations” to political campaigns

    One thing FDR had right – there should be no government sector unions

  12. Government education is best understood as an extortion racket
    Gimme your money, or your child’s future gets it in the head

    Trouble is, once you pay the Danegild, you never get rid of the Dane

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