The Association of American Educators has released the results of a survey taken by teachers which showed that though teachers are largely supportive of flexibility and options. But Gary Beckner of Washington Times is of the opinion that unions are not helping teachers, but are instead, “maintaining a system of forced dues and political power”.
Do hard-working educators stand in solidarity with union leaders to protect the status quo? Hardly. To establish a credible teacher voice, we must recognize that teachers are not in lock-step agreement with unions as their leaders suggest.
Teachers are individual professionals with ideas and opinions valuable to the education-reform conversation. The vast majority of classroom teachers want to see students succeed and the profession evolve.
What the majority of the teachers who took the survey want is not increased funding, but fiscal responsibility. Instead of the constant cry of the unions for more dues-paying members, teachers want organizations that will reward excellence and contribute to their professional development.
And many would like to be responsible for their own contracts which they can tailor to their own strong points, value systems, and special skills. The practice of keeping teachers who have been at a school for the longest time instead of retaining the teachers who do the best job has got to stop, they add.
Teachers believe that students should be able to choose the school that is best for them and their special circumstances. A large percentage of teachers felt that online learning was good and should be integrated into the school day along with teacher-centered learning activities.
Declining union memberships seem to be proof that teachers want to make their own choices and not be dictated to by a self-promoting, outside entity. A majority of teachers believe that students are more important than special interests. A majority of the members of the Association of American Educators are satisfied with being teachers; are committed to staying in their profession for the long run; are open to using technology in the classroom; and hold master’s degrees and state certification.
At least 95% of members who took the survey are aligned with the organization’s general policy, which includes: teacher freedom of choice to select the organization which best suits their needs, public charter schools, virtual education, and promotion of innovative school settings.
AAE is the largest organization of its kind in the U.S. It promotes the profession of teaching and the well-being of students. The group is anti-striking, anti-collective bargaining, and pro-ensuring that every student is being taught in a way that allows them to be successful. The organization offers support to classroom teachers through liability insurance, scholarships and grants, and professional resources.