Diane Ravitch, Fordham board member and peerless education commenter, writes:
I find myself getting really annoyed when people rage against the teachers' unions, because they are the organized voice of most of the people who work in schools. The same people who vilify the teachers' unions never complain about the influence of businesses or foundations, both of which try to steer the public schools by the power of the purse.
It all comes down to whether schools??should serve adults or children. Business??interests are aligned with producing schools that serve children--they want well-educated students who will eventually become well-educated workers. (It's true, though, that business-minded school reformers??sometimes forget about the importance of curriculum and instruction.) On the other hand, the interests of teachers' unions directly compete in oh-so-many obvious ways with the interests of students. Furthermore,??unions may technically be "the organized voices of most of the people who work in schools," but they hardly represent the interests of all teachers--especially disadvantaged by union policies are young teachers and good teachers.
What business mostly wants: results-based education,??standards, accountability, innovative management, choice, educational markets. What unions mostly want: more money, more teachers (smaller classes), less testing, less focus on educational outcomes. Oversimplification? Slightly (it is a blog post, after all). But mostly true....