Are Teachers’ Unions and Tenure Healthy for Educational System?

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Teachers’ unions have been a prominent part of the education system for decades now, but the controversy surrounding them refuses to abate. The 2018 decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, Country, and Municipal Employees, which cut the budget of the unions by refusing fees from non-unionized teachers, made the issue even more acute. Yet while the critics may insist that the unions are the problem and juxtapose the teachers’ interests to those of the students, the real conflict is about the teachers and employers.

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One argument against the teacher’s trade unions is that their rigidity and the limitations they impose on teaching are detrimental to the education process. According to this position, the work rules and limitations that the unions impose on teachers constrain the application of new teaching methods and progress in education. However, it fails to mention that the teachers’ unions emerged precisely because the employers imposed much greater restrictions upon their teachers, regulating everything up to their skirt length and the right to accept gentleman suitors. Getting rid of the unions would merely reinstate the situation where the employers may impose restrictions on teachers freely with no organizational effort to stop them.

The same applies to the tenure system, which some criticize as a thing of the past that constrains the progress in education by making it impossible to fire an incompetent teacher. However, tenure does not mean that a teacher cannot be fired – it merely ensures that they have the right to know the reason behind the discharge and receive an independent third-party arbitrage. As such, claiming that tenure prevents schools from firing teachers is untrue – rather, it prevents schools from firing teachers for arbitrary reasons that would not be supported by impartial arbitrage.

In short, the case against the teachers’ unions, as it is currently made, is not particularly convincing. While it might be true that the work rules instituted by the unions may limit the application of new teaching methods, it is necessary to remember that the unions emerge and exist to prevent much harsher and more arbitrary limitations on the employers’ part. Similarly, tenure does not make it impossible to fire an incompetent teacher but forbids to fire teachers for no justifiable reason, which may be the actual motivation behind the attack against the unions.

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ChalkyPapers. (2022, November 14). Are Teachers’ Unions and Tenure Healthy for Educational System? Retrieved from https://chalkypapers.com/are-teachers-unions-and-tenure-healthy-for-educational-system/

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ChalkyPapers. (2022, November 14). Are Teachers’ Unions and Tenure Healthy for Educational System? https://chalkypapers.com/are-teachers-unions-and-tenure-healthy-for-educational-system/

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"Are Teachers’ Unions and Tenure Healthy for Educational System?" ChalkyPapers, 14 Nov. 2022, chalkypapers.com/are-teachers-unions-and-tenure-healthy-for-educational-system/.

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ChalkyPapers. (2022) 'Are Teachers’ Unions and Tenure Healthy for Educational System'. 14 November.

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ChalkyPapers. 2022. "Are Teachers’ Unions and Tenure Healthy for Educational System?" November 14, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/are-teachers-unions-and-tenure-healthy-for-educational-system/.

1. ChalkyPapers. "Are Teachers’ Unions and Tenure Healthy for Educational System?" November 14, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/are-teachers-unions-and-tenure-healthy-for-educational-system/.


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ChalkyPapers. "Are Teachers’ Unions and Tenure Healthy for Educational System?" November 14, 2022. https://chalkypapers.com/are-teachers-unions-and-tenure-healthy-for-educational-system/.