Teachers’ Unions: The Barrier to Education Reform

Posted by Olivia Grady on Monday, July 24th, 2017 at 9:46 am - Permalink

By Olivia Grady

On July 20, 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual meeting in Denver, Colorado.

ALEC is:

“America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism. Comprised of nearly one-quarter of the country’s state legislators and stakeholders from across the policy spectrum, ALEC members represent more than 60 million Americans and provide jobs to more than 30 million people in the United States.”

ALEC accomplishes its goals through publishing model legislation that its members use on the state level to promote limited government. Like Ms. DeVos, ALEC supports giving parents more control over where to send their child to school through scholarships, charter schools and other ways.

However, teachers’ unions strongly oppose school choice because school choice requires public schools to reform and become better schools. School choice eliminates the current monopoly that many public schools have, particularly in lower-income areas, that leads to poor-performing schools.

Teachers’ unions and other like-minded groups, therefore, organized a protest against Ms. DeVos on July 19th. Hundreds marched from the state Capitol to the meeting. Their signs read “Stop School Privatization!” and “Dump Betsy DeVos.”

Christina Medina, a union member and a teacher at Academia Sandoval, said,

“DeVos will be in town plotting with ALEC to dismantle public institutions that support opportunity for Colorado students, educators and families. The policies championed by DeVos have a negative impact on all students, but are especially harmful to students living in poverty and students of color.”

Speakers at the rally included state Representative Joe Salazar (D-Thornton) and state Senator Andy Kerr (D-Jefferson County). Rep. Salazar is running for Colorado Attorney General in 2018.

Democratic State Sen. Mike Merrifield said at the rally:

"Don't be fooled by so-called reformers who claim to be doing this for the sake of the children. Their true intention is the voucherization, the privatization, the corporatization and the profitization of public education."

The protest called for Ms. DeVos to resign.