How do American secondary schools remain world leaders when our primary schools have been in decline since the 1950’s? Stated another way-How can mediocre elementary and inferior high schools teach students that become, after college, noted researchers, business leaders and Nobel Prize winners?
Supposedly students either attend school to receive an education or students go to school to get instructions. Students going to high school receive instructions and one third of them do not graduate. Students that attend the college receive an education, although many do not receive a degree.
The functions of primary and secondary schools the are similar, yet the results are dramatically different. The only difference between primary and secondary education is the presence of teacher’s unions.
We will explore why the most liberal faculty has not been unionized.
We must ask- Is there something inherent in the unions that contributes to below standard achievement from the students throughout their education from kindergarten through 12th grade?
The loyalty, for a lack of a better word, of teachers is to their unions to negotiate pay and benefits on their behalf. At the collegiate level, the wages and benefits of professors are determined by school revenue and allocations from the state. In adverse economic times, wages and benefits may be reduced to balance various budgets. The only benefits granted to professors are tenure and sabbaticals.
Yet, college educators have not sought to be represented by a union. We can speculate that educators, as a whole, believe that they can represent themselves better as individuals than with a collective mindset that is inherent with union representation.
Professors, in trying to attain tenure, must publish and be referenced by their peers. Therefore, they are competing against not only colleagues at their particular school, but against thousands of people in order to be published. At the primary school level, we do not witness this behavior, as being in a union is as good, if not better, than having tenure. High school teachers do not compete to be published or to stand out among their peers. They seem to be content to maintain the status quo that is offered by union affiliation. As the poet says, one is safer in the middle course.
We now understand why professors, in a union environment, would not be outstanding educators or researchers- their accomplishments would never see the light of day, as these would reflect negatively upon their less able peers. Every professor, even the most liberal, wants to be recognized by their peers and society for their contributions. This is evident because they, liberal professors included, continue to research, lecture and publish. But, these educators who continually preach equality and socialism, realize that if these concepts were applied to their arena, they could not stand out for their achievements and receive their due accolades. Therefore, academia remains unionized.
Fortunately for America, our secondary education remains non union and continues to be a leader in the world.