Teacher Unions – How Rotten Are They?

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

In a court case last year in Los Angeles, the California Teachers Association showed its true colors and intentions. Here is an excerpt from an article in the Standard Newswire from May 30 of last year. The entire article can be found at www.standardnewswire.com/news/201382795.html

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The closely-watched Rachel L. homeschooling case in Los Angeles is entering the final phase of briefing at the appellate level before oral arguments are scheduled.

Numerous friend-of-the-court or amicus briefs have been filed with the state Court of Appeal in the last two weeks. While most of the briefs favor homeschooling, those filed by the educational establishment take some hostile – and head-scratching – positions.

For instance, the California Teachers Association claims in its brief that allowing parents to homeschool their children without requiring a teaching credential will result in “educational anarchy.”
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Educational anarchy? Yes, that’s what the Teachers Union thinks of homeschool. So sayeth their brief.

But I’m confused. Educational anarchy? Are the teachers describing conditions in their schools, their classrooms, or their lives? That must be what they’re saying! Sounds right to me. Decimated test scores, classroom packed with 30 or more students, some of whom are “packing” so the school needs metal detectors at the entrance. Yes, that does certainly sound like a kind of anarchy.

The CTA’s brief certainly cannot be describing the almost uniform peace and superior educational results of homeschooling. Not with a straight face. I mean – no one gets killed homeschooling. That is certainly not true of our schools, is it? Average tests scores are notably higher amongst homeschoolers than in schools. Families bond over the homeschool process. In homeschool situations, children experience true “socialization”, finally resembling nothing like the “socialized” model the schools put out – either terrified sycophants who learn to go along to survive; or bullies who have learned the lesson that any overly-regulated and patrolled, fenced and enforced jail…er school has to teach, that might makes right.

Was the Teachers Union really concerned about “abusive” homeschool parents? That was their claim and is still so, today. But if they were actually concerned with children and their well-being, then the union would get rid of their own members who abuse children, instead of protecting the abuser’s jobs tooth and nail.

Try to get a bad teacher fired. The proceedings cost over $500,000 of public money on average, given the ferocity of the union’s lawyers, and almost invariably fails. The teacher almost always retains his position, and lives to abuse another day. Another victory for teachers and their unions over children, families and their actual educational needs.

I guess the way the union sees it, abusive teachers should be maintained and protected. Abusive homeschool parents (there may be a few, but I’ve never seen one in a decade of working with homeschoolers) should be shot and quartered.

Want a secure, well-paid job in this tight economy? Teach for a unified school district.

If teachers in my home town of Los Angeles actually were concerned for students, they would take universal cuts in their more than ample pay to get L.A. schools back to a secure 5 day a week schedule, instead of the proposed 4 day schedule needed to “save money”. See, in the end, it is teacher benefits that the union is truly concerned with. The union is, after all, a labor union, and not a children’s protection league, despite their posturing. And they do love to posture.

No less than California’s Republican Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and top Democrat Attorney General Jerry Brown, developed a brief opposed to the Teachers Union and the attack on homeschool in California. They recognized “that home schooling has a long and positive history in California and across the nation.” They finally succeeded in getting this attack on homeschooling thrown out of court. The threat, supported and paid for by teachers unions? That only “trained and qualified teachers”, those with the correct degree, would get to teach homeschoolers. Out of the over 150,000 homeschoolers in California, perhaps some ½ of 1% of the homeschoolers here would have been able to continue homeschooling. I doubt it. Their loophole would have been closed eventually. We were saved by the diligence of the Governator and Jerry Brown, who is currently running for governor in California. I will support him if for no other reason than his stand on homeschool rights.

Our governor and Attorney General, the top men in opposing parties, joined together to end this threat to homeschool, and showed where their hearts were regarding the well-being of our children. Unfortunately, we cannot generally make the same claim for schools. And only a teacher with benefits would dare, with a straight face, to make such a claim for their union.
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As you probably know, I am an advocate for homeschooling. It’s my belief that homeschooling potentially provides a student with a vastly superior education than schooling in any form. This is backed up by a lot of numbers and research. I’ve taught for public and private schools, at the University level, as a private instructor in thousands of workshops, and as a homeschool dad running a homeschool group. Homeschooling by far works best for most students- and most families.

But I understand that many parents do not believe they can effectively homeschool. They’ve been told that they “don’t have degrees,” and that they “aren’t qualified.” This is all nonsense, of course. You’re legally not required to have any kind of a degree to homeschool your kids anywhere in the U.S. A lot of people who have degrees and who call themselves “professional teachers” are simply awful, and even destructive at what they do. A lot of parents…hundreds that I know of…have homeschooled their kids right into universities and careers.

In a serious effort to make homeschooling easier to do, and more commonly successful in terms of education received, I’ve authored my own curriculum. It took some 15,000 hours to write, over more than a decade of work, and is intended to replace the need for schooling a student from age 5-Adult Continuing Education. The curriculum is called Steps (or “CTT”). It has been used by over 20,000 students worldwide over the past 10 years. Hundreds of “success stories” attest to how well CTT works.

CTT courses are written in a way that gradually allows the student to take over his own education. Each course itself largely does the teaching, relieving mom and dad of that duty unless they wish to use our daily lesson plans in various subjects as springboards for family discussion and discovery – as many families do, every day. The parent has the job of making certain the student is working and has what they need to study. (And you’ll need to find a good math program for homeschooling as we don’t provide one. There are many.)

Below are links to our site discussing each level of curriculum, and every subject at that level that we offer. (You can start any level at any time. We don’t have “semesters” that start at a certain time, and each course stands alone well.) You’ll find free videos describing how every subject and each level works. You’ll discover free samples of every course we offer. Our site offers many other services and surprises, including numerous free courses you can download and try out.

Starter is for ages 5-6, and for preliterate students of any age. It focuses on starting to develop literacy skills, while teaching about various subjects. Starter includes full two-year programs in Reading, History, Science, Creative Writing, and Living Your Life, courses that develop life and study skills for the youngest students. Every lesson plan at the Starter level works to develop literacy.

Elementary is for ages 7-8, and for students who are developing literacy. It includes two-year programs in Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing (which also teaches the parts of language at this level), and Living Your Life courses which develop life and study skills in preparation for more advanced studies to come.

Lower School (ages 9-10) offers two-year programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, P.E. Electives, and in various arts such as Animation, Music Theory, and Acting. At this level, students must read fairly well, and studies are progressively turned over to the student.

Upper School (ages 11-High School, and Adult Continuing Education) provides programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, Current Events, Literature Guides, P.E. Electives, and in arts such as Animation, Acting, Music Theory, and Music History.

For parents who wish to teach at home, but are intimidated at the thought, and for parents who just wish to improve the homeschool experience, we offer a ten course homeschool program for homeschool teachers, as well as several books about education and homeschooling today.

We want you and your children to win with homeschooling!

6 comments on “Teacher Unions – How Rotten Are They?”

  1. We home-schooled for a year and it is a tough undertaking. Anyone willing to give it a go, power to you, for us, it was very difficult. Instead we now have them in the French school system and learn English basics at home. The mix seems to work nicely for my trilingual kids, and keeps them engaged.

    I was doing fine before Grade 3, but after, the teachers are more qualified than me.

    The teachers in the BC Montessori school, where my kids were raised, are under a lot of pressure to make the grades, and from what I have seen, they truly do their best.

    Good luck and the answer to these big issues are not straight forward as every child is unique.

  2. Hi Eva,

    The parent/student model for homeschooling certainly does not work for everyone. But it is only one model. I’ve written about many ways to privately school children. As to teachers being more qualified than you to teach your children, I beg to disagree and for the very reason you stated – every child is unique. You have by a very long distance the best understanding of your children, and the greatest motivation to see to it that each of them is well educated, and that his or her uniqueness is embraced and enhanced rather than minimized in a school setting. I think many parents would tell you that you stopped homeschooling at the hardest age to homeschool. It can get quite a bit easier as the children move into a slightly older age where they start taking increasing responsibility for their own work and education – that age is different for each child, but you were not too far from it.

    As to your local schools, glad you found one you like. Very few people today could make such a claim, I’m afraid. Anyway, no, the issues and answers are not straight forward. That’s why I’ve provided MANY answers to the issues, rather than just a single approach. One of these includes private schooling, which you have availed yourself of. I think it can work – but only when the “tools” and methods of institutional education are tossed out in favor of the development of each individual child. These tools include grades, grade level, labeling, testing, teacher evaluations (of students) and the like. So long as those are used, you’re looking at education as it has been – a miserable failure for nearly every student.


  3. Barry Morris says:

    The claim that homeschoolers are better socialized is, in my personal opinion, not true. Home schooled children are all too recognizable often made obvious either by distrust, and/or inappropriate trust of those they see as “authority” figures. Neither do I know of any homeschooled child who rose to a level of leadership in a local church.

  4. Well Barry- you need to get out more, and get a life. You’re wrong. Homeschoolers, and I’ve dealt with many hundreds, are well above the average in terms of their ability to discriminate, and to determine who they wish to trust. What’s more, I’ve known several who were pastors, just in my limited experience. And what’s this nonsense about a homeschooler being “all to recognizable?” What, like homeschooling places some kind of mark on a person? Perhaps they appear to be, I don’t know…less afraid? They don’t live in fear of bullying, or of teacher abuse, or of educational dogma. Could it be that’s what you see, Barry. Hey, Barry, really – you’re a teacher, aren’t you? Fess up. Or married to a teacher? Or your mom’s one, or something like that? I know you guys will do anything to hang on to your jobs, but really, get over yourself.


  5. Barry Morris says:

    Sorry Steve, wrong on all counts.
    We each have our experiences in this area. Mine have not been positive.

  6. Barry, sorry, your experience in this can in no way be remotely comparable to mine. I’ve literally worked with THOUSANDS of school children, and many hundred homeschoolers. You offer no proofs, just your unsupported opinion. You see what you want to see. Don’t write again, I won’t publish your garbage.

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