The Instigator
chrisjohnson
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
KnowItAll
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Should teachers union be abolished

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/17/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,703 times Debate No: 29309
Debate Rounds (5)
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chrisjohnson

Pro

first round for acceptance
KnowItAll

Con

Challenge is accepted. I look forward to debating you on this interesting topic.
Debate Round No. 1
chrisjohnson

Pro

First i'd like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. As i'm looking forward to a productive debate.

To begin, i'd like to state why teachers unions should be abolished. Teacher's unions are detrimental to this nation's public education system because, teacher's have the to strike which interrupts learning of the student, tenure, protection for proven noneffective teachers, and union's donate to politicians to advance their own agenda. These unions put their own agenda in front of what be a number #1 priority for them, teaching this nation's children.
KnowItAll

Con

I would like to begin my rebuttal by addressing my opponent"s statement that "teachers have to strike." As with any unionized profession a strike is a last resort and normally occurs when there is a standstill in negotiations. However, in places such as New York City, teachers are not allowed to strike as a result of the Taylor Law [1]. The Taylor Law makes it illegal for any unionized public employee to strike. In the event that public employees do strike they are penalized by having to pay two (2) day"s worth of wages for each (1) strike day. Stating that teachers have to strike is the same as saying that auto workers have to strike.

With regard to tenure, tenure is earned after a probationary period of 3 years. [2] During this 3 year period a teacher can be terminated for being ineffective. Although the term tenure is, for the most part, synonymous with the profession of educator the term probationary period is not. Correction officers, police officers, firefighters and others in public service must also serve a probationary period in order to be afforded union protection against unfair and unjust termination.

Non effective teachers are not protected by tenure. As with any unionized member in any profession, a non-effective employee can be terminated for job performance whether tenured or not. However, being tenured allows for due process should a school district or city wish to terminate a teacher for ineffectiveness.

My opponent is correct in the statement that "unions donate to politicians to push their own agenda." However, the teachers union is one of many unions. Basing an argument on this statement, I could easily argue that all unions should be abolished on this premise. However, unions donating to push their own agenda are no different than a person voting Republican, a person voting Democrat or for any other party line. Politics in itself revolves around agendas. Why does the National Rifle Association donate approximately $7,000,000 per year to Congress? [3]

One has to ask, what is the agenda of teachers in the public education system? Personally I feel it is to educate the future of America. If not, why deal with the negative stigma of the profession which on average earns a person approximetly $42,000 per year. [4]

[1] http://www.perb.ny.gov...
[2] http://teaching.about.com...
[3]http://ivn.us...
[4]http://www.payscale.com...
Debate Round No. 2
chrisjohnson

Pro

However, in places such as New York City, teachers are not allowed to strike as a result of the Taylor Law

This is true. However teachers in other places can still go on strike as they did in Chicago (the 3rd largest district in the US) in September [1].



During this 3 year period a teacher can be terminated for being ineffective.

  • Again this is true. One again though after tenure is earned the process of firing a teacher is long complicated process that is costly [2]. In New York firing a teacher is like breaking a diamond. What happens is the ineffective teachers typically get passed along from school to school without ever getting fired.





I'd agree with my opponent’s agenda point.


why deal with the negative stigma of the profession which on average earns a person approximately $42,000 per year.

  • It's important to that teachers wages tend to rise with experience and there are other factors too like cost-of living. For example a teacher North Dakota makes half of the average salary but living costs are cheaper in North Dakota then in New York [4].
  • The reason we should deal with the negative stigma is because as said they're teaching the future of America. There only a handful of jobs that guide the direction of America’s future economic viability.
KnowItAll

Con

The teachers in Chicago did indeed strike. As I stated earlier in my argument a strike is normally a last resort and is a result of a breakdown in negotiations which is exactly what happened in Chicago. [1] Strikes that come to mind included the auto workers of General Motors as well as the workers of Verizon in New York. Arguing that the teachers union should be abolished because some can strike is the same as saying that the auto workers union should be abolished because they can strike.

My opponent has stated that "In New York firing a teacher is like breaking a diamond. What happens is the ineffective teachers typically get passed along from school to school without ever getting fired." My opponent is correct in stating that firing teachers in New York is costly. I will attack this argument making two points.

My first point is that New York State has a very high barrier to entry into the profession of teaching. Teachers must obtain a Bachelor's Degree in order to obtain their Initial Teaching Certificate which is valid for a period of five years. During the period of time the teacher is earning his or her Bachelor's Degree the teacher must also obtain the Internship Certificate. Within this five year period the teacher must also earn a Master's Degree and must continue ongoing professional development in order to earn the Professional Certificate. [2] There are also exams that must be passed in order to obtain both the Initial Certificate and Professional Certificate.

My second point is that there is a serious question as to exactly what makes a teacher ineffective. Politicians and the media alike feel that the most effective way to evaluate a teacher is to tie the teacher"s performance to standardized test scores. However, simply tying teacher performance to standardized test scores ignores the individual learning ability of each child, economic factors and most important as far as I'm concerned is the level of involvement of each student"s parent or parents. How can a teacher should be held accountable for a student not performing if the student continuously misses classroom days, does not complete homework assignments and project assignments? A student such as this will simply not perform up to standards. A teacher"s job is to educate children not raise peoples children for them. If a school district or city feels that a teacher is that detrimental to students then why is cost a factor, especially if educating the future of America is of the utmost importance?

With regard to my opponent"s final point with regard to salary and negative stigma, salaries in most professions will vary depending on cost of living within different geographical areas. However, when considering the level of entry and education needed to become a teaching professional there are easier alternatives that can earn a person with the same level of education. In fact, approximately 20% of teacher quit the profession with two years. [3] According to a survey conducted by The National Center for Education Statistics "61% cited more professional working conditions in their new careers verses their time teaching. That same group said their workload was 65% more manageable outside of teaching and they were 65% more likely to better balance their personal and professional life after leaving their teaching career." [3]

There is no denying that being a teaching professional is a difficult career. In my opinion it makes it even more difficult when the general population has no idea of how difficult and challenging the career is. Especially when politicians who have never been in a classroom setting wish to dictate exactly how to educate students and wishes to terminate teachers as being ineffective when there is no concrete way to judge exactly what makes a teacher ineffective. For this reason alone, teachers deserve union protection.

I fail to see any argument that my opponent has made thus far that shows how abolishing the teachers union will have a positive impact on the education received by America's students.

[1] http://www.cnn.com...
[2]http://schools.nyc.gov...
[3]http://teaching.monster.com...
Debate Round No. 3
chrisjohnson

Pro

Strikes that come to mind included the auto workers of General Motors as well as the workers of Verizon in New York. Arguing that the teachers union should be abolished because some can strike is the same as saying that the auto workers union should be abolished because they can strike.

  • Verizon and general motors aren't teaching the future.




    My first point is that New York State has a very high barrier to entry into the profession of teaching. Teachers must obtain a Bachelor's Degree in order to obtain their Initial Teaching Certificate which is valid for a period of five years. During the period of time the teacher is earning his or her Bachelor's Degree the teacher must also obtain the Internship Certificate. Within this five year period the teacher must also earn a Master's Degree and must continue ongoing professional development in order to earn the Professional Certificate. [2] There are also exams that must be passed in order to obtain both the Initial Certificate and Professional Certificate.
  • Please elaborate how this is relevant to the debate.


My second point is that there is a serious question as to exactly what makes a teacher ineffective. Politicians and the media alike feel that the most effective way to evaluate a teacher is to tie the teacher"s performance to standardized test scores. However, simply tying teacher performance to standardized test scores ignores the individual learning ability of each child, economic factors and most important as far as I'm concerned is the level of involvement of each student"s parent or parents. How can a teacher should be held accountable for a student not performing if the student continuously misses classroom days, does not complete homework assignments and project assignments? A student such as this will simply not perform up to standards. A teacher"s job is to educate children not raise peoples children for them. If a school district or city feels that a teacher is that detrimental to students then why is cost a factor, especially if educating the future of America is of the utmost importance?

  • Your right. There are a lot more variables to why a student might fail. But when you have a teacher who is show over and over again to be proven ineffective, that's not a coincidence. But because it's nearly impossible to fire that teacher due to the unions, there's a problem.






For this reason alone, teachers deserve union protection

  • That's not a sufficient enough argument to justify why teachers deserve union protection.








I have an idea! How about we make teachers unions illegal, and if a teacher is show to be effective we give them a pay raise, if not we fire them. Simple.

KnowItAll

Con

"Verizon and general motors aren't teaching the future." Of course they are not but a union is a union. If it is my opponent's argument that the teachers union should be abolished because they have the ability to strike, perhaps my opponent can state how many times teachers have took to the picket lines, the length of time of the strikes and exactly how these strikes hurt the future of America.

Please elaborate how this is relevant to the debate. The barrier to entry into the profession is relevant to this debate. A teacher in New York City has a to achieve a level of education comparable to doctors and attorneys. New York is a right to work state, meaning that employees can be fired at any time for any reason, except if the employer violates the Equal Employment Opportunity Act. With this being said, it is my argument that it would not be beneficial to society if a teaching professional who has obtained a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, passed state licensing exams, and completed an internship to be terminated simply because a principal may not like the teacher personally. A principal could do this if it were not for the protection that the teachers union provides.

"Your right. There are a lot more variables to why a student might fail. But when you have a teacher who is show over and over again to be proven ineffective, that's not a coincidence. But because it's nearly impossible to fire that teacher due to the unions, there's a problem." It takes 3 years of teaching in a classroom before tenure is awarded. When a teacher becomes tenured the teacher is considered to be qualified to continue as a teaching professional. In the event that a school board or city wishes to terminate a teacher, the first step in the process is remediation, where the teacher is given a 1 year period in which to improve his or her job performance. In the event the teacher fails during the remediation period a series of hearings take place to ensure the reasons for the teacher to be fired are warranted. This process takes approximately 10 months but only takes place if the teacher requests the hearings. At the end of the hearings, which again take approximately 10 months if the school board agrees with the finding the teacher is terminated. [1] As you can see, this process takes approximately 2 years in which a majority of the time is spent trying to correct the teacher's deficiencies. It's not impossible, it's called due process.

"That's not a sufficient enough argument to justify why teachers deserve union protection." Fair enough, "the point of tenure is to protect teachers from arbitrarily being fired. Teachers need protection from over-zealous bosses and ideological politicians. This is the same thinking behind seniority rules, which protect more expensive teachers from being laid off due to budget cuts. Teaching is not a high-paying job compared to jobs in the private sector, and one of the benefits is some job security. Occasionally this means bad teachers take longer to fire." [1]

I have an idea! How about we make teachers unions illegal, and if a teacher is show to be effective we give them a pay raise, if not we fire them. Simple. Merit pay is a topic for another debate but if a teacher is not performing as he or she should they can be fired via due process.

I fail to see how abolishing the teachers union will have a positive effect on the education the future of America receives.

[1]http://www.forbes.com...
Debate Round No. 4
chrisjohnson

Pro

chrisjohnson forfeited this round.
KnowItAll

Con

My opponent has failed to meet his burden of proof as to why the teachers union should be abolished as well as what benefit would be provided to the students of America in the event that the teachers union is abolished. In addition my opponent has forfeited the final round of this debate.

As such I respectfully request a vote for Con. Thank you to my opponent for an interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 5
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