Teachers Unions Do Not Equal Teachers

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In the wake of yesterday’s State House hearing on his proposal to create in-district charter schools in Boston, the Globe has an article exploring Mayor Menino’s motivation for changing his stance on charters, which he has historically (and quite vocally) opposed.

I will leave aside for now my thoughts on the Mayor’s proposal, and simply point out in the article what I thought was a curious paragraph, one that highlights a problem that too often plagues public discussions of education reform:

The party’s shift has elicited feelings of betrayal among teachers, who feel that too much blame is placed on them and that political leaders are failing to take responsibility for not providing funding and other resources teachers say are necessary to turn around schools.

This paragraph assumes that all teachers think alike. I can tell you from experience that the millions of public school teachers in this country do not constitute a single monolith. In public discussions of charter schools and other controversial ed reform issues, we need to distinguish between what the teachers unions feel and what teachers feel. They are not necessarily the same thing.