Here’s a question: Is real, meaningful education reform possible within our current system of traditional public schools?
If Stamford is any indication, the answer is sadly no. The teachers union there is on the verge of filing a labor dispute over the district’s approval of a Math tutoring program.
According to Rob Varnon at the Stamford Advocate, the Stamford Education Association (SEA) is upset over the Stamford Board of Education’s decision to approve a pilot Math tutoring program for struggling Algebra I students, because the program would use non-union tutors during school hours.
Keep in mind, this program would not in any way replace teachers with unlicensed non-union tutors. There will be a licensed teacher in the room overseeing tutoring sessions and students will still be attending regular Algebra I classes in addition to a one credit tutoring session.
It’s also important to note that study after study has shown that the Match School model, which this program is based off of, has increased student achievement and attendance.
Let me repeat that. In no way does this hurt teachers or the union. All this program would do is help students. And, yet, the union is still staunchly against the measure.
Perhaps SEA President Michael Arcano’s response to the Stamford Advocate gives us a glimpse as to why:
“There are other avenues to do this,” he said. “For example, I don’t think I’d have any problem bringing math teachers in here on a Saturday.”
Yes, sure. A Saturday program will most certainly attract struggling high school freshman.
Except, no, no it won’t.
It’s absurd to even suggest that high school students, many of which already have poor attendance, would give up their Saturdays to attend additional math classes.
It’s clear this isn’t about increasing student achievement for Arcano and the SEA. It’s about union politics.
It’s no wonder parents are seeking better options.
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