CPS teacher Victor Harbison dissects how the union responded to the Education Trust report on inequitable distribution of teachers from school to school. Says Harbison:
The Tribune's story about the impact of teacher quality pretty much hit all the right buttons. However, I was disturbed by comments from Lanita Koster,education issues director of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
Koster is quoted towards the end of the article as saying the following:
defining what is a good or effective teacher and putting them in a
school with high class sizes and low resources do not make for the best
educational conditions...That teacher may look like a bad teacher in a
That is what I call a swing and a miss. A
teacher's union representative responds to a story on teacher quality
by talking about over-crowding and lack of resources.
Why not hit the home run? Why not say that teacher's unions,
especially the CTU, does more to work for improving teacher quality
than all the combined efforts of every board of education in Illinois?
Why not mention the Quest Center? First to offer support for National
Board Certification and one of the most successful in the country? Why
not mention the Jacqueline B. Vaughn Graduate School for Teacher
Leadership (first union sponsored masters program in the country)?
This was an easy topic to respond to, but the leadership of
teacher's unions seem to respond to every story with the same set of
talking points, whether they apply or not. (Or at least that's what
As a result, Koster missed a chance to publically state that the
overwhelming majority of teachers believe that every child deserves
teachers rated "excellent". She had a chance to show that teachers
cared first, cared most, and do more to improve quality than anyone
Harbison teaches social studies at Gage Park high school and has
been in CPS since 1995. He participated in two meetings during the
development of the Education Trust report.
Filed under: Teachers & Teaching