Stop demonizing unions, and put yourself in teachers’ shoes

Your Aug. 30 editorial “Dispute with teachers shows need for ways to fix impasses,” regarding contract talks between the Boston Public Schools and the Boston Teachers Union, describes the impasse that had been reached as “a sad way to begin a new school year.” I couldn’t agree more.

At a time when teachers are already preparing their classrooms (before the start of the school year and on their own, unpaid time, and with supplies they have to buy with their own money), it must be discouraging for teachers to have to shoulder the blame for the impasse in negotiations.

Their union, according to the Globe, simply needs to agree to a “reasonably priced contract that allows for a reliable way to evaluate teachers.” From what I’ve been reading in the Globe, a reasonably priced contract is one in which teachers agree to work longer hours for less pay. That doesn’t sound reasonable to me. Nor does using student standardized test scores as a focal point in teacher evaluations.


It is time for the Globe to stop demonizing unions and start looking more closely at the reasons behind the union’s “furious response” to the unjust treatment of its members.

Get Arguable in your inbox:
Jeff Jacoby on everything from politics to pet peeves to the passions of the day.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here