Jeff Jacoby’s argument against educators fighting for better working and learning conditions is insulting (“For public school teachers, there can be no right to strike,” Ideas, Jan. 22).
Massachusetts has the finest public schools in the country by many different measures. The people educating our youth are almost all unionized. Those two facts are related.
Studies have shown that states with unionized educators have better public education systems than those without. Unions fight on behalf of their schools. Our union was crucial to passage of the Education Reform Act of 1993; the 2019 Student Opportunity Act, which, once fully funded, will make an additional $1.5 billion annual investment in public schools; and the new Fair Share Amendment, which will raise $2 billion a year, part of which would go toward public education.
At the local level, it is through collective bargaining that our members improve conditions in our schools. When faced with school committees that refused to bargain for months and that used tax dollars to hire highly paid antiunion lawyers, our members exercised the right to withhold their labor to force an end to long stalemates.
It is through those strikes, supported by a wide range of parents and public education advocates, that educators achieved many gains that have improved our public schools.
Massachusetts Teachers Association