How’s this for politics? I recently blogged about merit pay legislation under consideration in the General Assembly. Somebody had the great idea of attaching the Special Needs Tax Credit bill to the teacher pay bill which is a pretty brilliant idea, in my opinion. If the teachers’ unions support increased teacher pay (with no merit pay, of course … that would just be too crazy for us to pay good teachers what they deserve), and the school choice advocates support tax credits for autistic children, why not combine both provisions?
It turns out, though, that that was the deal-breaker.
From the Post-Dispatch’s coverage:
When the scholarship program was inserted into the teacher pay bill last week, two large teacher groups dropped their support for it. A lobbyist for the Missouri National Education Association said his group was "passionately opposed."
What a shock.
Who are the teachers’ unions looking out for? The teachers, the students, or their own institutional power? The unions decided that they would rather prevent teachers the people they reportedly represent from earning pay raises so that they could ensure that no infinitesimal limit to their power could take root in a tax credit bill designed to help autistic children who aren’t being served by the public schools.
I’m sorry, students and teachers of Missouri, that there are people out there working so hard to prevent improvements in the state’s education system.