|Unions Take Education and Labor Battles to Courts|
|posted by: Alix | September 27, 2011, 10:04 PM|
Everything from teacher evaluations and compensation, to the expansion of school choice policies have seen legal challenges from unions which cite that the new laws violate prior worker contracts and state constitutions. While a legal strategy is not new, the last resort court appeals have once again shown that the teacher unions will stop at nothing to protect their interests, regardless of political mandates, critically needed reform, or new budget realities.
In Florida and New Jersey, two lawsuits pending seek to block the adoption of new laws that require teachers to contribute toward their pensions to combat budget shortfalls. In Florida, ground-breaking education reform laws dealing with phasing out tenure and implementing performance pay for teachers are in limbo over union-led lawsuits.
Similarly in Idaho, after unprecedented union uproar during the legislative process, union groups are suing over another law that phases out tenure, and established performance pay, and incorporates technology into schools systems.
Despite the pending legal proceedings, governors who are championing education reform are not backing down. Amy Graham, a spokeswoman for Florida Governor Rick Scott, disputed the union's claims that the policies would have adverse affects. "Why shouldn't good teachers be rewarded with merit-based pay? By retaining the best teachers, weeding out the worst, and expanding school choice, we are creating a world-class education system."
In Indiana, a headline grabbing legal battle is playing out as a school choice bill enacted this year has become enormously popular for families desperately trying to get their children out of failing schools. The voucher law is being challenged as illegally directing state money into religious schools, despite the majority of students attending alternative public schools.