|The Declining Popularity of Teacher Labor Unions|
|posted by: Alix | June 07, 2012, 03:58 PM|
This week's recall election has thrust union special interests and teacher freedoms back into the national dialogue like never before. After a bitter campaign and an estimated $60 million spent on election efforts, the commanding win for Governor Walker illustrates an overwhelming shift in public opinion against teachers unions. As the dust settles on this historic election, it's no coincidence that according to a new public opinion poll, teacher unions nationally are reaching all-time low approval levels.
In the latest national survey instituted by Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance and Education Next, scholars found that the share of the public with a positive view of union impact on local schools has dropped by a whopping 7% in the past year alone. Among teachers, union approval has reached an astonishing 16% decline. Whereas 58% of teachers took a positive view of unions in 2011 for example, just 43% feel the same in 2012.
These sentiments are further confirmed by a dramatic decline in union membership nationwide. According to Education Intelligence Agency's Mike Antonucci, the National Education Association is reporting a decline of 150,000 members in the past two years and they further project that they will lose 200,000 more members by 2014.
According to researchers the survey's most striking findings come from teachers themselves. Obviously teachers are frustrated by the unions' controversial tactics, political spending, and outlandish dues. As the unions cope with the unilaterally negative press and legislative and legal battles across the country, members understandably do not want to be identified with a dying organization based on an outdated model of representation.
Based on the data, teachers are fleeing the unions and seeking alternative organizations in record numbers. It's no coincidence that while the unions lose members, the Association of American Educators (AAE) and state chapters throughout the country are growing by leaps and bounds. Not only has our membership grown exponentially across the country, but AAE membership has particularly grown in states that are at the forefront of the education and labor debate, including the forced union battleground of Wisconsin.
The results of this poll also give further evidence of the need for a robust non-union educator movement nationally – a movement that embraces innovation and reform while focusing on professionalism, collaboration and excellence. It is this positive voice that teachers are demanding as a professional option. As respected professionals, teachers should distance themselves from the self-serving interest of labor unions and align themselves with an organization that respects their true priorities.
As the summer begins and teachers look to a new school year in the coming months, we encourage teachers across America to take these findings to heart and choose membership in an organization that best represents them and their profession. Those who don't identify with the unprofessional, hyper-partisan tactics of the unions should join with the over 300,000 other teachers who have embraced truly professional organizations like the Association of American Educators.
What do you think about this new poll? Does it reflect your beliefs?