Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

True School Reform Is Not Against Teacher Interests

March 27, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Paul J. Phillips, the president of the Quincy (Mass.) Education Association, writes in his Feb. 28, 2007, letter to the editor that reformers he calls “anti-unionists” are against the interests of teachers. He has it backwards.

An improved education system—what reformers are working toward—supports the outstanding teachers who struggle to achieve success amid the rigors and roadblocks of the current underperforming and monopolistic system.

In Mr. Phillips’ view, reformers paint a picture of teachers’ unions’ efforts for change that is limited solely to measures that feed their self-interest, such as the move for smaller class sizes. What he might consider instead is the need to put more money on what incontrovertible evidence proves to be effective in better educating children: high-performing teachers in every classroom.

We need to attract and retain the best teachers possible. A change in the archaic salary chart and tenure system would go a long way toward both finding and keeping these teachers. Instead of rewarding teachers who have merely “stuck it out,” why not financially reward those who have made verifiable accomplishments in their students’ education? This provides incentives to achieve, and also is a great recruiting tool to encourage the best and brightest college students to consider a career in teaching.

Mr. Phillips says that educators “should not take the easy way.” We agree. It is time to look at education in a whole new light. If that light shows that the existing system is not working, we should take the more difficult route of approaching problems in new and innovative ways, with greater concentration on the interests of children than on the archaic structure that now surrounds them at school.

Steven R. Maggi

Director

Education Reform Center

Evergreen Freedom Foundation

Olympia, Wash.

A version of this article appeared in the March 28, 2007 edition of Education Week as True School Reform Is Not Against Teacher Interests

Events

Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Close the Gender Gap: Getting Girls Excited about STEM
Join female STEM leaders as they discuss the importance of early cheerleaders, real life role models, and female networks of support.
Content provided by Logitech
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
Mission Possible: Saving Time While Improving Student Outcomes
Learn how district leaders are maximizing instructional time and finding the best resources for student success through their MTSS framework.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: January 18, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Letter to the Editor EdWeek's Most-Read Letters of 2022
Here are this year’s top five Letters to the Editor.
1 min read
Education Week opinion letters submissions
Gwen Keraval for Education Week
Education In Their Own Words Withstanding Trauma, Leading With Honesty, and More: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our journalists highlight why stories on the impact of trauma on schooling and the fallout of the political discourse on race matter to the field.
4 min read
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express-News via AP
Education In Their Own Words Masking, Miscarriages, and Mental Health: The Education Stories That Stuck With Us
Our reporters share the stories they wrote that rose above the fray—and why.
5 min read
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Crystal Curtis and her son, Jordan Curtis, outside their home in Plano, Texas. Crystal, a healthcare professional whose son attends school in Plano talks about the challenges of ensuring quality schooling, her discomfort with the state and district’s rollback of mandatory masking, and the complications of raising a Black child in a suburban district as policies shift.
Allison V. Smith for Education Week