On Monday, the Minnesota Senate passed a bill that would allow schools to take into account performance evaluations of teachers in addition to seniority while making layoffs.
This measure is part of a larger education reform movement that, at its best, tries to improve teacher quality, but at its worst, tries to marginalize and destroy unions and privatize public education.
Teachers’ unions have been treated as the villains in education reform lately. The argument goes that students need great teachers — which nobody disagrees with — and that unions protect bad teachers, often accompanied by a particularly egregious example.
Unions protect all teachers because that’s their job. Lawyers defend violent criminals, but we don’t publicly berate them for doing so because that is how the process is supposed to work.