The teachers' unions have reacted passionately to the film Waiting for Superman, and rightly so. However, I also wish the unions would acknowledge some of the truths exposed in this film. One local president wrote, "The movie depicts our public schools in shambles and loaded with incompetent teachers." He is correct -- the movie does indeed do that. But to say that the depiction is false, that there are not public schools in shambles and that there are not incompetent teachers is akin to hiding one's head in the sand. No one associated with Waiting for Superman has said that ALL public schools are in shambles or ALL teachers are incompetent. The film does, however, expose the dirty little secret that when those bad schools and bad teachers do exist, the union membership should rally 'round their own and protect them. Personally, I am proud to leap up and defend my esteemed colleagues, but I am tired of having to stand in solidarity with some teachers who, quite frankly, suck. The president referenced above also wrote, "
I can't believe I am the only tenured teacher who is part of a union who feels this way. The bottom line is bad teachers make ALL teachers look bad, and I, for one, don't want to be lumped in with that lot of people who call themselves educators. I work very hard to keep my teaching relevant, and like any good teacher, I also recognize that I will always have much to learn and I'm not afraid of that (that's what life-long learning is all about). I would like to see the unions continue their wonderful support of deserving teachers but also acknowledge that the rotten apples are ruining the whole bunch of us. To me, recognizing that some educators need to be out of the classroom will show real strength from the unions; it is the ignoring of this fact that makes the unions weak.