Dear Granddaddy, is this Supreme Court Janus Case going to affect me? Tom B. – Teacher
I hope not, Tom. As teachers, we strive to be the best educators we can be, while always looking for ways to improve, so the best-possible teaching and learning is taking place in our classrooms. And no matter what happens in the outside world, the high level of teaching and learning should never cease, nor should our dedication to the holistic development of our students.
There is a great big world outside the four walls of our school buildings, however, and a whole lot is happening there that is moving really fast. Most of us teachers just want to teach and take care of our students, and not worry about politics, power, and money. But if we keep our heads buried in the sand, then we are throwing away our biggest asset: our collective voice. Our considerable numbers give us the ability to affect the political arena in ways that will benefit our students.
So here is the quick and dirty of what is happening politically, and how the Janus Case fits into our educational world. As you know, teachers are encouraged to join unions where they are represented in their workplace. The local and national teachers’ unions are active in the politics of education. Some teachers decide not to fully join the union and just pay agency fees, which only cover the costs of representing non-member teachers in contract negotiations and disputes with management, and don’t include any of the political activities. The Janus Case has just said that teachers no longer have to pay even the agency fees. Labor experts say that teacher unions are likely to lose up to a third of their members and the funding that goes along with them.
Tom, I know politics shouldn’t affect you and your teaching in your classroom, but it will transform education in this country. I just pray that the reduction of the teacher unions’ membership and financial resources doesn’t spill over into your school and affect your classroom in a negative way.
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