According to a study by Metlife, as reported on in The Nation, job satisfaction is dropping amongst teachers. Only 44 percent of teachers described themselves as “very satisfied,” and almost a third of teachers are considering leaving the profession. This news comes as the conservative organization the State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF) is set to air an attack ad in select states including Michigan. The SGLF is essentially the 501(c)3 arm of The Republican State Leadership Committee. The Republican State Leadership Committee calls itself a “national organization whose mission is electing Republicans to the office of Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and legislator.”
The ad hits below the belt referring to teacher’s unions as bullies and implying that unions are the the reason the U.S. is scoring lower than the Chinese on the international science and math test known as the PISA. Not surprisingly, the Chinese don’t play fair when it comes to these tests. While most countries taking the PISA use a sampling of all the students in their country, the Chinese kids that topped the PISA were from Shanghai, perhaps China’s most advanced city. No kids were tested from China’s rural areas where the droput rate sometimes reaches 40%! Besides, even the Chinese have concerns about the the importance of these tests. Some are concerned that creating “test-takers” comes with the cost of a poor imagination and low creativity. They are also concerned that creating “test-takers” comes at the expense of an enjoyable childhood. Not only is the Chinese comparison suspect, so is the connection between unions and test scores. In Finland, 95% of its teachers are in unions. That is significant because Finland often holds the top spot in these type of tests, and they are often regarded as having the strongest education system in the world. Back in the U.S. 9 out of the top 10 scoring states on the NAEP test are states with where school teacher’s unions are strong.
These attack ads should be seen for what they are, political action. While these conservative organizations would like you to believe they care about kids, they really only care about making money and political power. They will do anything to get conservatives elected so they can pass their extreme policies including privatizing education in order to profit from it.
Note: The SGLF and the RSLC share the same address and the SGLF’s page states that they are “affiliated with the Republican State Leadership Committee.”