There is a myth that the teachers' unions have been nursing, developing and depending on for decades - that their labor goals incorporate the needs of students, and that they are the guardians of student interests.
Successfully selling that concept does a lot for unions at contract time.
Unions use secrecy to their advantage.
Despite the fact that school districts and unions are determining how to spend millions of taxpayer dollars, most still negotiate collective bargaining agreements behind closed doors.
Citizens are typically left out and in the dark about the details of a new contract until it has already been ratified and carries the weight of the law.
The truth is that teachers' unions exist to protect the interests of their members, whether those interests are consistent with the interests of the students or not. Most parents probably don't realize that our nation's teachers' unions serve more than one purpose.
First and foremost, they exist to maximize income for their members, protect them from accountability and suck as much money from government schools as they possibly can. But they are also a very active arm of the Democratic National Party.
It's, therefore, not surprising that they have come up with an excuse that serves all of their agendas simultaneously. Poverty is to blame for the sorry condition of education in our nation.
Most experts agree that all children can learn - even those in a state of poverty - with effective instructors.
One of the simplest and most effective things we can do is push for reform of teacher certification. There are many problems with teacher's colleges - from the low standards for acceptance to the concerns over the quality of graduates.
I believe that the solution shouldn't be to reform this process; it should be to throw it out altogether.
Instead of trying to improve undergraduate teacher training, I have another idea: get rid of it. Replace traditional education requiring aspiring teachers to major in something other than education.
Students who want to be math teachers must major in math, for example, and fulfill the same graduation requirements as the school's other math majors. The same would apply for English and science.
Think about how incredibly effective that would be.
By forcing prospective teachers to become subject-matter experts, we'd be taking the very best and brightest in each field and transferring their in-depth knowledge to our students.
We shouldn't put a prospective writer, engineer, chemist or historian in an environment with someone who majored in education.
Archaic union contract rules are violating children's right to a quality education and effective educators.
In California, a recent high-profile court case against teacher tenure will have national implications.
Recently, in the state of Kansas, the teachers have de-certified the union and are now negotiating their own contracts.
Many states have dropped tenure from teacher contracts. Pennsylvania would be wise to follow these guidelines.
David L. Gallagher