Phi Beta Cons

On Unions in Higher Ed

I didn’t mean to suggest that Candace thinks the unions are the only problem in higher education, and I know that she is also concerned with the moral, spiritual, and philosophical rot, as she vividly calls it, that is behind everything. And the unions may well be a key factor in holding back reform at public institutions. 
But I can’t help noting that even in colleges and universities without unions, there are all the problems of politicization, leftwing propaganda, destruction of standards, cultural relativism, and so forth. In fact, it’s probably the case that the best private universities led the way in bringing all that in, with public institutions like SUNY and CUNY dutifully trotting along behind.  

However, that doesn’t change the fact that those like Candace trying to bring needed reform will find the unions at the public universities an enormous and even vicious obstacle  Indeed, as Dorothy Lang pointed out in an interview in Academic Questions (Winter 04-05), the CUNY faculty unions pulled out all the stops in charging racism, discrimination, and even “ethnic cleansing” over the efforts of reformers to eliminate math and reading remediation from the four-year schools and concentrate it in the two year schools, a most sensible idea which helps to preserve a higher standard of education in the four year schools and is responsible for the considerable improvements in the CUNY system that we have seen recently. 
I’ll answer the point about charter schools in a separate post.

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