Union forgetting its purpose?

Thursday, November 8, 2012
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

Three years ago, the Arizona teachers union kicked special needs kids and foster children out of the state's scholarship program. Now that the union is trying to keep those students from getting education savings accounts, one analyst wonders if it's forgotten its purpose.

Butcher, Jonathan (Goldwater Institute)Jonathan Butcher of the Goldwater Institute explains that shortly after the education savings accounts were approved in 2011, the Arizona Education Association filed a lawsuit to stop them. His organization is defending the program.

"Fortunately, students had already enrolled in the program, so the program was allowed to continue," Butcher reports. "But nevertheless, here we are a year and a half later still fighting a challenge."

He tells OneNewsNow there are currently a variety of educational choices for students, which include vouchers, online learning, charter schools, and the education savings accounts.

"So with all of these different ways for children to be educated, I think that for unions to actively be working against the different choices that parents have over how best to educate their children really calls into question what their place is today and whether they have kind of lost what their ultimate purpose was when they first started," the education director offers.

A report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute says unions have their place in public education, but it wonders what that place is in Arizona.

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