In the last three years, remote learning has usually been synonymous with COVID-19 outbreaks. These past few months, however, students across Columbus were forced into remote learning as a result of teachers going on strike.
The strike was organized by the Columbus Education Association (CEA), with goals of bargaining with the Columbus City Schools Board of Education regarding teachers contracts, according to the Columbus Dispatch. It is crucial that teachers unions remain protected, as teachers should be able to negotiate with administration on contracts and agreements that affect teachers and students.
Teachers have the role of educating the world’s next politicians, doctors and engineers who will take on the role of making the world a better place. This emphasizes the need for teachers to receive the resources necessary to teach in comfortable, rewarding environments. When teachers do not have access to commodities such as classroom air conditioning—an issue highlighted in the CEA strike according to EducationWeek—they should be able to voice their concerns with administrators.
While air conditioning may not seem like a major issue within a school district, there have been many similar instances where teachers have united together to limit administrative power.
According to the American Federation of Teachers, in 2005, New York City teachers were expected to teach in very specific formats and were persecuted if they did not follow tedious lesson plan guidelines. Because of the unions established within the city, teachers were able to bypass the policy through contract negotiations with administration.
Administrators and people of power taking advantage of their sought-after positions is a common theme in most workplaces. Similar to checks and balances in the government, it is important that teachers are able to check administration when they are making unfair and unpopular decisions.
Teachers unions are also necessary to assure that educators receive fair benefits and salaries. In a constantly changing and inflating economy, it is essential that teacher salaries adjust in order for teachers to stay afloat financially. If teachers are unable to negotiate salaries, they will experience pay cuts as a result of inflation.
Already, teachers do not get paid enough for the time and effort they put into educating the future generations. If educators were not able to discuss better salaries and benefits, a lack of teachers becomes a concern, as the profession would be considered undesirable due to the large pay gap.
Because oftentimes teachers’ needs are overlooked, unionization is essential to school districts. It is important that teachers have the ability to speak up for themselves to ensure that they are receiving fair treatment in their place of work and meeting the needs of their students.