Not many of us stop to think what the world would look like if private companies and sports teams operated like the National Education Association (NEA). Fortunately for sports fans, NFL Hall of Famer Frank Tarkenton wrote an opinion piece on what it would look like if the players union acted like the NEA. It’s not a pretty picture.
For starters, the majority of public school teachers are members of the NEA, which is a de facto union. As with most unions, the collectivist attitude of the NEA kills competition and squelches innovation; however, the NEA takes it to a whole new level.
If teacher’s unions were adopted in the NFL, there would be no need for an NFL Hall-of-Fame. Every player would be paid on the same ridiculous scale, a scale targeted more toward time served than results delivered. One can only imagine how quickly the quality of the players’ on-field performance would deteriorate. Paying an All-American quarterback the same as a second strong lineman wouldn’t be real conducive to his job commitment.
If teacher’s unions were applied to the NFL, the ratings for Monday Night Football would fall somewhere beneath those of Chris Matthews (for those not paying attention, that’s pretty low). There would be no more great players or “glory days,” because socialist collective bargaining would have destroyed the incentive for the athletes to pursue greatness.
Americans would quickly be outraged if the NFL were run like the NEA, and would probably be quick to express their disapproval.
Why, then, have we tolerated decades of sub-par performance from a heavily-unionized educational establishment? For starters, because I believe the disappointing results are not immediately obvious. If a quarterback can’t complete a pass, we see it live on television and again on instant replay. If a child is falling behind in reading and math, we may not know for years. Additionally, the entire education establishment is performing with historic ineffectiveness; therefore, comparing teacher-to-teacher and student-to-student isn’t the most effective way to measure achievement. We have to look at historical trends and international rankings to get a clear picture. In both instances, the picture is pretty dismal.
To improve American education, we must de-centralize eduction policy from Washington DC and state capitals across the Country. We must put parents, not politicians, in control of their child’s instruction. If our current misguided education policies have proven anything it’s that, as a surrogate parent, the state is a colossal failure.
Free-market economics and freedom is the answer to America’s current educational crisis. If we won’t accept the collapse of Monday Night Football, we should not accept the NEA’s continued destructive dominance of education in America.