Myron Lieberman is chairman of the Education Policy Institute in Washington, D. Perhaps if teachers experience the benefits of competition as consumers, they will recognize its value for parents and students. For example, state legislatures would have to do three things: 1) reduce the number of votes required to trigger an election to select a new teacher representative, explicitly allow individuals, nonprofit and for-profit organizations to compete for the right to represent teachers, and enable all members in the bargaining unit to vote on the key decisions affecting their terms and conditions of employment.To alleviate this problem, competition is required in the teacher representation market. Without their opposition to school choice, many more options would be available to parents of K-12 children., and the author of the Cato Policy Analysis "Liberating Teachers: Toward Market Competition in Teacher Representation. Introducing competition into teacher representation is the best way to insure that unions work for the benefit of teachers.In Economics 101, we are told that ease of entry is the most important requirement for a competitive market to emerge.Undoubtedly, enactment of the proposal in one state would publicize the concept nationally to rank-and-file teachers who have every reason to support legislation that would expand their choice of exclusive representative. Teachers would retain the right to go without an exclusive representative and each of the representative options would compete against all the others. Parents and their children, therefore, become the secondary beneficiaries of increased competition for teacher representation.
These benefits include lower dues, better service, increased choice, and more input in the key decisions affecting their employment. Allowing solo entrepreneurs, professional negotiators, lawyers, and collective bargaining companies to compete with the NEA/AFT for teacher representation would create a more powerful consumer role for teachers who wish to purchase these services. One way to provide that would be to allow for-profit and nonprofit entities as well as solo entrepreneurs, labor lawyers, and collective bargaining companies to represent teachers in collective bargaining.Teacher representation would not be limited to membership organizations as it is now, and teachers could change their choice of representative periodically, perhaps every three years or at the expiration of a collective agreement covering teachers.
Teachers would experience a number of significant benefits from competition to represent them in collective bargaining.C.t is difficult to see how the NEA/AFT could successfully persuade most teachers that legislation that expands their choice of exclusive representative is harmful to teachers.Providing increased competition to the NEA and AFT would require some changes in current labor policy in most states.Also, considering that the two largest teacher unions are the major opponents of school choice, diminishing the role and influence of the NEA/AFT would contribute to a more positive climate for the school choice movement. Rolling back the teacher union juggernaut may be the next critical step in improving schools and creating meaningful educational choice for parents and students.