Tenure Without Union at White Kids’ Unifed
I and my interviewer had just finished my interview for the rival White Kids’ Unified. My master teacher thinks I’d do well in that rich suburb, and she said so as an insult.
The interviewer must have been impressed with my by-then well-polished one-liners and my general spiel, and so she asked if I had any questions. Of course, I did. I took a dangerous turn: Why do teachers in other districts have it out for White Kids’ Unified, which outperforms every district in the county?
This is not transcribed, and is the essence of her response:
I’ve taught in four states. I was in Maryland, Texas and Virginia. I’ve been in a lot of school districts.
This school district is, hands-down, the best I’ve ever been in. I have never seen any district like this. They take care of teachers’ needs. If you need anything, they will take care of it.
Our philosophy is simple: Kids first.
At other school districts, you might need something, and the administration tells you, “Sorry, we don’t have any money.” Here, you don’t need to buy anything out of your own pocket. We take care of all of our students’ needs. We take care of our teachers.
Don’t you pay less?
Yes, we do, but we take care of all of our teachers’ needs, too, because they can also be extensions of students’ needs. Teachers don’t have to pay out of their own pocket for any supplies or anything. I know at other districts, some teachers shell out lots of money for classroom resources. You don’t have to do that here.
Why no union in this district?
The benefits here are great, and teachers get paid well. They don’t have to spend any amount of their own money on their classes. Why do you need a union? The district takes care of it.
Teachers in other districts ask why we don’t have a union. I can’t speak for your district, but in other districts I’ve taught in teachers’ unions negotiate for getting more things for the teachers. They’re concerned all about the teachers.
It isn’t about the teachers. It’s about the kids. That’s what White Kids’ Unified is all about.
She did not mince words.
On an unrelated line of questioning, I considered tenure. Do White Kids’ Unified teachers have it?
Yes. After two years, you have tenure.
At the time, I didn’t think of the better question: How does a district have a tenure system if there isn’t a union to reinforce it?