The Teacher Contract Database unveiled by an education reform group this week is a shining example of a move toward transparency as well as a useful tool for the taxpayer. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) leaders don’t like it (natch) but their objections expose their interests—get as much money from the state as possible while protecting teachers and keeping taxpayers in the dark. There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s their job.
The database was created by ConnCAN, an education reform group that was a key player in the education reform legislation passed this spring. According to a report on the database by CTNewsJunkie.com, “the database…includes information about 173 of the 174 collective bargaining contracts for public, regional, and vocational schools. It also includes the contracts for three of the 22 charter schools. Most charter schools don’t have collective bargaining contracts, but ConnCAN CEO Patrick Riccards said Wednesday he wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to putting up the salary schedules or work rules for the teachers in non-unionized charter schools.”
So what’s the problem? AFT says the information is already publicly available. Ok, so their objection is the convenience and ease with which taxpayers can get that information that’s the problem? Please. Another AFT objection seems to be the money that goes to charter schools v. public schools. That’s a poor argument against the database as well. As CTNJ reports, “Under the new education reform law charter school funding will increase from $9,400 to $11.500 per student over the next three years. The increase amounts to about $8.1 million in state funds. The same bill increased Education Cost Sharing funds for public school students by $50 million…Charter school advocates have long argued they’re the ones that are underfunded.”
The need for quality teachers is universally recognized. The need for educators who put the education of children first—which is the vast, vast, majority of them—is paramount. Yet, the AFT objects to a database that simply provides information to taxpayers. AFT’s protestations ring hollow.