White is wrong about unions

State Superintendent John White has a history of union busting and converting public schools into private enterprise charter schools.

During his brief 100-day tenure as deputy chancellor of the New York City Schools, he managed to alienate parents and teachers alike with his aggressive and thoughtless campaign to “reform” the schools. Parents United for Responsible Education called his appointment through Mayor Michael Bloomberg “bizarre,” and expressed relief that he was hightailing it for Louisiana when he departed after his decidedly controversial, short tenure.

The fact that he was never a school principal and was barely a classroom teacher contribute to his misdirected assault on public education in our state. Now The Advocate paraphrased White as saying that teacher unions are hindering efforts to improve student achievement, but he says nothing about the fact that his and Jindal’s unconstitutional actions had no basis in research or fact. A groundbreaking study published in the Harvard Educational Review (Winter 2000) objectively found that students in school systems with collective bargaining contracts performed much higher across the board on ACT and SAT examinations than nonunion school districts. The reason has nothing to do with keeping bad teachers on the job and everything to do with the quality of the classroom environment and the delivery of services.

John White came to Louisiana unprepared and having a personal agenda that had little to do with improving public schools. That Bobby Jindal placed him in this critical role says much about the governor’s superficial interest in public service and the welfare of Louisiana’s children.

Terry Verigan

former Jefferson Parish School Board member


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