For those following the lively discussion about unions and collective bargaining, I was encouraged to start a new thread with the topic below. Here's the background: The debate in the previous union thread became quite heated, with many arguments ranging from very anti-union to very pro-union. One thing became clear to some, though - whether unions are good or bad, effective or not effective, there is an outstanding truth not being addressed: teachers are losing the public debate about whether they are worthwhile, and even worthy of being stood up for. Sometimes you can be right, but that doesn't win the argument. So.... _____ Clearly, there are issues with unions right now - even if they are good, many people outside of those unions - from politicians to members of the public - see substantial flaw in them. With the teaching profession already under intense scrutiny, with a major critique (whether true or not) being that teachers are either lazy or otherwise don't earn high salaries, what is the best way to change this image of teachers in the public, and help the country understand how vital teachers are? When the average person outside of education hears of teachers refusing to teach, leaving at 2:30 and not writing letters of rec for a student, and complaining (through unions) about still not being paid enough, I suspect it looks bad, and it encourages the public and their representatives to have a negative view of the profession, and the professionals in it. Rather than addressing weaknesses in the profession and talking about how to address those internal standards, many members of the public and government hear complaining about unfair treatment. This, I suspect, rubs many the wrong way, even if those complaints are more than legitimate and dead-on accurate. If you were in a position of leadership on a local, state, and national level, what could you do to refocus the country on the importance of education and educators, the weaknesses in the profession that need to be addressed, and the unfair treatment educators are experiencing - from news reports to the paycheck - without making causing your audience to label you as immature, lazy, ungrateful, and defensive?