I was listening to NPR last night, and I was very surprised to learn that of all the unions in the US, Education unions outnumber every other union by at least 25% ! This is a must listen for every US citizen: http://www.wbur.org/npr/125019386 Given the awful sate of of eduction in the US, are unions at least partly to blame for the sad state of education in this country? My own opinion on this is that educators do care, unions or not, but that there are two things missing from their ideology: 1) Educators don't know how to control a classroom so that real learning happens. Eventually they do get exasperated and do the minimum needed to educate the students. 2) They don't do enough things to connect the rote learning to what is happening at the frontiers of the subject. So if you are teaching math, invite a world class mathematician to give a lecture. If you are teaching Biology, invite Greg Venter to give a lecture. If you are learning Physics, invite Leonard Susskind to give a lecture. This should all be done from 6th grade on.