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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill

5.21.2008

The Ongoing Teacher Racket

Here's the mess you get when you let teachers unionize:

Why don't they fire them? Easy: They can't. Contractual rules set by the teachers' unions make it "just about impossible" to fire bad teachers, according to New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein. In a national survey of teachers conducted by Education Sector, 55% say it is "very difficult and time-consuming to remove clearly ineffective teachers." Last year in New York City, for example, only ten out of 55,000 tenured teachers were fired for incompetence, which was up from previous years. One teacher was caught sending sexually explicit emails to his 16-year-old student. Yes, he was fired -- six years later and after the school paid him $350,000 in the interim. "We have had to pay him," said Klein, "because that's what's required under the contract."

HERE'S A THOUGHT experiment: What would happen if you left work, went to a strip club, and filled out an expense report saying you should be reimbursed $372 for what you claim was a "planning meeting"? Would your boss be pleased? No? Well, clearly you don't work in the D.C. public school system.

An audit conducted last fall of a D.C. after-school program revealed that two employees had taken more than $13,000 from the program's "student activity fund" to buy themselves two years' worth of lavish meals and cheap women. How did their boss react? She called them "extremely talented" and proceeded not to fire them. (She asked only that they pay back the $518 spent on alcohol.) Take that, fellas.

The problem with public education is that it is unaccountable to the public. Educators are a privileged class. They get to play the victim and the savior simultaneously. They do so much, they argue, and yet they are still underpaid and underappreciated.

Luckily for them, earlier this month was National Teacher Appreciation Week -- that special time of year when we are supposed to pay homage (and tax dollars) to those who have made our public schools the envy of the third world. It's one of those pseudo-holidays invented by teachers to remind everyone how indispensable they are. One flyer proclaimed: "They serve you every day because they love and care about you! (They're not doing it for the money!)"

Here's proof: In Fairfax, Virginia, budgetary limitations this year forced teachers to choose between a 3% salary increase and reducing class sizes. They went with the salary increase, presumably out of concern "for the children."

Teachers' unions have convinced the public that what's good for them is good for students. Bigger salaries for teachers? Yep, that's just what kids need. That and a week to appreciate teachers.


Is there anyone who cares less about the education of children than those paid to do it?

Teacher's union hacks, school boards, and educational bureaucrats spring to mind.

Other than that, no.

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