"The fate of our country won't be decided on a battlefield. It will be determined in a classroom." Do you believe that?
Last week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called on 14 state Senate Democrats, who had fled the state instead of voting on a deficit-cutting anti-teachers-union bill, to return and do their jobs. Senate Republicans hold a 19-14 majority there but can't vote on the bill unless at least one Democrat is present.
Does that sound like democracy at work to you? Do you think it?s just a coincidence that the two largest teachers unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, are the largest campaign contributors in the nation -- $55 million in just the past two years, more than the Teamsters, the National Rifle Association or any other organization -- and that 90 percent of those contributions fund only Democratic candidates?
As I began to point out last week, the U.S. public education system is flailing now more than ever, and teachers unions are aiding and abetting its demise. Some teachers unions may indeed be fighting for some of our teachers, but they are failing our students by protecting adults at the expense of the reformation of a crippled and dying system.
I became even further aware of that in a big way when I recently watched the movie "Waiting for ?Superman,?" a deeply personal look into the state of U.S. public education and how it is effecting our children. It is a movie my wife, Gena, and I encourage every American to watch. (It just came out on DVD and Blu-ray.)
"Waiting for ?Superman?" demonstrates how:
--Teachers unions are crippling the education of our children.
--Tenure and its guaranteed jobs are perpetuating educational dysfunction.
--Existing bureaucracies in education, from the U.S. Department of Education to state school boards, are doing more harm than good.
--Many public schools have become "dropout factories" (schools with high dropout rates).
--Many public school districts are engaged in "lemon dances" (sending their worst teachers to other schools and then in turn accepting failing teachers themselves).
--Many public school districts have "rubber rooms," places where teachers placed on disciplinary leave are waiting for hearings that could take three to four years to be heard. These teachers waste their time playing cards and other games while getting paid full salaries and benefits -- to the wasted sum of $100 million a year of taxpayer money.
Think about this: If a teacher knows he can?t be fired, why should he work or care? What other profession, besides college professor, has that kind of contractual agreement? None.
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