Unions Rule: Coin Flips Choose School Personnel

Kyle Olson

2/15/2011 12:01:00 AM - Kyle Olson

Have you ever seen a school administrator add up the last four digits of a teacher’s social security number to determine whether or not that teacher will remain on the staff? How about teachers flipping a coin to see who will have a job next school year, and who will be standing in the unemployment line?

When faced with downsizing a teaching staff, normal Americans would try to keep the best possible teachers in the classrooms, for the children’s sake.

But that is not how teacher unions, and therefore public schools, think, and unions’ distorted priorities are the only ones that matter.

Watch ‘Years Trump Effectiveness: Tenure and Seniority’ – Episode 6 – “Kids Aren’t Cars.”

Many school districts across the country are facing shrinking school budgets, forcing them to lay off teachers. But districts that are infested by the teacher unions cannot get rid of the least effective teachers on staff. No way. That would violate the time-honored union principle of seeing teachers as interchangeable cogs in a machine.

Unions do not allow teachers to be viewed as individuals, but rather as part of a group. When layoffs occur, the teachers with the most seniority keep their jobs.

In this installment, “Kids Aren’t Cars” tells that story of two young Indiana teachers who were honored as “Teacher of the Year,” only to be fired literally the next day. Only to a true “union believer” would that scenario make any sense.

But even more destructive is the concept of tenure. Once a teacher is granted tenure status (usually after his or her third or fourth year in the classroom), that teacher essentially has a job for life. The unions will argue that a teacher can still be fired, and that is true. But the process for firing a tenured teacher is so expensive and enormously time-consuming that districts only attempt to fire the teachers that end up on the 11 o’clock news. PublicSchoolSpending.com recently laid out the long and winding road map for firing a tenured teacher in New Jersey.

In the case of lazy or ineffective teachers, cash-strapped districts are apt to leave them in the classroom. In some cases, districts will simply pay a horribly bad teacher to leave, oftentimes giving him a letter of recommendation for his next job.

This practice is so common, that it is known as “The Dance of the Lemons.” And it happens more than most people realize.

But there is hope. Some states, such as Indiana, are trying to end the practice of seniority and tenure. And, of course, the teacher unions are fighting them tooth-and-nail.

Is your state attempting to “rein in” the abuses of the teacher unions? Find out and speak up. Fight back against vested interests that put themselves ahead of our kids.