An even bigger scandal is brewing in Miami-Dade County, Fla., which is home to the nation's fourth largest, ailing, failing, overcrowded school district. Federal and local investigators this week raided the mighty United Teachers of Dade headquarters, hauling off boxes of financial records belonging to union head Pat Tornillo. Tornillo, a Democrat heavy who commands a $4 million annual payroll (including his own $243,000 yearly salary), is suspected of diverting union funds to pay for homes, hotel bills and other perks, according to the Miami Herald.
So much for the poor students still crammed in portable classrooms failing their tests.
Tornillo oversaw a disastrous spending binge on real estate and used the union's political and economic clout to secure lucrative construction and insurance contracts for cronies, set the school year calendar, stack the school board, dominate Florida Democrat Party circles, and maintain the highest average teacher salaries in Florida.
"The mismanagement and lavish lifestyle and all of the perks at the members' expense have been pretty obvious,'' local union critic Damaris Daugherty told the Herald. So obvious, and yet so thoroughly ignored by big government elites who refuse to acknowledge what a bureaucratic parasite the teachers' union apparatus has become.
As muck-raking journalist Peter Brimelow argues in his devastating new expose, The Worm in the Apple: How the Teacher Unions Are Destroying American Education, teachers' union monopolies have put a chokehold on our education system, much like the "trusts" that stifled American businesses a century ago. Through their collective bargaining power, forced dues schemes, and "self-perpetuating staff oligarchy," the "Teacher Trust" has succeeded in providing ever more money and benefits not for students -- but for themselves. This power grab would not have been possible without a socialized government school system immune from private competition and sustained by a bottomless well of taxpayer funds.
But hey, when it's done in the name of public schoolchildren, it isn't "looting." It's "professional development."