If Teachers Unions Are So Great, Why Aren’t Our Schools?
At least on Labor Day the damage they can do is limited.
Last August hosted National Employee Freedom Week, a time to celebrate our nation’s 28 right-to-work states, lament over the 22 non-right-to-work states, and reflect on the destruction America’s teachers unions are inflicting on our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.
Government schools enroll the vast majority of U.S. students, about 90 percent. Despite the unions’ insistence there should be no alternative to public schools because public schools are the best thing for kids, we see American students losing ground to their international peers every year.
The 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) showed a decline in both 4th and 8th grade mathematics and reading scores compared to 2013. It also found a mere 37 percent of high school graduates are prepared for college. The 2016 Programme for International Student Assessment resultsrevealed stagnant reading scores and plummeting math scores compared to the last time U.S. 15-year-olds took the test.
America’s academic achievement, or lack thereof, is dismal. Our kids aren’t learning, and teachers unions are mostly to blame. They waste countless time, money, and resources and attract and maintain the lousiest, most corrupt, and sometimes dangerous employees. They aren’t cheap, either. Union members, according to an analysis by CNN of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, “make about 30 percent more than non-union workers. They also are more likely to be covered by health insurance and retirement plans.”
Where does the money for those bloated union-backed salaries and cushy benefits packages come from? You, the taxpayer. Last year, the Illinois Policy Institute reported the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees demanded taxpayers, who are already overburdened, pony-up an additional $3 billion in raises for employees in Illinois — a state that has $111 billion in pension debt for government employees and is on the verge of a fiscal collapse.
Across the country, the situation isn’t much better; teachers unions are robbing fellow citizens of their hard-earned dollars to fatten their own wallets. And when they don’t get their way, they throw a tantrum — literally shouting and refusing to do what they were hired to do — until they get what they want, no matter how unreasonable.
Are we getting our money’s worth? Unless there’s some phenomenon we don’t know about wherein our nation’s youth are losing collective IQ points and test-taking skills, the answer our test results give is a resounding “no.”
Not only are teachers unions expensive time-wasters, they aren’t even doing a good job. The very concept of a union is attractive to those types of people who think it’s fine to bully others and who expect special treatment through no merit of their own. Unions attract the worst sort of workers: entitled people with a mob mentality who relish the fact it’s very difficult to fire them.
A quick Google search reveals tons of examples of abusive, pervy, and downright lazy teachers who have kept their jobs because they’re protected by unions. (One New Jersey teacher remained employed after being late to his own class more than 100 times.)
Maybe our kids aren’t learning because all the money that should be going to books and other educational materials is swallowed up by exorbitant salaries, benefits, and pensions. Or perhaps it’s because union members spend much of their time outside of the classroom striking or being “ghost teachers,” rather than educating kids. (A Pennsylvania lawsuit alleges ghost teachers “have been paid more than $500,000, essentially to skip teaching classes and instead work full time for the local teachers’ union,” reported FoxNews.com.)
Maybe U.S. students are failing to attain an education because once teachers are hired and, by default, protected by the all-powerful unions, they can rest on their laurels, abuse students, or do a number of other terrible things that would get virtually anyone else fired in the real world.
There’s hope, though. A new Gallup poll shows Americans strongly (71 percent) support the belief private schools provide good/excellent education. Public schools only received 44 percent support. And a U.S. Supreme Court case on the horizon challenging forced union dues could very well result in a deathblow to teachers unions.
For the sake of our children and nation, the deathblow can’t come soon enough.
[Originally Published at American Spectator]