The Center for Union Facts (which brought us such memorable 30-second video gems as this and this) hasn’t made a name for itself by being bland, demure, or run-of-the-mill. Therefore, it was hardly surprising to see them unveil the new Teachers Union Exposed website, complete with a sponsored contest that promises “to pay the ten worst union-protected teachers in America $10,000 apiece to get out of the classroom.”
Of course, $10,000 is a bargain compared to the princely sums sometimes paid to dismiss the worst-offending or poorest-performing tenured teachers.
I have many, many friends who currently are teachers – traditional public school, charter school, private school – and I know plenty more who have spent time in the teaching profession. These and most of their colleagues aren’t the ones being targeted by Union Facts:
“Most teachers are doing a wonderful job under difficult circumstances,” the group said on its Web site. “The overall effect of teachers’ unions on public education, however — when lawmakers and voters leave their power unchecked — is far from positive.”
This teacher is currently working at my daughter’s neighborhood public high school. My daughter, who wants to be a teacher, and I have almost daily talks about what an excellent example this teacher is of “what NOT to do.” It’s not a good sign when the first day of class the teacher says, “The only thing I hate worse than teaching ___ [the name of the class she's teaching] is teaching ninth graders.”
We’ll have to see how stiff the competition is to determine whether this particular teacher has the stuff to make it into the $10,000 prize category.
Meanwhile, another one of my respected blogging acquaintances, Alan Gottlieb (a reform-minded Democrat), observes:
Well, this may be going a bit far, but it makes for entertaining reading. Sure itâ€™s a politicized publicity stunt. But it points to a problem more respectable groups, like Common Good, have been talking about for a while now. And it stirs stuff up, which is often productive in the end.
As I noted in the comment section of Alan’s post:
If their goal is to bring public attention to the extent of the problem, it seems like a pretty effective way to do it. Sure, it lacks some of the refinement and nuance we policy wonk types would bring to the table. But then again, there are audiences out there not paying attention to us who might pay attention to something like this campaign.
Personally, I think the burden should be on the union to explain why this issue doesnâ€™t deserve greater public debate and scrutiny.
Nothing like quoting yourself when you can’t think of a better way to say it.