Teachers Unions: No Matter How You Try To Slice It, They Are Corrupt, Self-Serving, And Hypocritical

By   |  October 1, 2014

Teachers unions are vile, self-serving rackets, plain and simple.

Despite what public school teachers in the U.S. (and elsewhere) would have you believe, their primary concern is not for “students” when they march, rally, and protest aggressively for higher wages, more benefits, and longer holidays.

In theory, teachers unions offer democratic representation on behalf of thousands of schools, teachers, and students, resisting the sway of local and national governments and powerful corporations – all of which lobby for their own interests.

In practice, however, corrupt union leaders that are hell-bent on influencing political processes by any means possible – and local coordinators that intimidate and harass teachers or politicians that do not fall in line and support union goals – reveal these rather shameful organizations for what they truly are: out of control monstrosities obssessed more with politics than “teaching” that are intent on decreasing teachers’ accountability and increasing their free handouts.

The Pot Calling The Kettle Black

Now, please don’t get me wrong: I am NOT against unions. And before anyone calls me out for blindly linking to the extremely anti-union National Right To Work Committee (above) in order to make a point, please… continue reading.

Is the NRTWC biased toward corporate America? Most definitely. But are millions of Americans abandoning their support for labor unions in recent decades simply because of corporate propaganda? That’s surely a bit delusional, to say the least. Rather, the truth is that Americans overwhelmingly prioritize individual freedom, which is why they often support the idea of unions despite less and less citizens actually joining them.

Teachers unions are not resisting evil corporate forces. In fact, they are so obviously self-serving that creating external enemies to justify their own existence seems to have become a necessity in recent years, which is why “corporations” have become the newly-sung enemy. And even if there was a big bad corporate conspiracy – which I will debunk later – since when did fighting evil with evil become respectable?

Those that follow CollegeTimes know how much we hate for-profit scam colleges and the attempt by Wall Street investors to hijack higher education in order to line their pockets with taxpayer money. But that’s just the thing: corruption and waste are just as shameful regardless of their source, and teachers unions are just as easily guilty of both.

Despite liberal-leaning alarmists arguing that teachers unions are endangered or that right-to-work legislation is destroying the very structure needed to keep unions in existence, the reality is that national teachers unions still wield an extraordinary amount of political power – and that’s not going away anytime soon.

Theoretically Good, Realistically Awful

One of the only cohesive arguments I’ve ever read in support of teachers unions was written by Erik Kain, a writer over at Forbes who usually covers video games, of all things. Cohesive, because Kain is able to present a relatively fair view of the issue supported by specific events – but ultimately, a rather ambiguous stance that lacks realism.

And that’s a recurring theme among supporters of teachers unions: either focusing purely on how corporations are trying to take over public education (an argument which has really only existed at the pre-college level since Common Core standards and charter schools became prevalent), or repeating that unions have historically provided a defense against things like low wages or poor working conditions (an argument which hasn’t really held water for at least half a century). Alternatively, supporters desperately claim things like “teachers unions create more equal opportunity” for poor children to attend college, among other feel-good, two-faced ridiculous arguments.

TL;DR: Never ANY mention of lazy-ass teachers ditching class for the free pizza.

As teachers unions run out of justifiable reasons to exist, the “corporate takeover” of public education has become the new (and only) battle cry. Activists (on tenure) literally argue that education foundations run by the likes of Microsoft and Amazon are only supporting charter schools so that in the future, they can get their education technology products into classrooms and make millions of dollars from young children. Now, I love a good conspiracy theory, but what in the flying f*ck?

As such highly-esteemed educators, how do you ignore the hard data that proves charter schools are not only sending more low-income Americans to college, but are also improving their ability to make healthy life decisions. And not that I have any stake in the matter, but if Bill Gates is such an evil corporate dictator, why did the largest teachers unions aggressively support Common Core, right up until they realized the standardized curriculum could be used to evaluate the quality of teachers?

Even teachers that publicly admit that unions cause serious problems – such as protecting incompetent or even child-molesting teachers from being fired – still seem to think they ultimately deserve more free handouts than other American citizens:

“The elimination of tenure would allow a principal to arbitrarily dismiss a teacher for any reason, even if that teacher is the most skilled and competent in the school. Such reasons might include something as trivial as a mere personality conflict or the adminstrator’s own personal and subjective opinions about the teacher’s performance. Teachers would be afraid to “blow the whistle” on a corrupt principal or administrator for fear of being fired. I can tell you that it would be very difficult for me to give my full attention to teaching the children if I were consistently worrying in the back of my head whether or not I would have a job the next year to pay my bills and support my own kids. Still, the fact remains that tenure does protect some pretty LOUSY teachers, but completely eliminating it would be even more disastrous for our students. I would also suggest that in my exprience, tenure and unions are not the only reasons why so many incompetent teachers remain in the clasroom. Often, the school principal is also to blame by not properly documenting a teacher’s deficiencies, as well as top school district administrators who will not support principals who choose to take steps to have an incompetent teacher dismissed.”

Casey Gagnon, public school teacher, via Amazon.com

Oh, no! Without unions or tenure, public school teachers would actually have to prove to their colleagues why they are a valuable member of their team? Well Jesus H. Christ, welcome to the real world. And if “blowing the whistle” on illegal conduct is your true concern, you apparently haven’t researched the relevant protection statutes.

Some Of The Dirtiest Politics In America

Teachers unions are among the largest and most powerful unions in the entire country. The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers – the two largest, which are both over 100 years old – have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years in contributions to political groups and organizations such as La Raza, and figures such as the Reverand Al Sharpton. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The AFT, which told the Labor Department it had more than 873,000 members last fiscal year, said it is “committed to investing in organizations that share our mission and goals of expanding the middle class, building strong public schools, promoting equality and creating educational and economic opportunities for all Americans.”

The federation added that unions make their contributions public, “unlike big corporations that are able to secretly spend millions on their extreme agenda.” Unions must publicly detail and categorize all expenses annually under rules put in place by President George W. Bush.

The NEA’s advocacy center director, Kim Anderson, said, “Since 1857, the NEA has had a proud history of advocating for social justice and developing programs to help children, the poor and marginalized, and American workers—long before we ever got involved in politics.”

Did you catch that? The NEA and AFT are shamelessly whining to national media that they are forced to disclose their political contributions, before reminding readers that back in the 19th century, unions helped fight for social justice. Got it? Okay good.

And before you I HEART MY TEACHER! well-wishers and Occupy Wallstreeters write this off as a simple-minded tirade with a sensationalized headline, watch this quick video on the workings of teachers unions put together by Evan Coyne Maloney:

In conclusion, if teachers unions were simply an organized attempt at protecting teachers from getting inappropriately fired or overworked, why have they consistently ranked as a top political donor to politicians for the last several decades? Because their goal is to turn the teaching profession into a gravy train career path free of accountability or hard work, with lower expectations and excessive benefits.

As history has shown, labor unions always resist changes in technology and the workplace. But they always lose the fight. Stubborn, enraged, selfishness combined with immoral – and often illegal – behavior is downright shameful, and it’s destroying the quality of America’s education system. But the tide is finally turning, and with it, hopefully the political clout of teachers unions will be a thing of the past.

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4 Comments on “Teachers Unions: No Matter How You Try To Slice It, They Are Corrupt, Self-Serving, And Hypocritical”  (RSS)

  1. I have never been a “union man” but after teaching for nine years, eight of them at a charter school that didn’t have a union, I joined one. It’s not the lazy teachers that unions (should) protect, it’s the ones like me who work twelve hours or more each day, mostly including weekends, only to be told I’m not working enough when I didn’t get 90 essays turned in Friday (mostly – several were late) grades by Monday morning. “Oh and by the way…the security cameras showed that you were on campus after 10 PM a few nights last week. We don’t want you up here that time of night.” Then catching grief over teaching the Navajo Code Talkers in a history class, making class too difficult by giving a kid an F when she skipped my class at least three times a week and most definitely earned it, then not making it challenging enough by not giving any Fs, and the worst sin of all – catching the wrong kids cheating on tests and plagiarizing essays. This type of stuff is why teachers need a union. Whether the current set is doing its job is a legitimate discussion, but you’ll never convince me (or most teachers) that unions are inherently bad for education.

  2. Chicago teacher union is the worst. Only thing to do is get out of Illinois. Teacher pensions are bankrupting the entire state.

  3. Growing up in a public school i have had a good deal of bad teachers alongside some good ones. i would say that the video is very accurate in spelling out the current situation of the USA education system under the unions. hopefully the later generations can finally get better quality educations and better quality teachers.

  4. The existence of any organization is based upon corruptness. Within that organization, politics are the grease that lubricated the machine. Factually speaking, any organization is corrupt, self serving, and hypocritical in nature. Solution??? Nuke the planet because people are too stupid to ever realize their thoughts are being controlled by propaganda. Tenure is the only protection against the corrupt political system that is the cause of all mankind’s ills. The unions and Boards of Education rub elbows…and we get the brunt of the bull!!!

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