The Teacher’s Unions are more dangerous to America than Al Qaeda [Reader Post]

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I’ve just returned from watching the movie Waiting for Superman. (The title refers to waiting for the Man of Steel to come to the rescue…) My first reaction was to think back on my post from last month about the voters of DC throwing out Adrian Fenty, and with him Michelle Rhee, his Schools Chancellor.

My second reaction was remembering something that I’ve heard Neal Boortz say on numerous occasions: “Teacher’s unions are a bigger threat to the United States than Al Qaeda.” Throw in the public sector unions and he’s right. Al Qaeda has the potential to kill thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people at a time. The teacher’s unions destroy the lives of millions of students every year, and they’ve been doing it for decades. Not only do they destroy the lives of millions of young people, they bring chaos, tragedy and despair to the millions of families of those young people, their communities and the country as a whole. From young men in prison to teenage pregnancies, the data’s not hard to find.

This should not be taken as a screed against teachers. Just the opposite. Many teachers are saints. They have passion for teaching. They spend long hours wrestling with a variety of challenges, many of which have little to do with their classrooms. They seek to inspire kids to become successful adults and attempt to equip them to do so. Unfortunately however the good teachers are locked into an inflexible quagmire of a system where good teachers are beaten into submission and simply become cogs in a machine that passes kids along from grade to grade to grade, regardless of their abilities or success, until they choose to simply to take their talents elsewhere. This same system confers its job for life protection on all teachers, both good and bad and provides students and parents with little control or say over their education. Across the country, from LA to New York it is almost impossible to fire teachers for almost anything, from being incompetent to inappropriate behavior. Indeed, New York City alone spends in excess of $100 Million a year paying teachers their full salaries to spend seven hours to not teach, often spending that time playing poker in the so called ““rubber rooms”.

One of the most staggering statistics in the movie was about firings of teachers relative to those in other professions. 1 in 57 doctors lose their ability to inflict themselves on patients. 1 in 97 lawyers are disbarred or otherwise bared from menacing society with their law degrees. The comparable number for teachers? 1 in 2,500! As the movie was done by Davis Guggenheim, the guy behind “An Inconvenient Truth” I want to be a little skeptical of his numbers so lets assume he’s off a little. Even if he were off by 80% that would still mean that 1 in 500 teachers is stopped from ruining the education (and often the life prospects) of a child. I’ll admit that many teachers are good, but even at the 1 in 500 number, that means that only .2% (That’s point two percent, not two percent!) of teachers lose their jobs. Using the movie’s numbers it’s .0004%. What other kind of job has that kind of security, regardless of the employee’s competence, work ethic or success? To paraphrase Joe Pesci from My Cousin Vinnie, “Do the laws of random distribution about the skill or the lack thereof for human beings stop at the schoolhouse door, where somehow only .2% of teachers turn out to be bad?” Somehow I don’t think so.

Add to the teacher’s unions two other elements of the education system: an incompetent federal bureaucracy that uses its purse strings to manipulate the entire system and bloated state and local bureaucracies staffed by public sector union employees and you have a recipe for the disaster that we find ourselves with.

Education in America is quickly becoming our Achilles heal. By not producing graduates who are able to read and write, who have the skills to earn jobs at companies like Google or Microsoft, who are prepared to deal with the 21st century world, we are creating a true underclass that is far more problematic than the one Ken Auletta wrote about 30 years ago. The fact that the 21st century is developing far more rapidly than the last should be of no surprise to anyone. All one needs to do is look at the numbers: It took Radio 38 years to reach 50 million users. It took Television 13 years. It took the Internet 4 years. It took Facebook less than a year. It’s into that dynamic universe we are walking with a population of students and young adults who are simply not equipped to compete, thrive or survive. That’s not a mistake the Chinese the Indians are making.

If the United States is going to remain a viable Republic with a free citizenry and an economy that provides more than the basics of food and water, it will require more than platitudes about “supporting education” and “the children are our future”. It will require a real revolution in how schools are run and funded. That revolution begins by:

  • Throwing the Democrats out of office – they are recipients of over 90% of union money in federal and local elections and frequently the party in charge of the local bureaucracies who signed those malignant union contracts in the first place.
  • Offering school vouchers – those vouchers are the equivalent of Kryptonite to dysfunctional schools. By giving parents the ability to vote with their feet they become the Supermen of our story and can finally stop waiting for a costumed hero to come along and save the day.

The revolution starts next Tuesday… Hang on!

The product of a military family, growing up in Naples, Italy and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and being stationed in Germany for two years while in the Army, Vince spent half of his first quarter century seeing the US from outside of its own borders. That perspective, along with a French wife and two decades as a struggling entrepreneur have only fueled an appreciation for freedom and the fundamental greatness of the gifts our forefathers left us.

15 Responses to “The Teacher’s Unions are more dangerous to America than Al Qaeda [Reader Post]”

  1. 1

    Common Sense

    I have my credentials in teaching and I have been saying this for years. It always amazes me when Republicans use their own money to campaing and get called rich and the Democrats get their money from the unions but fail to acknowledge that they are puppets to the unions.

    The teachers unions have failed our children by protecting teachers who are less than worthless but keep their jobs due to the union protectionism. An absolute disgrace!!

  2. 2


    The title may be quiet true. I am convinced FDR did more damage to the US than Hitler and Tojo combined. And it was his administration that made these unions possible.

    Trade unions should either be limited to those without college degrees or eliminated all together.

  3. 4

    Nan G

    James O’Keefe did that video above.

    He also did this one where teachers are bragging about being ”bulletproof” because of tenure.
    Even if a teacher calls a student the N-word he is not fired.

    Filthy language!
    These folks teach our nation’s children!

  4. 5


    Such silliness. Not every state has public sector unions and, therefore, many many MANY states do not even have teachers unions with any authority to bargain over wages, work rules, etc. Texas? Nope. Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia? Not on your life. South Carolina? Are you serious? So if there are no teachers unions with any power in those states, and teachers unions are the only thing standing between kids and a quality education, then why do the public education systems SUCK in those states?

    In a day and age where the governor of Texas argues that his state should not have to teach what they teach in Connecticut because “Texas is diverse,” it is the height of silliness to argue that teachers unions are the problem. The problems are multiple, including parents who do not value education; politicians meddling to inject their political, religious and social agendas into education; excessive duplication of positions, procurement, and facilities; inadequate and uneven funding such that your education depends on where you live, NOT your abilities; entire states that do not value education (yeah, talking about you Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana); teachers unions opposing reform; and economics, such that many states do not even have the money they need to provide an adequate education.

    You can eliminate teachers unions altogether (indeed, many states don’t have them) and it still would not solve the other problems that detract from establishing an effective system of public education. But as long as one party believes that unions are the only problem, and offers policy approaches revolving around that obviously erroneous premise, then we will continue to trail our comparators in education. France, Britain, China, Japan, Germany, India . . . they laugh at us teaching intelligent design as science, fighting over dress codes, maintaining racially segregated proms, putting more money into football than we put into math, and buying textbooks that claim Black soldiers fought FOR SLAVERY during the Civil War.

  5. 6


    JustAl wrote:

    The title may be quiet true. I am convinced FDR did more damage to the US than Hitler and Tojo combined.

    I can only hope that, when JustAl was a wee lad, the doctor realized that he was very “special” and did what was necessary to ensure that we did not get another generation of “thinkers” like JustAl.

  6. 7

    Aye Chihuahua



    I can only hope that, when JustAl was a wee lad, the doctor realized that he was very “special” and did what was necessary to ensure that we did not get another generation of “thinkers” like JustAl.

    Ah yes, the self-proclaimed “moderate” B-Rob dashes in to advocate for the use of eugenics in order to eliminate future generations of people that he feels superior to.

    Stay classy Terrell. Stay classy.

  7. 8

    Old Trooper 2

    @ Aye Chihuahua, it appears that Bobert dallies in everything but reality.
    I hope some Client is not getting billed for time spent pursuing his Agenda here at FA.
    Moderate? In what sense? I wonder if he uses his bar room vocabulary in Court? 😯
    I’m sure that that absolutely demands a Judge’s Respect for his Legal Prowess!

  8. 10


    Besides Flopping Aces, my favorite place to post is on the NEA politics boards. When the topic turned to George Soros and exposing his agenda… the thread which had over 3300 posts and 124,000 page views was “accidentally” deleted. Then when I created a new thread “Why does the NEA Engage in Censorship”, that topic was locked and I was suspended from further posting.

    I received the following notice:

    Dear Mr. Bly,

    I am notifying you that you are now suspended from any further use of the NEA Discussion board. Your recent threads have contained inappropriate language and sexual connotations. You will no longer have the privilege of posting to this forum.

    In addition, the Glenn Beck thread was accidentally deleted as we are in the process of learning how to better monitor posts for inappropriate language and vulgarity. The Glenn Beck discussion was intended to be locked and the inappropriate language edited.


    NEA Editor

    My response was:

    My offensive sexual comments on the board amounted to “He also has a palm razor”, in response to comments about Christine O’Dopnnell’s creation of an anti-masturbation video, a political topic in the news. I’ve seen far worse…. no your excuse that the thread was accidentally deleted is laughably lame… so convenient that you’ve suspended me and “accidentally” deleted the thread… no sir… you’re engaged in censorship and with my absence from the boards it should become very apparent to those that frequent the politics thread. It’s also interesting that I wasn’t suspended immediately, but only after my topic concerning NEA censorship was posted. I guess the new “Glenn Beck… – Continued” thread I created was also “accidentally” deleted… two accidents in two days…interesting.

    Free speech is not alive and well at the NEA

  9. 11


    Good teachers spend a lot more time at their job than they are given credit for. When I was a truck driver I volunteered to be a Trucker Buddy. The program matches truck drivers up with grade school teachers to write back and forth to the kids and the kids to the driver. It has been so successful that it has gone to many countries.

    Truck Buddy International matched me up with a teacher and I would try to get up to the class at least once a year. Her family was nice enough to put me up in their house while I was there. I am single and took my time off at different places around the country.

    While I was there I saw her spend a lot of time with stuff from that day and the lesson she was going to have the next day. We don’t see the time they spend at home or at school grading tests and preparing for the next day. It would be interesting if the good teachers would keep track of the ACTUAL time they spend with school stuff.

    What other kind of job has that kind of security, regardless of the employee’s competence, work ethic or success?

    Federal employees, especially members of congress.

  10. 12

    Nan G

    The Chronicle of Higher Education had an excellent essay today by a professor who teaches POST-graduates.
    As she says:

    How could it be that graduate students delivered such appallingly poor papers and presentations?
    They’d gotten undergraduate degrees; why couldn’t they write in sentences?
    Why were they devoid of originality, analytical ability, intellectual curiosity?
    Why were they accosting me with hostile e-mails when I pointed out unsubstantiated generalizations, hyperbolic assumptions, ungrounded polemics, sourcing omissions, and possible plagiarism?

    The sad thing is, I’m not alone.
    Every college teacher I know is bemoaning the same kind of thing.
    Whether it’s rude behavior, lack of intellectual rigor, or both, we are all struggling with the same frightening decline in student performance and academic standards at institutions of higher learning.
    A sense of entitlement now pervades the academy, excellence be damned.

    Increasingly, students seem not to realize what a college degree, especially a graduate degree, tells the world about one’s abilities and competence.
    They have no clue what is expected of them at the higher levels of academic discourse and what will be expected of them in the workplace.
    Having passed through a deeply flawed education system in which no one is paying attention to critical thinking and writing skills, they just want to know what they have to do to make their teachers tick the box that says “pass.”
    After all, that’s what all their other teachers have done.

    Read it all and then weep.

  11. 13

    Donald Bly

    I’d rather hire a HS Graduate pre 1976 than an undergraduate of today. I had a 10 year gap between HS and College… had to spend some time serving my country…. I was appalled at the quality of papers being handed in by my younger college counterparts. It has only gotten worse in the ensuing decades.

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