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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why the public hates teachers unions

I will sometimes post on message boards about education issues. Invariably somebody rants about how the teachers unions have held public education back. Now I have issues with my union but its not because they have held education back.

Despite my issues, out of the two groups, the teachers union and the Florida State government it is really a no brainier who to support. One group, the union cares about teachers and schools and using tried and true reforms. The other, the state wants to punish teachers, use gut reaction reforms and privatize schools

I always ask, can I get an example why you think this way, and nine times out of ten they never respond with one.

Well today I got a response and this was it:

Sorry g. I missed your question about unions holding back education. Just one example? By maintaining the job of teachers that can barely speak English let alone teach English. Just another for the road. The teachers ability to execute the position being measured by a proficiency test.

First this wasn’t sourced, it sounds like something Limbaugh said on his show or something somebody heard from a neighbor or a friend of a friend. People hate the teachers unions and don’t even know why.

Next, the union doesn’t hire teachers, so if a teacher was hired and wasn’t competent that would fall on the administrations shoulder.

Teachers do have to take a test to become certified and then go through a new teacher program but these requirements are determined by the state and again not by the union.

After a teacher is hired the principal can let them go at 97 days, or can let them go at the end of years one, two or three and this is if they are a member of the union or not.

And this is why people hate teacher's unions?

Now say somehow this teacher made it past year three and was on a professional contract (which will not exist for new teachers come July 1st), that’s when the union would step in and not to protect the teacher but to make sure the teachers rights to due process were followed. There is a procedure in place to get rid of bad teachers. The union just makes sure the administration follows it.

Listen friends if you haven’t come to the realization that the teachers union is not obstructionist or just exists to protect bad teachers and that these are tired old talking points, like most people have, it’s time you woke up.

Chris Guerrieri
School Teacher


  1. "By maintaining the job of teachers that can barely speak English let alone teach English."

    Source: My own personal experience. While taking Algebra 2 in high school in a Florida county, I had a native Chinese mathematics teacher with poor English speaking skills, which were so poor, she was not allowed to also teach her native language, Chinese. They allowed her to teach mathematics, in part because math is seen by many to be its own language, therefore there would be less of a language barrier involved in her teaching mathematics.

    Both the administration and the teacher's union should have been hard at work at eliminating her from the school system or requiring a second teacher in-class to supplement the learning of students, like myself, who had problems with her strong Chinese accent, poor English skills, and her attitudinal shortcomings.

    Teachers, based on my experiences as a student, tend to liberalism, with their liberal bias playing out in the classroom more often than it should, both in subtle and not so subtle ways, which can and does affect a student's grade. (Yes, I am aware this is personal opinion to you, despite my experiences. My experiences guide my conclusion that schools and teacher's unions have not changed in this respect.) I did not note the organization, but in recent weeks there was an article in Yahoo News indicating the teaching profession tends to be liberal. How can this not translate into classroom teaching behavior?

    I can point to having learned in recent years of an innocent bias that creeped into some classrooms, which should concern parents, teacher's unions, and administrations, for having the potential to be seen as indoctrination, brain-washing, and propaganda. Sorry, I won't reveal here what it is. I was informed of this by teachers!

    So, teacher's unions are not doing their part to make sure their students get an unbiased, fair, sound education, even when they think they are.

    Last, when I first came to Florida as a student, Florida had suffered a teacher strike against the state, which I don't think the education field in Florida ever fully recovered from. It was a nasty, bitter dispute, which lasted far too long. A lot like today's statewide bitterness. I was struck, as an outsider entering Florida, not only by the disillusionment among teachers in the classroom, sometimes verbalized to the students, but by the fact Memorial Day was lost as a holiday that school year, as though the day was a meaningless holiday. My school was in a military city, if you are wondering. I lost a traditional holiday, simply by moving to Florida, because Florida and its teachers chose a bitter, acrimonious course, which both sides lost, in my opinion. We appear to be headed there again. Education will not recover in Florida, not even after many years!

  2. The highest performing states and nations are highly unionized. Right on Chris. Why do we hire underqualified teachers? We dont pay enough to attract qualified ones. We cant compete with New York or any other state in the top 10. Approach these individuals with the employment conditions here in FL and they'll laugh in your face.

  3. Why do we hate teacher's unions? Recently, this year in Wisconsin, teachers feel that they have positions far above and beyond anyone else's in society. Teachers feel that while everyone else has to take paycuts, benefit cuts and layoffs, they should be immune. They go on "blue flue" strikes, making the lower economic families struggle to pay more for childcare or take off time from their jobs, risking getting fired or at the least, losing precious hours of pay. Teachers march class rooms of grade school children around the square chanting union slogans, as if first and second graders understand what they are singing. Teachers shout down any opposing opinions. Teachers block off the Capitol Square in Madison, WI. Teachers block off entrance to the actual Capitol building unless, and I quote, "you're one of us!". Teachers have doctors fill out bogus "medical excuses" citing "job stress" in order to take the days off to march around the State Capitol and still get paid. Teachers disconnect Fox News network Van power cords to attempt to stop reporting of their actions, but leave MSNBC cords alone. Teachers send emails to State Representatives threatening to kill them and their families. Teacher's unions bus in hundred of union thugs from Chicago and Gary,Ind. to intimdate anyone who disagrees with them. Teachers attempted to turn over a bus of State Representatives trying to leave the Capitol square. Because of all this, teachers have lost a huge portion of the former respect they used to have in Wisconsin, and it's going to be a long time before they have any chance of regaining any portion of that in Wisconsin again.

    1. Teaching is not a private sector job, where you can get a job with another business down the street. As a teacher, your entire career is in the hands of the school board and the Department of Education. And their goals are not to educate children well, but to educate them as cheaply as possible.

      Whenever people have power, bad things creep in. This goes for unions, sure, but it also goes for governments and corporations and management teams. Certain people on the Right tend to forget this.

      Teachers unions exist for very good reason. They are the only organizations fighting for teachers' rights, and by extension, students' rights.

      Think about it: who is fighting for smaller class sizes? For better supplies in the classrooms? Is it the government? Hell no. It's the teachers' unions.

      So, whenever you feel the need to blindly slam teachers' unions, remember this first.

  4. Also, as far as the stupid button that says "those who can, teach/ those who cannot pass laws about teaching" should read "Those that can teach get paid a decent wage and above normal benefits, and if they don't like their working conditions, they should quit and find another job, just like the rest of us in the private sector do. Those who teach should not hold the children of the ones who write their paychecks hostage, and if they do, they should be replaced now!".(Sure, kind of long for a button, but it says what the majority of the population of Wisconsin thinks).

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