Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Just What the Union Ordered

Just what the Union ordered

This is a true story.   A teacher in Maryland painted a red perimeter square around his desk area.  Students were not allowed to cross the perimeter.  A student did cross the line.  Two versions of what happened next were presented.  The boy said the teacher grabbed him and pushed him out of the prohibited area.  The boy fell and broke his arm.  The teacher said the boy stumbled on his own when directed by the teacher to leave the area.  The parents sued the school for child abuse.  The school district terminated the teacher’s contract for physically pushing the student.  The local board of education supported the administrative decision.  The union appealed the case to the State Board of Education.  The State Board of Education supported the union because there were conflicting stories.  HOWEVER, the teacher was terminated.  He was terminated for defacing public school property by painting the red perimeter line on the classroom floor.

Another true story.  A teacher received unsatisfactory evaluations for 5 years in a row.  Each year the union alleged favoritism by the administration of the school and demanded a transfer for the teacher.  Each year the teacher was transferred in the usual dance of the lemons where bad teachers are just transferred to different schools.  After five years, the school system finally took action and terminated the teacher.  The union filled appeals all the way to a state court.  The union and the teacher alleged that the current principal discriminated against the teacher and that the teacher had heard the principal make comments about other teachers that were anti-Semitic and/or negative about older staff.  The teacher in question was neither older nor Jewish.   No other school staff had complained about these alleged remarks.  The union’s case was that since the principal had engaged in discriminatory speech about other groups, he probably held the same kinds of negative opinions about the specific teacher who had been fired.  The court ruled that the teacher should be terminated since there was no evidence that the alleged negative comments by the principal impacted the evaluations of this teacher who was not a member of the targeted groups if the comments were even made.  After 5 years, the teacher lost her position.

In many large cities in our country, school districts maintain waiting rooms for teachers who are in the process of being terminated.  In order to keep these teachers out of the classroom, they report daily to a “waiting room” where they read, watch TV or surf the internet on personal devices.  They receive their full salary and benefits during this time.  There can be as many as over 100 teachers in this never-never land and the taxpayers pick up the tab.  The school districts are paying “protection” money to protect the students from these failed teachers.

These examples are different but the issue is the same.   Teachers’ unions will bear any cost to keep a teacher in his/her job.  They evidently feel no obligation whatever to the children being served (or not in many of these instances) by the teacher.  Are there teachers who have been unjustifiably fired or received poor evaluations?  I am sure that is the case.  I am also sure that there are multiple protections in place for those people.   It is unreasonable for a school district to spend five years trying to dismiss a teacher.  It is unreasonable for a school district to not be able to remove a teacher who has pushed a child or acted in a bizarre manner.  We need to remember that the purpose of school is to educate and protect the kids.  Why were the unions allowed to turn this system upside down so that the teachers’ needs are coming first?  We have been hearing a lot lately about draining the swamp.  There is draining to do among some teachers.  Why do the unions continue to fight a rear guard resistance operation.

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