Big Labor Sues to Force Kids into Bad Schools

Big Labor Sues to Force Kids into Bad Schools

Just when you think they can't go any lower, the union bosses have filed a lawsuit in Louisiana to force children to attend poor schools.  The Wall Street Journal opines on the latest big labor outrage: Here's the bizarre world in which we live: In 2007 Gabriel Evans attended a public school in New Orleans graded "F" by the Louisiana Department of Education. Thanks to a New Orleans voucher program, Gabriel moved in 2008 to a Catholic school. His mother, Valerie Evans, calls the voucher a "lifesaver," allowing him to get "out of a public school system that is filled with fear, confusion and violence." So what is the response of the teachers union? Sue the state to force 11-year-old Gabriel back to the failing school. This week a state court in Baton Rouge is hearing the union challenge to Louisiana's Act 2, which expanded the New Orleans program statewide and allows families with a household income less than 250% of the federal poverty line to get a voucher to escape schools ranked C or worse by the state. Gabriel's voucher covers $4,315 in annual tuition. The tragedy is how many students qualify for the program. According to the state, 953 of the state's 1,373 public schools (K-12) were ranked C, D or F. Under the new program, more than 4,900 students have received scholarships allowing them to attend non-public schools. Enter the teachers unions, which sued this summer to stop the incursion into their rotting enterprise. According to the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Educators, the voucher program steals money from public schools.

Big Labor's Burden On Taxpayers Straining Relationships With Big City Mayors

Big Labor's Burden On Taxpayers Straining Relationships With Big City Mayors

Reason opines that the fiscal reality of many cities have ended the love affair, in some instances, between local Democrat mayors and the union who elected them. But, it will likely not bring reform aslong as political machines a mostly funded and controlled by labor union bosses: When Chicago public school teachers started the fall semester by turning down a $400 million contract offer that would have boosted pay by 16 percent over four years, my first concern wasn’t for the children. It was for the Democrats.  Sure, the walkout by Chicago Teachers Union members caused havoc for kids. But I’ve been to public school, and I can tell you they didn’t miss much.  The strike’s lasting damage was to the party that since at least the early 20th century has been labor’s best friend. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not just some schmuck in the donkey party: He is President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, the congressional leader behind the Democrats’ 2006 House takeover, a Clinton administration arm twister so feared that he is still known by his ’90s nickname, Rahmbo.  But the strike made Chicago’s tough-guy mayor look like Chuck “Bayonne Bleeder” Wepner. Striking teachers dubbed him “Empermanuel,” accused him of having “no respect for us as people,” and even claimed (falsely, it turned out) that Emanuel was a fan of the Canadian alt-rock quartet Nickelback. When the teachers returned to work after more than a week on the picket line, they had scored a big pay increase and crippled the teacher-evaluation testing at the heart of the strike, a resolution Emanuel unconvincingly called an “honest compromise.” Emanuel is one of many recent Democratic chief executives who have, with varying levels of enthusiasm and success, tried to confront government employee unions. California Gov. Jerry Brown struggled for two years to get a minor pension bill through the legislature. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March got a partial pension reform that is expected to save $3 billion a year out of the Empire State’s $133 billion annual budget. Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty lost his job when he took on the teachers union. 

Big Labor's Burden On Taxpayers Straining Relationships With Big City Mayors

Big Labor's Burden On Taxpayers Straining Relationships With Big City Mayors

Reason opines that the fiscal reality of many cities have ended the love affair, in some instances, between local Democrat mayors and the union who elected them. But, it will likely not bring reform aslong as political machines a mostly funded and controlled by labor union bosses: When Chicago public school teachers started the fall semester by turning down a $400 million contract offer that would have boosted pay by 16 percent over four years, my first concern wasn’t for the children. It was for the Democrats.  Sure, the walkout by Chicago Teachers Union members caused havoc for kids. But I’ve been to public school, and I can tell you they didn’t miss much.  The strike’s lasting damage was to the party that since at least the early 20th century has been labor’s best friend. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not just some schmuck in the donkey party: He is President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, the congressional leader behind the Democrats’ 2006 House takeover, a Clinton administration arm twister so feared that he is still known by his ’90s nickname, Rahmbo.  But the strike made Chicago’s tough-guy mayor look like Chuck “Bayonne Bleeder” Wepner. Striking teachers dubbed him “Empermanuel,” accused him of having “no respect for us as people,” and even claimed (falsely, it turned out) that Emanuel was a fan of the Canadian alt-rock quartet Nickelback. When the teachers returned to work after more than a week on the picket line, they had scored a big pay increase and crippled the teacher-evaluation testing at the heart of the strike, a resolution Emanuel unconvincingly called an “honest compromise.” Emanuel is one of many recent Democratic chief executives who have, with varying levels of enthusiasm and success, tried to confront government employee unions. California Gov. Jerry Brown struggled for two years to get a minor pension bill through the legislature. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March got a partial pension reform that is expected to save $3 billion a year out of the Empire State’s $133 billion annual budget. Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty lost his job when he took on the teachers union. 

The Teachers Strike May Have Been In Chicago, But It's All Our Problem

The Teachers Strike May Have Been In Chicago, But It's All Our Problem

Matt Kibbe looks at why the "resolution" of the teacher's strike in Chicago is not in the best interests of the children and taxpayers of the state: The Chicago Teachers Union Strike may be resolved for now, but the events illustrate a serious problem facing the United States: union bosses are manipulating government leaders, using teachers and students as human shields in their fight to maintain power over the educational system. Their stranglehold on education has to end if our children are to have any hope of getting the education they need to compete in the world. [media-credit name=" " align="aligncenter" width="300"][/media-credit]Teacher pay got a lot of attention in coverage of the debate, but it was far from the only issue at play in the strike, which ended Wednesday under the promise of a resolution that appeased the union bullies. The primary disagreements were over who has the power to hire and fire teachers, and accountability for student performance. The union insisted that it should have the right to dictate who gets hired to fill jobs in the district. Primarily, it wanted to take hiring authority away from school principals by requiring that laid-off teachers be hired back. Union leaders also rejected the perfectly reasonable demand from the city of Chicago that standardized test scores play a role in evaluating teacher performance. A roofer is judged by how well his shingles keep out the rain. A CFO is judged by her company’s balance sheet. A journalist is judged by the accuracy and fairness of his story. Yet somehow union leaders think teachers shouldn’t be judged by the outcome of their work. Teachers’ unions exist to promote what’s best for teachers, not students. As Albert Shanker, the late president of the American Federation of Teachers, once reportedly put it, “When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of schoolchildren.” (Shanker’s supporters dispute that he said this, but the quotation’s staying power illustrates the accuracy with which it represents union motives.) Because they exist to protect the status quo, unions oppose the kind of meaningful education reform America needs. They oppose education tax credits, school vouchers, charter schools, merit pay, and virtually all attempts to impose real accountability. They instead support a system that sees the United States spending nearly two and a half times more per pupil today than in 1970. What have we received in return? Stagnant math and reading scores for 17-year-olds, and a decline in science scores.