The Supreme Court’s failure to apply the First Amendment for its intended purposes destroyed the perimeters necessary to protect society from morally incompetent teachers. Statewide laws, enabling tenure guarantees for unqualified teachers, crept silently into legislation for lower-level public schools beginning in the early 1970s. Only seven states have rejected such laws. The leftist NEA union advantage of control continues, however, without tenure laws in those seven states.
Two paragraphs for teacher contracts demanded by NEA unions are the root of the problem. These controlling paragraphs may be found in the contract between the NEA union (or its state affiliate) and the local school board or in the state public sector collective bargaining laws. One paragraph provides teacher tenure, which makes it virtually impossible to fire a teacher. There is also a confidentiality paragraph, making it a crime for school administrators to disclose the reason(s) for dismissing a teacher without advanced approval–a very costly and lengthy procedure. If the citizens are not permitted by law to be informed, their political support, so desperately needed by the superintendent in order to fire a bad teacher, is successfully silenced.
“Precisely because of the obvious potential for abuse, even labor union advocates like AFL-CIO President George Meany and Franklin D. Roosevelt viewed unionization of the public employees as unthinkable.”*
In March 2008, harsh debate in the Iowa legislature brought this problem to the public’s attention. Radicals, whose elections were advanced by large sums of campaign money received from outside the state, were pushing for changes in the public sector collective bargaining law. A section making it even harder to fire harmful teachers caused “grave concerns” among school administrators. “Margaret Buckton, chief lobbyist for the Iowa Association of School Boards, says [arbitration] adjudicators have tended to rule in favor of the teachers.” As the teachers’ bargaining rights law now stands, “Attempts to remove a teacher can last years and cost hundreds of thousand of dollars.”**
Any force that makes it impossible for the school administrator to be in control and implement the citizen consensus for values is, by definition, fascistic and advances the consequences of fascism. It was this ever-present threat, and its consequent tyranny of the mind, that prompted elected representatives in the individual states to require that curbs be placed upon government employees via the First Amendment and the federal Constitution.
*Peter Brimelow and Leslie Spencer, “How the National Education Association Corrupts Our Public Schools,” Forbes magazine, June 7, 1993.
**Dan Gearin, “Schools Concerned with Union Bargaining Bill,” The Tribune (Ames, IA), March 27, 2008, B4.
~ David Norris