Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Raising the Bar for Teachers in Alabama

The Sunday Birmingham News featured a new op-ed by the Center for Union Facts highlighting the Alabama Education Association’s efforts to defend bad teachers. A 2004 AEA-backed law made teacher tenure protections absurdly strong — meaning that some flagrantly bad teachers aren’t getting fired. Here’s an excerpt focusing on two educators shielded by the teachers union:

In Mobile County, for example, the school board attempted to fire Marion Dunn, a science teacher and basketball coach who was caught on camera ordering his players to physically assault one of their teammates. One player testified he broke his hand after Dunn ordered him into another fight.

The arbitrator ordered Dunn’s termination reduced to a 30-day unpaid suspension. The school board balked at the order and was forced to pay Dunn more than $82,000 over two years to stay out of the classroom. After the board had exhausted its appeals, the union attorney chided school board members for not just letting Dunn back into the classroom.

In southern Alabama, a school board fired a teacher for helping students cheat on a standardized test. His union-supported appeal to an arbitrator reduced the penalty to an 18-month suspension.

If school boards can’t permanently get rid of tenured teachers who teach beating or cheating, what hope do they have for getting rid of teachers who are just lousy?

Head on over to the News to read the whole CUF piece!

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