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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

As the Unions Prepare For Their Big Win In Ohio...

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...John Stossel reminds us what teachers unions are all about: Good for Lousy teachers. Bad for kids.


Former DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee told me a story about visiting a high school where class after class had terrible attendance. She asked a teacher,

"Where are all the kids?" She was told that low-attendance was expected on a Friday, especially when it was raining. She then noticed a crowded classroom. "There are 30 kids ... not enough desks for the kids that were there. I'm watching the teacher. This is a pretty engaging lesson. So I go up to one of the kids, a young man. And I said, "What do you think about the teacher?" He said, "This is my best teacher, bar none."

Rhee later left the school and saw that same student and two of his friends leaving.

"I said, 'Excuse me, young man. Where do you think you're going?' And they said to me, 'Well, our first period teacher, the one that you saw, he's great. So we came to school. But our second period teacher is not so good, so we're going to roll.' This is not the picture that the American public has of truants! These children were making a very conscious decision to wake up early and to come to school for first period, cause they knew they were going to get something out of it, and then to leave after that because they weren't going to get any value."

And yet, thanks to teachers unions and tenure, that great teacher gets paid no more than the others.

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