Should public teachers’ unions be abolished?


Fact Box

  • The National Education Association (NEA), founded in 1857, and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), founded in 1916, are two of America’s largest and national teachers unions. 
  • Teachers’ unions are funded by dues collected from teachers and other employees. NEA reported $350.4 million in tax-exempt revenue in 2020 and projects its revenue will increase to $365 million between 2021-2022. 
  • Public school funding and teacher salaries come from property tax dollars. Teachers pay dues to teachers’ unions from their salary. Essentially, taxes funding public schools also fund teachers’ unions, which often adopt partisan platforms in their yearly agendas and support campaigns
  • Since 1994, teachers unions have spent upwards of $225 million on Democrat campaign contributions. 
  • School choice is an alternative that gives parents the ability to let their tax dollars follow the child to apply to whatever schooling experience best serves their needs. A 2020 national poll reflects 69% of respondents favor school choice—68% of those were Blacks, 82% Latinos, and 71% Millennials.

Bonnie (Yes)

A 28-year veteran public school teacher from California, Rebecca Friedrichs, left her job when she realized the need to expose the truth about teachers' unions to the American public. Friedrichs reveals in her work how state and national teacher unions are run by ideological leftists, who are behind every extreme ideology invading classrooms across America. They pour enormous amounts of money into promoting abortion, critical race theory/intersectionality, radical sex education programs, cultural marxism, and anti-American agendas. Unions browbeat teachers who question how their union dues are used or would prefer to opt-out from joining altogether, and they only defend teachers who agree to push their ideological agendas

Teachers’ unions serve the special interests of teachers, and therefore, teachers, not students, come first. They block needed reforms such as merit-based pay, instead promoting a pay scale that rewards teachers strictly by seniority, regardless of teaching quality (“last in, first out”). Firing bad teachers are extremely difficult, and some teachers, who should be removed over controversies like sex abuse scandals, are instead placed with paid leave in “rubber rooms.” Teachers’ unions oppose all alternative educational school choice (where the funding follows the child) and parents can choose to place their children in succeeding public schools, charter schools, private schools, or even use the funds for homeschooling. Teachers’ unions are notoriously partisan—in 2020, 97% of donations went to the Democrat party. Every Democrat politician must embrace the unions' agenda if they want to hold office. 

Public schools and their unions are failing the American children. Between 2010-2015, the Obama administration funneled $7 billion into failing public schools without student scores, programs or teaching quality improving. Solving America’s broken school system cannot continue to fall under union jurisdiction. Solutions reside in practical alternatives such as school choice

Kat (No)

Teachers' unions fulfill the same purpose as any other union: to protect workers and negotiate for them. Many people bring up concerns about the effect that teacher unionization might have on students but forget that teachers have as much right as any other employee to work in a safe environment, have their concerns addressed, and earn a fair and equitable salary. Unions protect these rights.

When many people think of unions, the first thing they think of is negotiating for higher pay. Teachers' unions do that, but they do more as well. Teachers may be reluctant to speak up about concerns they have about how schools are run because they fear for their jobs. Unions make it harder for teachers to be fired for expressing their grievances by helping them receive tenure, which ensures that they will have due process. Furthermore, teacher unionization does not have the negative effect on students that some fear it does. 

The benefits of teachers' unions extend beyond protecting the safety of teachers and on to academic performance. Schools with a teachers' union usually perform better academically than those without. On a worldwide scale, schools in Finland and Singapore are almost entirely unionized and outperform US schools. Within the US, high rates of unionization correlate with better student performance on tests. One of the likely reasons for this is that unions promote unity among teachers. Attending union meetings boosts morale by helping teachers become more acquainted with each other and become aware of how they can help each other out. Getting rid of unions would be a detriment to both teachers and their students.

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