Timothy Dalrymple writes in Patheos.
Roughly 1 in 50 doctors lose their medical license. Only 1 in 2500 teachers ever lose their teaching credentials. Process that for a moment. It’s much easier to become a teacher than a doctor, yet teachers are fifty times less likely than doctors to be removed from the profession.
It’s no mystery who protects the teachers. That would be the teachers unions. And it’s no mystery who protects the teachers unions. The NEA (National Education Association) and the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) together are the largest campaign contributors in the country. In the twenty years prior to the recent election cycle, they gave over $55m to federal candidates and their parties — more than the teamsters, the NRA, or any other organization. Over 90 percent of this money goes to Democrats. When it comes to education policy, the Democratic Party is given its marching orders by the NEA and the AFT.
This is not about teachers but the unions that defend their entrenched interests.
Another part of the coalition in defense of educational failure is the entertainment establishment. When Won’t Back Down reached theaters, it was roundly denounced by media liberals for presenting the teachers unions in a less-than-positive light. Released by Walden Media (whose co-founder Mike Flaherty is a former education reformer from Boston and a widely admired evangelical businessman), the film presents a nuanced, enjoyable, inspiring story of a distraught parent (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and a jaded teacher (Viola Davis) banding together to take over a failing school. The performances and production values were top-notch, and the pro-union side was given fair time. It was an excellent film. While the white elites were making fools of themselves in their sputtering rage at the “noxious” politics of a movie that actually questions the motives and methods of the teachers unions, the largely African American audience that attended the screening with me roared with applause and loved the film. Yet the film was effectively hushed up after it evoked a negative reaction in screenings at the Democratic National Convention, and passed from most theaters in two weeks.