The Center for Union Facts has launched a nationwide campaign that takes an irreverent and hard-hitting look at teacher unions. So far, it is airing TV ads on major networks and running full page ads in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Its website,, demonstrates how teacher unions help bad teachers stay in the classroom.

Teacher unions show their true priorities through the collective bargaining agreements and tenure policies they negotiated, the complicated process to fire a bad teacher, and dismissal rates that are absurdly low compared to just about any other occupation. Texas specific data by the Center for Union Facts finds that only 0.85% of tenured teachers were fired, compared to only 1.8% of teachers on a probationary contract and 9.8% of private school teachers.

Through open records requests to large school districts across Texas, we found that districts fired less than 0.40% of teachers over a five-year period. This is less than one out of every 250 teachers. The results are startling especially when compared to the private sector (16%) or state government (12%). It is illogical to think teaching is markedly different in the type of workers they attract. Even in outstanding public schools, any parent can point to at least one bad teacher. The issue is that bad employees in other professions are dismissed while in public schools rather than get fired they get “reassigned.”

Parents want to regard classroom teachers as allies in the pursuit of a quality education for their children. But the energy the unions invest in defending the prerogatives of ineffective teachers makes it appear as though improving education comes secondary to protecting their own jobs.

– Brooke Terry