Teacher Unions Exploit Due Process to Protect Their Own … And Students Are the Victims

Published March 1, 2008

Wherever teacher unions exist, the rigors of state-mandated due process are exacerbated by excessive procedures negotiated by the union designed to frighten off any principal who tries to discipline a teacher. Plus, the unions have access to top-notch attorneys specifically trained to defend teachers brought up on dismissal charges.

In my book, The Alliance Against Education Reform (AuthorHouse, 2007), I discuss the meaning of due process and dissect its complicated requirements as they pertain to teacher discipline.

For several years, I was responsible for handling all disciplinary actions, including dismissals, for a large school district. During that time I presented seminars to school board members, administrators, and attorneys in other districts on how to dismiss tenured teachers.

From these unique experiences I learned many lessons, including the following:

  • School board members don’t want to get involved in dismissing teachers.
  • Union reps are well-prepared to defend even the most incompetent teacher and will do so to enhance their image as defenders of “exploited” teachers.
  • Dismissal procedures are rigged to protect the guilty. Whereas tenure originally was designed to protect competent teachers from interference with their academic freedom, tenure has degenerated into a process for protecting the incompetent.

Richard G. Neal