April 30 2012
Vicki E. Alger
A new report from the Heartland Institute finds teachers unions nationwide routinely seek to prevent teachers from joining—or speaking out about—nonunion teachers associations.
The report, “Bullying Teachers: How Teachers Unions Secretly Push Teachers and Competitors Around,” originated in routine tracking of education-related legislation compiled for Heartland’s School Reform News.
“Taken alone, they’re isolated annoying incidents,” according to the report. “Together, they form a pattern of repression and discrimination akin to the bullying among youngsters, which state legislators around the nation have recently worked so hard to end.”
The report shows how teachers unions “place themselves within every crevice of the teaching profession,” including graduate schools of education, to “maintain their grip…by restricting the information teachers receive…They create an undercurrent of fear through threats, creating unpleasant social situations, and taking action against teachers who speak out...”
Earlier this year, a Utah teacher testified on behalf of a bill that would penalize school districts for not granting all teacher organizations, not just unions, equal access to teachers. He was fired a week later. The teacher’s principal admitted that “she approved of his job performance but had released him because of pressure.”
A Colorado teacher was afraid to testify in favor of a bill extending the state’s two-week time limit for ending union membership. The state teachers’ union, she explained, is “a large and powerful organization… I want to speak out against them, but I am afraid of the repercussions that I will face as a result and the possibility of them doing something to make me lose my job.”
“Teachers unions proclaim to the public that they represent teachers. They also say they are against bullying,” said study author Joy Pullmann, managing editor of School Reform News and Heartland Institute education research fellow. The evidence, however, suggests otherwise.