"When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of schoolchildren."
Sadly, that's an actual quote from Albert Shanker, President of the American Federation of Teachers from 1974 to 1997. It illustrates how teachers unions operate -- as Joel Klein, the Chancellor of New York City's public schools from 2002 until 2011, explains in the June edition of The Atlantic.
When Klein proposed basing tenure on whether whether teachers actually increased their students' performance, the unions went ballistic, took their case to the state legislature... and won.
Seemingly overnight, a budget amendment barring the use of test data in tenure decisions materialized in the heavily Democratic State Assembly. Joe Bruno, then the Republican majority leader in the State Senate, assured me that this amendment would not pass... Fast-forward a few weeks: the next call I got from Senator Bruno was to say, apologetically, that several of his Republican colleagues had caved to the teachers union, which had threatened reprisals in the next election.
As a result, it's now against the law to use test data in tenure decisions.
Klein also details other corruption in the system:
I said that we would end patronage hires... At my mention of patronage, the legislators... purported to be "shocked." Nevertheless, after the hearing, when I went to thank committee members, one took me aside and said: "Listen, they're trying to get rid of a principal in my district who runs a Democratic club for us. If you protect him, you'll never have a problem with me."
Klein has enough dirt on the government-run education monopoly to fill 14 pages.