The Fight to Protect Good Teachers

By Jessica Peck Corry ( In America, you can criticize your doctor. You can make all the lawyer jokes you want. You can even interrogate your preacher. Call into question the abilities of your kid’s teacher, however, and you’re likely to have an entire teacher’s union screaming outside your window. It’s a lesson Arnold Schwarzenegger learned the hard way yesterday.

After the California Governor posted a form on his website asking Californians for stories about inferior teachers, the teacher’s union went ballistic. The form asked: “Have a story about a teacher who just might not be cut out for the job, yet nothing can be done because of tenure? Please tell us. We’d like to share the stories of Californians like you!”

The form, which was quickly pulled off the site after a reporter’s inquiry, was part of Schwarzenegger’s campaign for Proposition 74, an innovative plan that would lengthen the probationary period for new teachers to five years from two. The reason: it’s simply too hard for school districts to fire bad teachers who have tenure.

As of this morning, Alliance for a Better California, the shell group organized to oppose to the measure, was planning a counter-attack. “Why do teachers have to point out to him that it’s a bad idea to attack them? Why are he and his campaign staff playing these sorts of political games?” the group's spokeswoman Robin Swanson huffed. “The governor should have more respect for teachers in his state.”

More respect?

What could be more respectful of good teachers than seeking ways to get rid of bad ones?

Our kids deserve better than business as usual. Schwarzenegger’s only mistake was to pull the form off his site. Parents across California need a voice—the form may have been their only option against the ever-powerful over-funded union special interests.