Lawyers are extremely expensive and even if a teacher accused of a crime or of incompetence was innocent, without the union to pay legal fees, most teachers would be helpless victims.
In addition, legal assistance from the teachers unions is not automatic. When a teacher is accused of being incompetent, and he claims to be innocent and goes to the local branch of the teacher union seeking help, legal experts that are retained by the NEA or AFT will usually consider if the case has merit.
You Pay for what You Get!
If the union’s legal experts feel the teacher deserves a defense, then the union will stand behind that teacher. What I mean by evidence may be twenty years of satisfactory evaluations by more than one administrator, which is often the case.
However, if the union’s legal experts say there is not enough evidence to defend the teacher, the union will not defend them.
I taught in the public schools for thirty years and know of cases where teachers went to the union and were denied legal support. I also know of cases where the union’s legal experts ruled in favor of teachers and recommended the union assist them.
To demand that teachers accused of incompetence be fired without due process is undemocratic and un-American. If Wal-Mart can have its day in court when accused of discrimination, then teachers should have the same privilege when accused of incompetence.
How many teachers are we talking about that may be incompetent? A possible answer will appear in Part 3.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves
Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).
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