Most wanted

An anti-union group hopes to expose how difficult it is to fire the most dreadful teachers. The Center for Union Facts is asking educators, parents, and students to nominate the "worst unionized teacher in America"; the group will choose ten winners (losers, really) and offer each $10,000 to exit the classroom posthaste. The nominees can collect the cash only if they allow their names and stories to be posted on the center's website, teachersunionexposed.com (which went live Tuesday). The group's president, Rick Berman, says he's simply "trying to jump-start a conversation" about the stranglehold teachers' unions have on public education. Gadfly admires Berman's passion and grit but wonders about his tactics. Spotlighting ineffectual teachers--public or private--and bringing transparency to classrooms is a fine idea. But Berman's approach may play into the hands of the unions, which will surely complain (actually have already complained) that "America's teachers are once again under attack." Plus, why would a horrendous teacher agree to be humiliated for $10,000? Certainly he could make far more by clinging to tenure.

"Group has severance plan for 'worst unionized teachers,'" by Greg Toppo, USA Today, March 11, 2008