States Rebel Against Failing Unionized Education

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one learned in school.” – Albert Einstein

Photo Credit: School Choice Week / Facebook

By William Haupt III [Tennessee Watchdog Journalist, Columnist, Author, and Citizen Legislator] –

Parents share the dream that their child will grow up to be a corporate CEO, a medical or a legal professional and of course rocket scientists. Others want them to take over the family business. All these goals are admirable and obtainable with the right education, at the “right school”. And that is our major education problem today. Common Core one-size-fits-all public education doesn’t cut it.

U.S. taxpayers are being swindled out of their education dollars. Public schools around the US are bellyaching at each county budget meeting that they don’t have enough money to teach properly. 

Yet no other institution in America has less accountability to the very people that finance them? And none pays their employees generous full time salaries and benefits working nine months a year. 

Homeowners have been flushing more and more tax dollars down the failed public school drain for decades without reaping better returns for the nation’s children. Test scores on the federally funded National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report have remained stagnant for decades. 

Across America NAEP scores of the lowest ranking students continue to decline. The only things going up are the tax dollars to fund schools and salaries and benefits for teachers. Critics blame it on the testing; others cite lack of classroom funding. Some say “it’s badly disciplined classes.” But informed parents know liberal teacher unions and Common Core woke politics are the culprits. 

If education is a 10th Amendment state right, how did parents lose control of local public schools? 

The Washington Post blames the 1976 Democratic National Convention which was attended by 180 National Education Association (NEA) delegates. Walter Mondale promised the NEA Jimmy Carter would form a department of education if he was elected. This was the first time in history an NEA army invaded a convention in order to elect a president to give a union control of anything!  

When Carter presented this monster to Congress it got a lackluster reception. Rep Ben Rosenthal (D-NY) said that Congress went along with Carter ”not to embarrass him.” Other Congressmen had also promised the teacher unions in their districts to vote for this ludicrous bureaucratic quagmire. 

Passed in 1979 by a reluctant Congress, for over four decades, the federal government has given a large powerful special interest group, the NEA, authority to dictate national education standards. 

The DoED forces federally approved curriculum and failed liberal education policies on states like; “the lost race to the top” and “all kids left behind” and the progressive “Common Core conundrum.”

When the DoED put unions in charge of education, it became politically impossible to track failed NEA programs. School districts and unions used the DoED to justify mandates to benefit teachers; not students. This resulted in worthless spending on countless suspect, politically liberal programs.   

Publicly available spending and achievement data since the creation of the DoED in 1979 shows education spending has roughly tripled in real, inflation-numbers. But achievement scores are flat. 

In crime-ridden urban areas, student learning in public schools continues to decrease yearly. Last year, NAEP results for 12th grade students showed 37% reading proficiency and 24% for math. 

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Although states claim to control education, the DoED has force fed NEA policies on them for years which has resulted in many failed local schools. By 2000, bowing to pressure concerning poor quality schools, states began offering more education choices; if parents paid for them. Their goal was to receive the same revenue and allow the parents to pay out of pocket to send kids to better schools. 

Parents have always had school choice; “If they paid for it.” Those who moved to better districts paid higher taxes. Others sent their kids to expensive Catholic or private schools. But for families where “school flight” was not an option they were stuck with the failed union school system. And all parents who choose to pay for better schools still had to pay taxes to support failing local schools. 

In 2011, twelve states passed legislation that created school choice options and expanded existing programs. That year Arizona created the country’s first “education savings account” option. Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, and North Carolina passed hybrid forms of Arizona’s program. Regardless of what parents spent on private schools, they still paid for seats in public schools they never used. 

In 2018, Janus v. County and Municipal Employees, when the Supreme Court ruled teachers could  no longer be forced to join unions, many Americans thought local governments would finally take back control of education. But in the next election, unions paid dearly to elect a pro-teacher Congress. NEA president Lily Garcí retorted, “We never feared Janus, and our numbers today prove that.” 


When COVID shut down America’s classrooms, this impacted SAT scores, exams, college entrance requirements, and scholarships. It negatively skewed standardized tests. And those who needed extra help fell further behind. It also made graduating a challenge for those who needed required classes. And this forced many states to take action against federally unionized state education.  

The classroom tumult caused by COVID was amplified by progressive demands to teach the false social science of CRT in public schools. States were forced to appease the angry parents who had discovered the value of home-schooling. This was an opportunity parents needed to expand school choice programs and approve “education vouchers” to redistribute tax dollars to benefit more kids. 

Seven states passed school choice bills for the first time, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Arkansas Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio. Five created education savings accounts that gave money or tax credits to use for private schools. Politicians had to assure union schools they’d not lose a single dime. Now tax-credit scholarships dominate private school choice programs in 21 states.

In the Tennessee legislature this year, SB1674, sponsored by Senator Mike Bell and HB1671, sponsored by Representative Michael Curcio extend education saving account eligibility to qualified students that did not receive 180 days of in-person learning annually due to COVID. This includes those that refused parents to opt out of imposed masking mandates.  

Tennessee is a right to work state. Education should be controlled by parents, not teacher unions.

Milton Friedman said free market principles of consumer choice and competition must be applied to the monopolistic system that controls American education. It’s time that we get rid of the chronically ill, dysfunctional DoED and the self-serving teacher unions that control our public school systems.  

All parents that choose better schools should have their education tax dollars paid directly to those schools, not to the local union schools they do not use.

 “Teachers’ unions often say that teachers deserve higher pay because they are doing an important job. But if you are doing an important job badly, you are doing more harm than if you were doing some minor job badly.” -Thomas Sowell


William Haupt III is a retired professional journalist, author, and citizen legislator in California for over 40 years. He got his start working to approve California Proposition 13. His work also appears in The Center SquareThe Western JournalNeighbor NewspapersKPXJ 21 (Shreveport, LA)Killeen Daily HeraldAberdeen American NewsInsideNovaKankakee Daily JournalMonterey County WeeklyOlean Times HeraldThe Greeneville Sun and more. Follow William on Twitter @iii_haupt.

3 thoughts on “States Rebel Against Failing Unionized Education

  • January 26, 2022 at 6:49 pm

    Covid masking sets back the Hearing Impaired who Lip Read, Causes sores around mouths, dental decay, Intra Crainial bleeding, now we get reports of a 20% increase in Lymphomy Cancers. Ya’ll best Look up the word ETHYLENE OXIDE the CANCER/FERTILITY agent on those swabs being rammed up noses. Or the Preservatives/Binders IN ALL VACCINES, NAIL POLISH REMOVER-ACETONE, ANTI-FREEZE, MECURY, and you’ve not got to the virus part. Sen Johnson just reported on the 300% increase in cancer, Miscarriges and Stillbirths, 1000% increase in Neurigiocal side effects that ground Pilots both Military and anyone who has a Pilots license. Voids their FAA Medical. You have the makings of the Mother of All THALIDOMIDE BABIES on a grander scale. And get your kids off TicTox transgender promoter.

  • January 26, 2022 at 6:54 pm

    TIE ED money to the child, that way you can chose the school type, including home schooling. We have litterally spent Billions which would have provided a Private Tutor per child, yearly K-12.

  • January 27, 2022 at 11:15 am

    Gail you are 100% right. The argument from teacher unions and local school boards about soaking taxpayers, especially seniors for schools they do not use is that they are paying into a service to improve the community? Hogwash! If we look at the lack of civic education, rebellious education, lack of moral education and social skills taught in schools today; as well as on the low test scores and the amount of crime in our communities, are we really making a sound investment in our communities by paying huge dollars into bad and fainting schools? Or would be better off giving parents and option to give them back the amt they are paying for a public school seat and let them pay for one in a private school>


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