The Corner

Politics & Policy

Massachusetts Teachers Pressured by Union Leaders to Oppose Charter Schools

After seeing National Review’s coverage of Massachusetts Ballot Question 2 to raise the cap on charter schools, a reader e-mailed me to describe how leaders in her small Massachusetts school district actively manipulate teachers like her. The way that unions’ political thuggery pervades the work environment is chilling:

For the first day back to school, all of the teachers and staff in the district met in the high school auditorium for orientation. It was my first day at my new job so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. At the very beginning of the presentation (before the superintendent even gave his welcome speech) our teachers’ union president [the local chapter of the Massachusetts Teachers Association] comes on stage with another woman affiliated with the “No on 2” movement. Without even a welcome or greeting, the union president starts rattling on about the “No on 2” campaign. They passed out slips of paper to everyone that had check boxes on it. As an exit slip, we were supposed to check either “Yes” or “No” for how we would be voting for Question 2, and they were telling us to make sure to check the “No” box. They also had us fill out cards with our name and address so that they could send us all of the “No on 2” campaign info and gear. As we were exiting the presentation, they had people stationed at every door ready to collect our check boxes and address cards. I felt extremely uncomfortable with the entire presentation. I didn’t know much about the campaign and I felt like I had been slapped in the face with how to vote without being given much information on the issue.

This sort of union bullying may be disturbing, but it is not surprising. The power they wield is immense. The reader who e-mailed also said that she became a part of the union because failure to join actually entails a greater total of fees paid. She has union political muscle to thank for that equation.

Unfortunately, opposition to Question 2 has remained fierce, and the latest poll shows charter expansion back down among Massachusetts voters. This after the wild success of Massachusetts charters has been written about in papers such as the New York Times and the Boston Globe, which published an official endorsement of Question 2. The unions are actively engaged in spreading as much fear and misinformation as possible to stop this measure, and tomorrow’s vote will determine whether their efforts will stymie opportunities for over 32,000 Massachusetts students to choose a better education.