The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Teachers Union Supporters Lose a Debate on Failing Schools

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About 500 people showed up for a March 18 debate in New York that addressed the notion, “Do Not Blame the Teachers Unions for Our Failing Schools.” The debate, sponsored by IQ Squared, asked the audience to vote electronically for or against the concept—once before the debate, and again after.

In other words, if you think the unions are to blame, you would vote against the motion. Two teams of three addressed the issue, for and against.

Before the debate, 24 percent of the audience agreed with the idea that teachers unions are not to blame for our failing schools, and after the debate, 25 percent thought unions are blameless.

Strikingly, however, while 33 percent of audience members were undecided at the beginning of the debate, and 43 percent did blame unions, the number of undecided fell to only 7 percent by the end of the debate, and 68 percent of the audience blamed unions for failing schools.

Not a great result for the teachers union side—it appears that most of the undecideds decided that teachers unions look out for union members first—kids a distant second. If you’d like to see the debate, it can be found in its entirety here.

There are solutions to the problems we face in our schools, many articulated by panelists at the debate, including greater school choice and weighted student funding.

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Written by Robert Appel

April 7, 2010 at 8:24 am

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