RUSH: Here's Fran Tarkenton: "What if the NFL Played by Teachers' Rules? -- Imagine the National Football League in an alternate reality. Each player's salary is based on how long he's been in the league. It's about tenure, not talent. The same scale is used for every player, no matter whether he's an All-Pro quarterback or the last man on the roster. For every year a player's been in this NFL, he gets a bump in pay. The only difference between Tom Brady and the worst player in the league is a few years of step increases. And if a player makes it through his third season, he can never be cut from the roster until he chooses to retire, except in the most extreme cases of misconduct. Let's face the truth about this alternate reality: The on-field product would steadily decline.
"Why bother playing harder or better and risk getting hurt? No matter how much money was poured into the league, it wouldn't get better. In fact, in many ways the disincentive to play harder or to try to stand out would be even stronger with more money. Of course, a few wild-eyed reformers might suggest the whole system was broken and needed revamping to reward better results, but the players union would refuse to budge and then demonize the reform advocates: 'They hate football. They hate the players. They hate the fans.' The only thing that might get done would be building bigger, more expensive stadiums ... If you haven't figured it out yet, the NFL in this alternate reality is the real -life American public education system."
That's exactly how it works: You get a job, you hang in for three years; it doesn't matter how well you do your job or not, you still get your automatic pay increases. After you've worked for three years, you get paid for the rest of your life no matter when you quit. It doesn't matter what you do, doesn't matter how good you are, doesn't matter how well you do the job, doesn't matter whether the students are learning anything. In the alternate universe NFL, same thing. Get on the roster, last three years, and it doesn't matter if you're star quarterback or the equipment manager: You get paid the same and you get paid for life.
"Teachers' salaries have no relation to whether teachers are actually good at their job -- excellence isn't rewarded, and neither is extra effort. Pay is almost solely determined by how many years they've been teaching. That's it. After a teacher earns tenure, which is often essentially automatic, firing him or her becomes almost impossible, no matter how bad the performance might be. And if you criticize the system, you're demonized for hating teachers and not believing in our nation's children. Inflation-adjusted spending per student in the United States has nearly tripled since 1970. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, we spend more per student than any nation except Switzerland, with only middling results to show for it."
That "inflation adjusted spending" is just all there is. There's no incentive to work harder. "These same misguided beliefs are front and center in President Obama's jobs plan, which includes billions for 'public school modernization.' ... Some reformers, including Bill Gates, are finally catching on that our federally centralized, union-created system provides no incentive for better performance. If anything, it penalizes those who work hard because they spend time, energy and their own money to help students, only to get the same check each month as the worst teacher in the district (or an even smaller one, if that teacher has been there longer). "Is it any surprise, then, that so many good teachers burn out or become disenchanted?"
This is the setup for the story that follows, what happens to students and parents in these schools.
RUSH: Okay, let's review Fran Tarkenton op-ed, Wall Street Journal. Imagines what the NFL would look like if run like America's public school system. What if the NFL played by teachers rules? It would go out of business. And the reason is that watching football is voluntary. Nobody would sponsor nor pay to watch lazy mediocrity -- and, by the way, this is not to cut teachers. This is human nature. I remember in the early days of this program I accused the bricklayers union in Chicago of securing in a new contract the right to lay fewer bricks than they were laying in their current contract with longer breaks, all kinds of stuff. They raised hell, but it went away because I was right. It's just the nature of the beast. In fact, over the years people have called here and said, "What have you got against unions?"
Nothing. You want to join a union, feel free. It's a free country; it's the United States. There are unions here. If you want to join one go ahead, but understand something: You cease to be an individual. You get paid like everybody else. Your own individual work doesn't stand out. To earn more you gotta work overtime. It's not the place to go to make a name for yourself if that's what you want to do. But if that's not important to you, joining a union and a job and the benefits that come with it, that's fine. Go for it. But then don't call me three years later to complain how much money you're not making 'cause you knew that going in.
Especially teachers. You know what you're gonna make if you join a teachers union. So you put the school system rules in charge of the National Football League, and people are gonna stop going. They'll stop buying tickets, they'll stop buying merchandise, they'll stop watching. Advertising sales would dry up because fewer people would be watching games on television. ESPN would not pay the NFL $1.9 billion to broadcast the games. That was Fran Tarkenton's point: There's no incentive. That takes us to the next piece, also in the Wall Street Journal, by Micheal Flaherty. President and cofounder of Walden Media which coproduced the 2010 documentary Waiting for Superman about the American public education system.
If you haven't seen it, you should rent it. It's good. "The Latest Crime Wave: Sending Your Child to a Better School -- In case you needed further proof of the American education system's failings, especially in poor and minority communities, consider the latest crime to spread across the country: educational theft. That's the charge that has landed several parents, such as Ohio's Kelley Williams-Bolar, in jail this year. An African-American mother of two, Ms. Williams-Bolar last year used her father's address to enroll her two daughters in a better public school outside of their neighborhood. After spending nine days behind bars charged with grand theft, the single mother was convicted of two felony counts. Not only did this stain her spotless record, but it threatened her ability to earn the teacher's license she had been working on.
"Ms. Williams-Bolar caught a break last month when Ohio Gov. John Kasich granted her clemency, reducing her charges to misdemeanors from felonies. His decision allows her to pursue her teacher's license, and it may provide hope to parents beyond the Buckeye State. In the last year, parents in Connecticut, Kentucky and Missouri have all been arrested -- and await sentencing -- for enrolling their children in better public schools outside of their districts. These arrests represent two major forms of exasperation. First is that of parents whose children are zoned into failing public schools -- they can't afford private schooling, they can't access school vouchers, and they haven't won or haven't even been able to enter a lottery for a better charter school.
"Then there's the exasperation of school officials finding it more and more difficult to deal with these boundary-hopping parents. From California to Massachusetts, districts are hiring special investigators to follow children from school to their homes to determine their true residences and decide if they 'belong' at high-achieving public schools." No! No! Now, you're probably listening to this in one degree of incredulity or another. You can't believe what you're hearing. Parents are felons and are going to jail for sending their kids to better schools outside of the districts in which they live! Don't forget the Fran Tarkenton piece about what happened to public education and if the NFL were run the same way the teachers union and the public schools are run.
There's no incentive for the teachers to do any better -- and, by the way, who is it that defends this system? It's your Democrat Party -- it's your president, Barack Obama -- who are loyal to teachers unions first and foremost. Who is it that's keeping these run-down schools open while running around bellyaching and whining and moaning about the need for shovel-ready jobs to build new schools and new infrastructure and all that. So while our president is running around not doing anything, and running around claiming that bridges are about to collapse while people drive over them, he also says the same thing about schools. But who is it that's keeping them open? Who is it that is putting parents in jail in the United States of America for trying to send their kids to better public schools near where they live. This is jaw dropping, is it not?
This is how police states work, and this is what happens when the Democrat Party cares more about pleasing and satisfying teachers unions -- and why do they, you say? Well, teachers as members of unions pay dues; and the dues end up funding Democrat campaigns. Once again, it's a giant money laundering operation. Wherever you find -- 99 out of 100 times, wherever you find -- a union, you are going to find massive amendments of money that support by way of coercion, then donation, and contribution to Democrat candidates. Liberal policies in public education are continuing to hurt the poor. Who is it hurting the poor here? It is the poor who are trying to escape. Let us not forget in Washington, DC, there was a voucher program when Obama assumed office.
There was a voucher program that permitted the parents of poor children to send their kids to private schools. The same type of school Obama sends his children to and the Clintons sent Chelsea to, the same kind of school that Algore sent his kids to, the same kind of school that members of Congress send their kids to. However, Obama came in and shut down that program. Poor kids whose parents are desperate... They're just like any other parents: They want the best to their kids and like most Americans, they think education's the ticket. Like most parents, regardless of income, they want the best for their kids and the best education. So if a program comes along that allows them to get their kids in a great school, they'll apply for it, do what they can to have access to it -- and here comes who?
A Democrat president shutting it down. Who is it keeping these dilapidated, underperforming, crony union schools open in their dilapidated state? The Democrat Party. Liberalism, ladies and gentlemen -- liberal policies in public education -- continue to hurt the poor. "Only in a world where irony is dead could people not marvel at concerned parents being prosecuted for stealing a free public education for their children." Public education's already free, but they're being charged with educational theft. That is the felonious charge that has been created: Educational theft, if you send your kid to a school outside your district. "In August, an internal PowerPoint presentation from the American Federation of Teachers surfaced online.
"The document described how the AFT undermined minority parent groups' efforts in Connecticut to pass the 'parent trigger' legislation that offers parents real governing authority to transform failing schools. A key to the AFT's success in killing the effort, said the document, was keeping parent groups from 'the table.'" The story goes on to talk about two different schools here, a good school and a poor school, and it concludes that the defining differences between the two schools is parents. There's actually "Betty Smith's 1943 novel, 'A Tree Grows In Brooklyn,' also adapted into an Academy Award-winning film.
"In the novel, Francie Nolan is the bright young daughter of Irish immigrants living in Brooklyn's Williamsburg immigrant ghetto in the early 20th century. An avid reader, Francie is crushed when she attends her local public school and discovers that opportunity is nonexistent for girls of her ilk. So Francie and her father Johnny claim the address of a house next to a good public school." There's where they say they live. "Francie enrolls at the school and her life is transformed. A teacher nurtures her love for writing, and she goes on to thrive at the school. Francie eventually becomes an accomplished writer who tells the story of her transformation through education. The defining difference between the two schools, writes the novel's narrator, is parents:
"At the good school, 'The parents were too American, too aware of the rights granted them by their Constitution to accept injustices meekly. They could not be bulldozed and exploited as could the immigrants and the second-generation Americans,'" and, by the way, this is another reason why the children of illegals are sought for public schools. They'll put up with it. The children of illegals will put up with these dilapidated schools, because for them it is a huge step up -- and these schools become little indoctrination centers for the children of illegal immigrants as they are brainwashed and programmed to become Democrats as adults. Yeah. They hire investigators to follow kids leaving school to see where they actually go.
No one ever fools the KGB!