VIDEO: Whoopi Goldberg Takes on Teachers Unions

Aug 06, 2014 - 11:30am

Senior Manager, Communications, Education and Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Whoopi's Rant: Teachers & Tenure

TV personalities have been in the spotlight this week for their views on teacher effectiveness.

Former CNN anchor Campbell Brown has been making the rounds on cable news and talk shows (see here and here) to discuss her effort to overturn teacher tenure laws. Her group, the Partnership for Educational Justice, is organizing parents and students to bring lawsuits against states with strong teacher tenure laws. In June, a California judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs who sued the state citing that the laws violated students’ rights to an equal education under the state law.

Last month, plaintiffs in New York filed a lawsuit against the state saying that tenure laws violate the state constitution by not guaranteeing a “sound basic education.”  According to the lawsuit, in New York City, only 12 teachers out of 75,000 in any given year were formally replaced because of poor performance between 1997 and 2007. Additionally, it can take up to 18 months and cost taxpayers $250,000 to replace one poor teacher.

During her appearance on “The Colbert Report” last week Brown said, “91% of teachers around the state of New York are rated either effective or highly effective and yet 31% of our kids are reading, writing, and doing math at grade level. How can you argue the status quo is ok?”

Whoopi Goldberg also jumped into the fray this week on “The View” saying in part, “Bad teachers don’t do anybody any good. So the union needs to recognize that parents aren’t going to stand for it anymore.”

Not surprisingly, Goldberg’s comments lit up her Twitter feed with union supporters which led her to post a short video on her YouTube page saying in part, “I’m all about teachers. My mom was a teacher. I like great teachers. I don’t like bad teachers. I don’t think bad teachers should be given the gift of teaching forever … badly.”

On a related note, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation will release its fourth edition of the Leaders & Laggards state-by-state report card on September 11th. This year’s report will grade states on their effectiveness in K-12 education. One metric in the report is “Teacher Quality” which provides each state with a letter grade based on how they are preparing, recruiting, and evaluating the teacher workforce.

To learn more and register for the event, please visit our website.

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About the Author

About the Author

Mark D'Alessio
Senior Manager, Communications, Education and Workforce, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

D’Alessio manages all aspects of the program’s communications, including the website, blog, social media, marketing, internal communications, and strategy to promote the Center for Education and Workforce's initiatives.