On Friday’s World News, ABC correspondent Ron Claiborne filed a report recounting some of the unreasonable problems faced by school systems when trying to lay off bad teachers as a result of hurdles put up by teachers unions. Claiborne noted one example of a Los Angeles teacher who was fired after five years of effort by the school system, costing $3.5 million. ABC anchor Diane Sawyer, who later admitted to having come from a family of teachers, gave voice to complaints over the system as she introduced the report:
Almost every one of us, parent and child, has been frustrated by a teacher who probably should not be teaching, but is protected by tenure or seniority, and the unions have been blamed. Well, now, for the first time under growing public pressure, a big teacher's union says they're ready to change that.
Claiborne’s report notably included a soundbite of former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee complaining about the difficulty of firing bad teachers, although the ABC correspondent did not note the role that organized labor played in defeating the mayor who appointed her, Adrian Fenty, in the Democratic primary in 2010, resulting in her dismissal in spite of impressive achievements.
On Wednesday's Hardball, Chris Matthews brought on former Washington D.C. chancellor of public schools Michelle Rhee to discuss the state of public education in this country and praised her for work on the part of students but also warned her to "stay away from the right wing" because she was "too good to be grabbed by some ideological fool."
After Rhee explained to Matthews why public school students needed an organization like the one she founded, Students First, to counterbalance the influence of the teachers unions, Matthews congratulated her for not becoming a tool of conservatives.
No matter how much money any government - federal, state or local - puts into public education, it's never enough in some people's eyes.
A July 1 "NBC Nightly News" segment detailed a new use of tax payer dollars in one of the worst performing, financially struggling school systems in the country - the Washington, D.C. public school system. They are paying school children with taxpayer funds, part of a social experiment to improve school participation at the middle school level.
"Keeping the exuberant sixth graders of Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson in line on a sunny Friday is a challenge for principal Brian Betts," former "Nightly News" anchor-turned-correspondent Tom Brokaw explained. "But this is not an assembly, it's payday. It's called Capital Gains - paying students for good grades, behavior and attendance, part of the massive restructuring of the D.C. schools by a 38-year-old Korean-American woman, who as chancellor, wants to transform what is by many measures the worst-performing public school system in the U.S."