Writes William Tucker at the NY Sun, on “The City of the Snoozing Teachers”:

As Sol Stern illustrates on every page of his brilliant new book, Breaking Free, the teachers unions that run the public schools operate on the principle that people who finish in last place should set the standard for everyone else. Teachers unions don’t simply protect against failure, they virtually embrace it. Everything in the teachers’ contract is designed so that the worst teachers suffer the least amount of harm…

Finally settling down to raise his children on the Upper West Side in the 1980s, he was dedicated to the egalitarianism of the public schools….

At one point Mr. Stern encountered what he thought was a homeless derelict wandering the schoolyard. The man turned out to be a tenured teacher permanently shunted to playground duty. When the disheveled educator occassionally appeared in the classroom, the children complained of his body odor and made up songs about him.Yet union rules made it impossible to get rid of him. [July 8, 2003]

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