Gayle Fallon, Houston Federation of Teachers president, said one reason so many teachers are breaking their contracts this year is that they have been mistreated by principals.
"A lot of our campus administrators are absolutely abusive," she said. "They scream at people. No one wants to be told to sit down and shut up in a faculty meeting, or be yelled at in front of students, parents or their peers."
Other problems, Pasternak said, include a subjective evaluation system and principals' reluctance to discipline students.
As phone calls have come in to the union office from teachers planning to quit without approval, Fallon said union representatives have counseled them that breaking a contract will be considered a termination, which will stay on the teacher's record.
"We warn them the sanction will be there forever," Fallon said. "What we're getting back is, 'I don't care. I can't do this any more.'"
Teachers don't much care about that if they are treated like shit. Of course, Texas doesn't have real unions since it is a "right-to-work" state, so teachers doubtless don't believe these associations do one thing for them.
Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler doesn't think much of John Merrow's valentine to Michelle Rhee. Somerby used to be a teacher.
Could this defiance spark a national trend?
I hope so.