Who's Protecting Problem Teachers?

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," November 3, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: So, I couldn't believe this next story. A New York City school teacher was late to school 101 times in just one year and she left early 47 times. But she gets to keep her job anyway.

Now, I don't know the circumstances because she's protected because of a big law suit thing. But if you were doing the show, if you are late 101 times to "The Five," what do you think would happen to you?

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Me? I don't know. But I got to -- can I defend this teacher?


GUTFELD: She's the teacher of the year. Judging from what I know about the education system in New York, she did the kids a favor by not showing up.

PERINO: Making them teach themselves.

GUTFELD: Yes, they would do a better job on their own.

ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: Would Andy Levy get your job if you didn't show up?

GUTFELD: No, no.


ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Those kids are pretty darn happy. They might -- they love substitute teachers.

PERINO: The one thing, the Department of Education in the state of New York tried to get this woman fired for 18 months, and it didn't work.

And so, Juan, at one point, do -- is this why parents across the country support more school choice so that they have alternatives, so that they don't have to go to failing schools, like a teacher like this?

JUAN WILLIAMS, CO-HOST: This is evidence of a broken school system. It's not just a broken school system in New York. It's a broken school system all over the country, where you're denying parents the power to make choices for their children, especially low income parents. For me, Dana, this is the challenge of our generation -- if you talk about a civil rights issue of our time, it's making sure that every kid has a chance to get a step up on the ladder of mobility. And that comes with good education.

PERINO: Well, what will that take then, Eric? I mean, Andrea, the union influence to help protect her, I think is hurting kids.

WILLIAMS: They don't care about kids. They care about the adults.

BOLLING: Of the unions?


BOLLING: Of course, that's part of the problem. Chris Christie took it on across the river. He went right after the unions, and recognize that the way to reform a failing education system, New Jersey is on the bottom quartile on the country for scores, was to go after the union, and break up the union. Don't -- first of all, we should get rid of tenure completely.

Teachers, it shouldn't matter how long you work. It should matter how good you are.

PERINO: How good you are.

But if you're the union, Andrea, from a communications perspective, wouldn't you think it would be good for the union to actually then kick out a teacher and not defend her?

TANTAROS: Absolutely, but they're not concerned with that. They're concerned about keeping their dues and keeping their power. But you're right, from a P.R. perspective, yes, they should be advocating for the best possible people in their unions, not just the bottom line.

What's astounding is these hearings alone last I think the article reported 502 days, and cost over $200,000. So, what's happening is teachers are misbehaving in very bad ways, some of them we can't talk about here. Yet, the school district says we don't want to spend the money.

So, this is I think a larger issue about government that keeps spending money, localities that are broke, they don't have the money to even punish the teachers. So --

PERINO: That is a great transition to the next story that I want to bring up, that is related to that. And that is that across the country, a lot of the school districts, a lot of unions, are trying to get more money for the schools. And in Colorado last -- on Tuesday, there was an election, and they voted down a sales tax increase of like from 2.9 to 3 percent, and $2.9 billion education system that ranked 39th in the U.S. in spending.

OK, my point on this is, Colorado, where I grew up. I went to public school there, I turned out all right. They spend --

WILLIAMS: Speak so quickly.

PERINO: -- if spending was the answer, the D.C. school system would be a shining wonderful gem.

WILLIAMS: This is true in D.C., New York City, in Chicago. You know, people always talk about the suburban school districts, they have a lower per pupil spending right than many of the urban districts, but guess what?

The unions keep saying, it's a matter of money. It's not a matter of money, it's a matter of saying, we care about a child's education.

I was in Chicago yesterday. Guess what? The charter schools do, they have a longer day. Will the unions allow public schools to have a longer day? No.

Guess what? The charter schools insist on strong principles. Will the public schools allow that? No.

It's just crazy. The unions are hamstringing educating our own children.

BOLLING: Isn't this a referendum of what's going on? It's kind of sweeping the country. It started in Wisconsin, moved out of Ohio. Indiana, Chicago, Illinois didn't get the message. But here it is, Colorado saying, no, we don't want higher taxes.


BOLLING: We're not going to vote.

PERINO: Indecisively. The measure failed 64 percent to 36 percent. You can't get 64 percent of Americans to agree on Mother's Day proclamations.

GUTFELD: That's true. You know, here's the thing. When it comes to money, the public school system is a bottomless pit with spikes at the bottom. And that's impossible except in the public school system. Money has never been the issue. It's about lack of competition.

BOLLING: Bottomless pits with spikes on the bottom.

GUTFELD: Exactly. Yes, that's what the public system is. You throw the money down there, you don't hear it.

PERINO: Is this a larger political problem, Andrea? Only of a five-year temporary tax from 2.9 percent sales tax, up to 3 percent. It's a bigger problem for President Obama who's out there advocating for higher taxes in a purple state like Colorado.

TANTAROS: You just nailed it. I looked at this story and I thought -- this gives me hope. This should give the entire country hope. It should give the Republican Party hope that the messages really aren't working.

People do get it now. There are starting to understand that there are consequences when you blow your budget. It all comes back and people are going, I don't want to pay it, sorry.

PERINO: They didn't try very hard to win.


PERINO: So, all right. That was a good one.

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