After nearly three decades in the classroom, California teacher Rebecca Friedrichs challenged her teachers’ union—a challenge that ultimately ended up before the nation’s highest court. She became the public face of the fight against union intransigence, and now, she’s telling her story in a new book.
In Standing Up to Goliath: Battling State and National Teachers’ Unions for the Heart and Soul of Our Kids and Country, Friedrichs illustrates how teachers’ unions are a detrimental force to America’s school system. She saw this firsthand from the time she began her teaching career, observing how her local union turned its back on students and used dues money to fund political pursuits that she and many of her fellow teachers disagreed with. After years of trying to voice her concerns within the union, she began speaking out publicly—and within mere months, she had become the lead plaintiff in a U.S. Supreme Court case challenging “forced unionism.” While her case ended up in a split 4-4 decision, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court recently ruled in a similar case—Janus v. American Federation of State, City, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)—that public sector employees cannot be compelled to pay union dues if they are not a member of the union.
Standing Up to Goliath tells not only Friedrichs’ story, but also the stories on many others who have been affected by teachers’ unions. She offers testimonies from students, teachers, and parents to give an insider’s view into the damage done by the unions. In her estimation, the state and national unions intimidate teachers and parents into silence and breed a culture of fear. She writes of the struggle against unions, “America’s teachers and parents deserve better. If we want freedom, we’re going to have to fight for it.”
Friedrichs sat down with the Goldwater Institute a few months ago to talk about her experience. In the video below, she talks about how she began questioning her union as a brand-new teacher and how unions are hurting American schools. “What is really going on is, public sector unions are running amok,” she says. “They are totally unaccountable and they are using teachers to fund social and political agenda behind our backs and against our wills and there is nothing we can do about it.”
You can order your own copy of Standing Up to Goliath here. And if you’re in the Phoenix area this Thursday, December 6, we invite you to come hear Friedrichs discuss her book with Goldwater Institute Senior Attorney Jacob Huebert—for more information and to register, click here.