Fact check: Romney’s claims on teachers unions

President Obama debates with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as moderator Bob Schieffer looks on at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.
(Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Republican nominee Mitt Romney said in the presidential debate that parents and students come first and that “the teacher unions are going to have to go behind.”

Romney has proposed, in other remarks, to get unions out of the electoral process. He has asserted that when unions influence elections, they exert an inordinate influence on public policy and spending because elected officials bow to union power in awarding salaries and benefits that are too expensive. Romney’s critics have said the former governor is unduly untroubled when corporations exert at least as much influence on public policy.

Experts have questioned his ability to accomplish this goal at the federal level, although teachers unions’ bargaining rights have been limited in some states, such as Wisconsin, through the actions of officials praised by Romney.

Given the Romney alternative, teacher unions have strongly supported Obama, even though many union officials and activists criticize some education policies of Obama as being anti-union and against the best interests of education.

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