The politics of education upended

I’m not sure I agree with Republican governors and the Obama administration that teachers’ unions are the root of all the fiscal problems in a majority of our states.  

Their argument would have some validity if the GOP weren’t relentlessly going after teachers and unions for years now.  The problem is not fiscal prudence, the problem is that since Reagan, the GOP has tried to get rid of unions period.  Unions are a source of protection from big government and big business which is anathema to GOP ideology.

Politico

In Wisconsin, about 1,000 teachers called in sick Wednesday to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to strip their union bargaining rights.

In Washington, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recounted his battle with his state’s teachers unions Wednesday, calling their leaders “greedy” and “selfish.”

And in Nevada, Indiana and Florida, Republican governors are targeting teacher contracts and work rules to fix a system they say is broken. “The status quo has put us at the bottom of the heap,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval told POLITICO.

The events point to a convergence that is remaking the politics of education. Teachers unions, historically one of the most powerful interest groups in American politics, are being besieged like never before – under attack from conservative GOP governors with a zeal for budget-cutting even while taking fire from some Democrats, including President Barack Obama, who has suggested he agrees that unions can be an impediment to better schools.

Obama’s education secretary Arne Duncan sounded surprisingly like the Republican governors when he told teachers unions and administrators at a conference Tuesday in Denver, “Clearly, the status quo isn’t working for children.”

The backlash threatens to undercut one of the Democratic Party’s most stalwart backers — and upset a mutually beneficial relationship where the unions provided financial support and foot soldiers for Democratic campaigns, in return for political cover to protect their prerogatives in the U.S.Congress and state capitals across the nation.   More…

 

2 comments

  1. Bankers can make millions, but teachers, who make a huge difference in the lives of our children, get demonized on a regular basis. The truth is that if you paid teachers huge sums of money that you would get a huge pool of quality applicants, people that can’t afford with a family to live on a teacher’s salary, but we’d rather characterize them as greedy and lazy. The vast majority of teachers I’ve known, with my three sons all going to public school, have done this job because they love it….because they sure aren’t getting rich.

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