Thursday, July 27, 2006

Barone on teachers' unions and Dems

The teachers unions

For at least two decades one of the strongest institutional forces in the Democratic Party has been the teachers unions. Something like 20 percent of the delegates to Democratic national conventions have been members of the National Education Association, and in state politics the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers have been exceedingly powerful forces. Yet now there are signs that important leaders of the Democratic Party are souring on the teachers unions. Mickey Kaus has a good roundup on this.

I have long thought it anomalous that smart and elite-university-educated Democrats have supported the teachers unions, which have done so much to provide mediocre or worse education, especially for the poor children whom the Democrats claim to care about. The unions want high pay, minimal accountability, and light workloads; they insist on assigning teachers by seniority (rather than letting principals hire and fire teachers); they fight charter schools and school choice, even within the public school systems; they have tended to oppose mandatory testing. But they shovel lots of money to the Democratic Party money that comes from their public salaries via teachers' dues payments. It's a great system for the union leaders, for the Democratic Party for everybody except the kids.

It's a great system for the union leaders, for the Democratic Party, for everybody except the kids.

Michael, having spent part of his life working to get Democrats elected, still doesn't want to admit, in print, that they might well be corrupt. There is nothing anomalous about corrupt people taking wads of cash and free campaign workers in exchange for selling out kids. Even when they mouth words about caring for the kids.

Of course, Barone knows this, so he lets the facts speak for themselves.


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