Day of Action to Reclaim Power of Union Geezers in Public Education

In an hour Newark will begin its “National Day of Action to Reclaim Promise of Public Education” when a coterie of teacher union supporters gather to protest Superintendent Cami Anderson’s education reform policies, ongoing state control, and budget cuts. (The district’s total operating budget for 2013-2014 is $866 million, down about $23 million from the previous year.)

Similar protests are scheduled today for cities from New York to San Francisco.

For one point of view here’s Bob Braun, thoroughly old school and unleashed from his post at the Star Ledger:
The Newark schools are about to be reshaped according to the avaricious, right-wing fantasies of a Christie administration  that practices contempt for the poor and for minorities as a matter of policy. The “One Newark” program, despite its mainstream media hype as a means of ensuring better opportunity, is on its face a plan for closing, rather than improving, public schools and enhancing charter schools and their private sponsors. This alone should drive thousands to the streets of Newark Monday for the “day of action” designed to “reclaim our public schools.”
For a little more nuance and relevance, don’t miss Stephanie Simon’s piece in Politico which addresses the challenges facing  America’s teacher unions as they deal with a dramatic shift in membership demographics. Here’s a sample, but read the whole thing:
More significant is the demographic shift. Waves of Baby Boomer teachers have retired in recent years and been replaced by hundreds of thousands of rookies. Half of all teachers in classrooms today have been on the job for 10 or fewer years. And those newcomers have very different views from the veterans and retirees who typically dominate union politics. 
More than 70 percent of teachers on the job less than a decade are interested in changing the traditional salary scale, which rewards educators for longevity rather than performance. Just 41 percent of more veteran teachers back such reforms, according to a national survey last year by the organization Teach Plus. The poll documented similar gulfs in opinion about revamping teacher evaluations and pensions.

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