QOD: Union Leadership Starting to Tilt Right

At the bottom of yesterday’s Sunday Leftovers is Andy Rotherham’s response to a post by Tim Daly of TNTP.  Daly analyzes the recent about-face by AFT and NEA union leaders on the Common Core State Standards and how this shift is changing the union’s alliance with the Democratic Party. He also notes that most polls continue to show strong teacher support for the Common Core, in spite of the politically-driven shift in tone and text by union leaders.
There will be more political fallout ahead. The long-term implications of the loss of the unions from the Common Core coalition are meaningful. It’s easy to exaggerate the short-term effect of the NEA announcement or the AFT announcement that preceded it. Unions were already fighting accountability measures associated with Common Core at the state and district level. But officially, it was possible for the unions to claim some form of alliance with the Obama administration, however strained it might have been. That’s no longer possible. The unions are now taking aim at the administration’s central education policies. There isn’t much ground left for alliance in this fractured marriage. Going forward, the question is whether the unions hold the Democratic Party to its own views or seek new political patrons. If you need an illustration of what the future may hold, look no further than my home state of Illinois, where the state NEA affiliate is spending heavily on behalf of a Republican primary candidate for governor who is a member of ALEC, while withholding support for the incumbent governor, a Democrat, who crossed them on pension reform. If Barack Obama could run for a third term as president, it’s a very good question whether he could garner an NEA or AFT endorsement. . . and whether he’d accept one.

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