Thursday, May 19, 2016

QOD: Chait on How Teacher Unions Are Blocking Obama's Plan to Give More Money to Poor Schools

From today's Daily Messenger:
Congress is embroiled in an education policy fight that, while it revolves around esoteric policy details, profoundly clarifies the strange new battle lines on education policy that have been formed by the Obama administration’s education reforms. The debate centers on a plan to increase funding for poor public schools. In favor of the plan are the Obama administration and civil-rights groups. Standing in opposition are congressional Republicans and teachers unions. This strange collection of allies is not an anomaly. This is what the education policy fight looks like now... 
The emerging alliance between teachers unions and Republicans runs against decades of built-up cultural distrust. But the interests of the two partners are closely aligned. Unions want to protect the existing contracts they have negotiated. Local control leaves those contracts in place. Federal interference has the potential to bust up those arrangements. The spectacle of unions lining up behind Alexander to oppose Obama’s plan to devote more funding to poor schools is not the first instance of this alliance in action. Unions have likewise opposed the Obama administration and civil-rights groups, siding with Republicans to demand a rollback of testing (which is a necessary tool to measure performance and disparities). The NEA’s president has already suggested she would back away from its longstanding, reflexive support for Democrats.

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