I think Ruth Marcus was a little tough on Barack Obama here. It was absolutely courageous for Obama to challenge–no, he mildly disagreed with–the teachers on merit pay. The anti-professional, anti-progress militancy of the teachers unions continue to astound me. If they want to be “treated as the professionals they are” in the standard Democratic boilerplate, they need to be paid as professionals are–according to their value, as determined by their superiors. This means, among other things, significantly more money for those who agree to teach in the toughest neighborhoods.
I suppose the vaunted union phone banks and fund-raising will be working against Obama–and for Hillary or Edwards–in 2008. Which is a shame.
One final question: I know who and what the industrial unions are organized against: the power of capital. But who are the public employees unions organized against? The public? And who are the teachers organized against? The parents? The students? The citizens who elect the local school boards?