In the Arena

Exit Fenty, Exit Rhee

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Ben Smith says the teacher’s union spent heavily to stop the reform of the Washington, DC, school system…and won. I have been covering this issue for 30 years and it never changes: the teachers unions are a force for ignorance and stagnation. I’m in favor of industrial unions: I understand who they’re organized against–the power of capital. But I wonder whom the teachers and other public employees unions are organized against–the public?

I’m not in favor of busting the teachers union, though I wouldn’t blame any parents in Washington, DC, who were. It’s good that the teachers union fights for minimum salary and benefits. They should be all about building floors, minimum standards–but the unions are mostly about building ceilings (opposed to merit pay) and walls (against longer school days and years, against accountability). They should be ashamed of themselves for this latest, disgraceful ploy.

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